Stravinsky, Prokofiev, and Shostakovich

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My new theory -- you can tell a lot about a person based upon which of these three 20th century Russian composer-giants said person prefers. My excuse to bring some high-brow pretension to this board, in between talking about Jay-Z and Brittany Spears.

Oh yeah, I like all three but Prokofiev is my favorite. If you care. I'm a sucker for piano music.

Tadeusz Suchodolski, Monday, 3 December 2001 01:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

What if you barely know anything by any of them?

Ned Raggett, Monday, 3 December 2001 01:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

What if you barely know anything by any of them?

Fair enough. You probably know more than you think ... their "Greatest Hits" (or best-known, at least):

Stravinsky: The Firebird, Rites of Spring, "Scherzo à la Russe"

Prokofiev: Peter and the Wolf, Lieutenant Kije (i.e., the music in Woody Allen's "Love and Death" and Sting's "Russians"), Alexander Nevsky (maybe you know "Battle on the Ice")

Shostakovich: Symphony No. 5 in D Minor, Symphony No. 7 ("Leningrad")

Tadeusz Suchodolski, Monday, 3 December 2001 01:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

I prefer Stravinsky.

What can you tell about me?

charlie va, Tuesday, 4 December 2001 01:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Is this like Beatles, The Rolling Stones, or the Who?

And if so, wouldn't it be more like

Stravinsky, Schoenberg, or Ives?

or maybe

Prokofiev, Shostakovich, and Rachmaninoff?

or

Britten, Barber, and, uh, ok, help me out here...

but man, what a tough choice...

hmmm...

proky? shosty? prolly shosty.

Mickey Black Eyes, Tuesday, 4 December 2001 01:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

I like Stravinsky and Prokofiev equally. Am I Shostakovich?

maryann, Tuesday, 4 December 2001 01:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Shostakovich, but I say that not having heard much Prokofiev (even less than the Stravinsky I've heard). Though it's been years since I heard "Peter and the Wolf" and the theme still pops into my head at random.

Josh, Tuesday, 4 December 2001 01:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

I've already nailed my colours to the mast on this subject in other threads. But I like strav and prok too. What does this mean?

Jeff W, Tuesday, 4 December 2001 01:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Prokofiev = technically dazzling, flash, intermittently beautiful, emotionally shallow. Rock/pop equivalent - prog, possibly King Crimson

Stravinsky = (initially) avant guard, cerebral, subsequently classicist - equivalent - any number of modern jazzers (eg Archie Shepp?) Roxy Music, John Zorn.

Shostakovich = accessible, melodic, deeply felt, in the tradition (not avant) but fresh, creative = The Beatles, Sun Ra.

Personally Shostakovich is my man. Stravinksy is probably the correct answer for ILM approval.

arfarf, Tuesday, 4 December 2001 01:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Shostakovich is great but hes no Schitnkee even if i spelt that wrong

anthony, Tuesday, 4 December 2001 01:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Strav - though my faves are the later ballet music (Agon) and the Ebony Concerto.

Michael Jones, Tuesday, 4 December 2001 01:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Probably Stravinsky. Of the three, I know the least about Shostakovich.

dleone, Tuesday, 4 December 2001 01:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Given that ILMers spend a good deal of time whinging about other ILMers' tastes, is there such a thing as an ILM fave?

_Peter & The Wolf_ is purty (though I fail to see the hollow emotional toffee center to this piece).

David Raposa, Tuesday, 4 December 2001 01:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Mussorgsky. What does that say?

Sterling Clover, Tuesday, 4 December 2001 01:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

You like museums?

Mickey Black Eyes, Tuesday, 4 December 2001 01:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Strav = rock (rockist?) choice if you mean Rite, Petrushka or Soldier's Tale, but not eg Rake's Progress

Shost wrote an awful lotta half-redeemed hackwork. I like the good bits lots, but the boring bits are truly boring.

Prok's "love of three oranges" is something everyone who doesn't know prok has heard (bits of)

mark s, Tuesday, 4 December 2001 01:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Stravinsky. And if you like Petrushka, etc. and The Rake's Progress (not to mention numerous others), what then?

Phil, Tuesday, 4 December 2001 01:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Dammit.

