SERGEI PROKOFIEV (1891-1953): Symphonic suite from The Queen of Spades film score (arr. & elab. Michael Berkeley [b.1948]), On Guard for Peace, Op. 124.
Catalogue Number: 06K083
Description: Boris Godunov and Eugene Onegin weren't the only Pushkin adaptations for which Prokofiev's music was never performed in 1937. There was also a never-made film of The Queen of Spades for which the composer provided 24 numbers, based on three themes - for Hermann, Lisa and the Countess. Some of the music is reminiscent of the very recent Romeo and Juliet and two themes were later used in the Piano Sonata No. 8 and the Symphony No. 5. Berkeley "arranged and elaborated" this music (and, for the finale, an undated piano piece probably from Prokofiev's student days) for a ballet given last year by the Royal Ballet. The 1950 On Guard for Peace, rare though not unrecorded, is a 34-minute, ten-segment oratorio which has more than enough authentic Prokofiev (i.e. not unashamedly "Socialist Realist") to make it well worth hearing now and again. Russian-English texts. Irina Chistyakova (mezzo), Niall Docherty (boy soprano), Royal Scottish National Orchestra Junior Chorus, Chorus and Orchestra; Neeme Järvi.