Scythian Suite (Prokofiev)

Scythian Suite (Prokofiev)

Scythian Suite (Prokofiev)

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Description:
The Scythian Suite is an orchestral suite by Sergei Prokofiev written in 1915.

Background

Prokofiev originally wrote the music for the ballet Ala i Lolli, which is about the Scythians. The score was written to the words of Russian poet Sergei Gorodetsky. But when Serge Diaghilev failed to show interest in the piece, the composer reworked the music into a suite for concert performance.

The planned premiere of the suite was cancelled at the last minute due to the difficulty of finding musicians to play the piece; it called for an enlarged orchestra, and as many performers had been mobilized due to World War I, enough players could not be found. Nevertheless, the Moscow music critic Leonid Sabaneyev gave the music a scathing review. This prompted a response from Prokofiev stating that the supposed performance must have been a product of Sabaneyev's imagination, as the only copy of the score was in the composer's hands and thus he had not even been able to see it.

Movements

The suite is in 4 movements, lasting around 20 minutes.

  1. Invocation to Veles and Ala - barbaric and colorful music describing the Scythians' invocation of the sun
  2. The Evil God and the Dance of the Pagan Monsters (also known as "The Alien God and the Dance of the Evil Spirits")—as the Scythians make a sacrifice to Ala, daughter of Veles, the Evil God performs a violent dance surrounded by seven monsters
  3. Night - the Evil God harms......
  4. ...

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