Phil, Tuesday, 4 December 2001 01:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Well, then nothing, especially: all I was saying — in response to plausible tho as yet unproven claim that Stravinsky wd be the ILM massive's majority choice — that it's noisy cryptro-barbarian Strav rather than the neo-class Strav which rockers probably tend to favour.

In fact come to think of it, given the widespread liking for eg Boards of Canada et al round these parts, this may not be so.

mark s, Tuesday, 4 December 2001 01:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Find the responses classing Shostakovich as sorta safe interesting. He was steeped in the tradition, yes, but he wrote lots of out-there shit. And serialist works. Nontraditional forms. etc. etc.

Josh, Tuesday, 4 December 2001 01:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Find the responses classing Shostakovich as sorta safe interesting. He was steeped in the tradition, yes, but he wrote lots of out-there shit. And serialist works. Nontraditional forms. etc. etc.

Some of Prokofiev's stuff was also pretty "out there." His opera The Fiery Angel is IMHO one of the freakiest operas ever written, right up there with Don Giovanni and Wozzeck, both in terms of the music and the visuals. And then there's The October Cantata, parts of which are close to pure cacophany (esp. the "Voice of Lenin" part). And then there's The Scythian Suite, Prokofiev's "answer" to Stravinsky's Rites of Spring, and anyone who's interested should get a recording of the full soundtrack score for Alexander Nevsky (as opposed to the cantata, the form in which most people know that piece) which has some really far-out stuff (i.e., the percussion on "The Battle On The Ice: The Ice Breaks").

I think Prokofiev also sort of suffers from being thought of as "safe," insofar as he's associated mostly with Peter and the Wolf, Lieutenant Kije, and The Love of Three Oranges. All of which are great, but detracts from his more out- there stuff (not to mention the boldness of some of his rhythms).

Tadeusz Suchodolski, Tuesday, 4 December 2001 01:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

To Be Filed Under: Desparately Trying to Breathe New Life in a Dead Thread:

Rumors that Bo Derek is President Bush's choice for the Kennedy Center's board of trustees appear to be true. But when we called to congratulate her yesterday, the "10" star told us: "I'm not supposed to talk about it until it's announced. . . . I don't think it's a good idea to mess with the White House, do you?" Point well taken.

Who can guess the relation between Bo Derek and any of three Russian composers in this thread's header? (And please try to suppress the laughter over the latest example of Dubya's goofy and militant philistinism.)

Tadeusz Suchodolski, Thursday, 6 December 2001 01:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

two years pass...
"Peter and the Wolf" still doesn't do much for me, but on the strength of his piano sonatas (specifically No. 7) alone, I'm going with Prokofiev.

Eric H. (Eric H.), Saturday, 10 January 2004 23:51 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

I prefer Shostakovich, because it is the closest I have ever heard classical music come to rock and roll.

Orbit (Orbit), Sunday, 11 January 2004 03:39 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

"Classic Rock" by the London Philharmonic Orchestra is a lot closer.

DV (dirtyvicar), Sunday, 11 January 2004 12:55 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Damn, I was totally going to start a thread like this, I was going over it in my head on a train ride the other day.

Orbit OTM about Shostakovitch. Sadly, I had a book of all my classical music CD's stolen so I can't ref. which songs, but I had a CD of his quartet pieces that totally rocked. Fast tempos. On my favorite one, there was a piano doing a repetitve chord pattern underneath the strings that gave it a very pop music kind of structure. I also really, really love his Jazz Suites (music used in Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut.)

Anyways, the thread I was going to start was "Can anyone explain what seperates 20th century "modern" Russian classical music from other forms?"

That stuff is the only classical music I really get. I can't listen to Bach or Beethoven very much. I guess that would be Baroque and Romantic period? Well, it just sounds kind of meandering to me. Also, I don't know much about the context, except it was probably made in a very cloistered ruling class/church kind of context which doesn't really inspire me to care for it.

Shostakovitch and Prokofiev are my favorite composers, and Mussorgsky and Stravinsky are some of the others I can listen to and get. I do like the context that stuff was made in. (Just going over old art history classes) but they were part of the modernist movement in art and they had a lot of interconnections between painting, film and other cool stuff like that. Especially french impressionism. Thats the one reason I like them, and then there's the music experimentation (I don't know much about) incoporating new forms like the aforementioned Jazz Suites, stuff that is easier to relate to through pop culture nowadays.

sucka (sucka), Sunday, 11 January 2004 21:37 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

four years pass...

i've been listening to the score of Romeo et Juliette for work these past few days, and i just don't get Prokofiev. i don't get it. it's often so...fruity?

Prokofiev = technically dazzling, flash, intermittently beautiful, emotionally shallow.

emotionally shallow otm, at least this one. is there anything else of his that's worth trying?

jergïns, Saturday, 2 February 2008 05:23 (nine years ago) Permalink

5th symphony is the one thing by him I really love

Hurting 2, Saturday, 2 February 2008 05:48 (nine years ago) Permalink

I guess overall I like Shostakovich the most of the three although Rite of Spring beats pretty much anything ever

Hurting 2, Saturday, 2 February 2008 05:49 (nine years ago) Permalink

"Peter and the Wolf" still doesn't do much for me, but on the strength of his piano sonatas (specifically No. 7) alone, I'm going with Prokofiev.
-- Eric H. (Eric H.), Saturday, 10 January 2004 23:51 (4 years ago)

I was wrong about "Peter and the Wolf," obviously. It helps to hear it done properly with a good orchestra and not think about it in Disney terms.

All three are fantastic, but I'm not aware of Stravinsky writing much piano music, so the other two have a leg up.

Eric H., Saturday, 2 February 2008 05:55 (nine years ago) Permalink

Shostakovich had some fantastic piano music. Fantastic without being impossible to play, even.

Eric H., Saturday, 2 February 2008 05:55 (nine years ago) Permalink

thx hurting

jergïns, Saturday, 2 February 2008 05:57 (nine years ago) Permalink

oh yeah actually I guess Peter and the Wolf is pretty awesome

Hurting 2, Saturday, 2 February 2008 06:00 (nine years ago) Permalink

I have a Paul Jacobs recording that includes a few Stravinsky piano pieces. They haven't really stuck with me.

Hurting 2, Saturday, 2 February 2008 06:01 (nine years ago) Permalink

HMV had some very cheap Shostakovich the other week. I bought some. Who knows, I might even listen to it one day.

PJ Miller, Saturday, 2 February 2008 11:29 (nine years ago) Permalink

I urge you all to check out Prokofiev's "October Cantata", it's nuts

Tom D., Saturday, 2 February 2008 12:04 (nine years ago) Permalink

is there anything else of his that's worth trying?

Piano concertos, especially no. 2.

xox, Saturday, 2 February 2008 12:21 (nine years ago) Permalink

I like Prokofiev's 'Classical Symphony' as performed by the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra (on DG). Well worth checking out.

sam500, Saturday, 2 February 2008 13:02 (nine years ago) Permalink

prokofiev symphony no. 7

mookieproof, Saturday, 2 February 2008 16:24 (nine years ago) Permalink

is there anything else of his that's worth trying?

Piano concertos, especially no. 2.

Plus all of his piano sonatas, especially no. 3 and no. 7

Eric H., Saturday, 2 February 2008 18:06 (nine years ago) Permalink

two years pass...

2 + 2 is vah-gi-nah (Eric H.), Friday, 23 July 2010 05:23 (six years ago) Permalink

Didn't know you were into CM, Eric!

This thread is mostly embarrassing though.

fidel castro clone (corey), Friday, 23 July 2010 05:38 (six years ago) Permalink

I mean "Stravinsky = rock" is like wat

fidel castro clone (corey), Friday, 23 July 2010 05:46 (six years ago) Permalink

Virtuosic piano music is the only thing I like better than roller boogie.

And I'm not exactly sure what "emotionally shallow" sounds like, but it sure as hell ain't the last two minutes of that 3rd movement! Or the seven before that!

2 + 2 is vah-gi-nah (Eric H.), Friday, 23 July 2010 05:58 (six years ago) Permalink

I had a bad experience with the PCs a while back — one of the only times I've had an immediate "TURN IT OFF!" reaction to CM that I wasn't predisposed to dislike, but it could have just been a bad performance/recording. Last year I listened to the 3rd symphony and really liked it. I have a complete set of the symphonies on my shelf waiting to be listened to, but I haven't felt like the mood has been right yet.

fidel castro clone (corey), Friday, 23 July 2010 06:01 (six years ago) Permalink

Can I vote Ravel here?

Nate Carson, Friday, 23 July 2010 06:18 (six years ago) Permalink

I mean "Stravinsky = rock" is like wat

Well things like Rite with their rhtyhms, then you factor in riots and the like. 'Rock' in the sense he made a noise half the population won't understand.

I've also heard the Strav = Madonna thing (as in he changed his style a few times)

xyzzzz__, Friday, 23 July 2010 10:36 (six years ago) Permalink

I dare someone to call Prokofiev M.I.A.

2 + 2 is vah-gi-nah (Eric H.), Friday, 23 July 2010 11:17 (six years ago) Permalink

The Rite is part of his early Russian style, which essentially ended with Les Noces (around 1920 iirc). The next major work he did after that is Pulcinella, which hardly "rocks", great as it is.

My favorite I.S. work is probably Orpheus.

fidel castro clone (corey), Friday, 23 July 2010 14:10 (six years ago) Permalink

three years pass...

Every time I see this thread title I think "Niggas pull ya card and argue all day about who's the best MCs: Stravinsky, Prokoviev and Shostakovich"

HOOS next aka won't get steened again (Hurting 2), Tuesday, 30 July 2013 00:56 (three years ago) Permalink

Anyway, what is/are the best recordings of the Shostakovich Piano Preludes/Fugues? Listening to Ashkenazy now and I like it well enough but I feel like there's probably a slightly older, less *glassy* sounding recording.

HOOS next aka won't get steened again (Hurting 2), Tuesday, 30 July 2013 00:57 (three years ago) Permalink

I mean an older one that I'd like better.

HOOS next aka won't get steened again (Hurting 2), Tuesday, 30 July 2013 00:57 (three years ago) Permalink

Nilmar Honorato da Silva, Tuesday, 30 July 2013 01:01 (three years ago) Permalink

Not complete, but there are a good portion of them spread across two different Richter recitals and the playing is boggling, unbeatable.

I agree that Ashkenazy's sound is frustratingly glassy; it always has been even in the analog era. Other digital recordings which got great reviews are Jenny Lin on haenssler and scherbakov on Naxos. I don't have them but they are probably better engineered than Ashkenazy's.

Spot Lange (Jon Lewis), Tuesday, 30 July 2013 01:05 (three years ago) Permalink

Lol xp

Spot Lange (Jon Lewis), Tuesday, 30 July 2013 01:05 (three years ago) Permalink

I read that as Jeremy Lin a few times

HOOS next aka won't get steened again (Hurting 2), Tuesday, 30 July 2013 01:06 (three years ago) Permalink

JL knows far more about classical recordings than anyone else on ilx so i'd take his recommendations

ashkenazy is the only famous pianist who i just don't like, his bartok piano concerto recordings didn't sound right at all

Nilmar Honorato da Silva, Tuesday, 30 July 2013 17:31 (three years ago) Permalink

three years pass...

It has to be Shostakovich for me, as he is unmatched when it comes to emotional power and expressiveness. The adagio from the Leningrad symphony is one of the most heartbreakingly beautiful pieces of music ever composed. But otherwise, Symphonies 5 and 11, the 1st violin concerto (esp, the 3rd mvmt), 1st cello concerto - all not far behind.

Stravinsky I like, but more for the neoclassical stuff - his Cantata is peerless, and his Mass and Symphony of Psalms are also spiff. I like the Firebird best of the early ballets, mainly cause of that monumental finale, up there with Sibelius 2 for exhilaration levels. Rite of Spring and Petrushka I have found impressive, but for some reason immune to love.

Prokofiev - 5th symphony, esp. 3rd mvmt has such delicious liquid caramel textures. Underrated: his Sinfonietta, which is in a similar vein to the Classical Symphony, but richer and better. The two violin sonatas are also tops. The war piano sonatas are still a bit of an enigma. 5th piano concerto agreeably bonkers.

Freedom, Thursday, 17 November 2016 00:33 (four months ago) Permalink

four months pass...

I went to a performance of the Shostakovich Trilogy and I swear that among the pieces that were played, I heard what was undeniably the Doctor Who theme. But listening directly to the pieces listed, I couldn't find it again. Was I just hallucinating?

Mhysa Jar Jar Binks (Leee), Tuesday, 21 March 2017 01:07 (five days ago) Permalink


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