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Prokofiev's Movie Suite
Sergei Prokofiev was not an obvious choice to compose the score for Lt. Kije, one of the earliest Soviet films. In 1932, he had not yet composed his more popular works, Romeo and Juliet or Peter and the Wolf. When approached by the film studio, Belgoskino, in 1932, Prokofiev saw it as a way to reach a wider audience, thanks to the international distribution of the film.
The satire on bureaucracy revolves around a clerk’s adding a non-existent lieutenant, “Kije,” while writing out a list of soldiers for Tsar Paul I (1796-1801). Later, the tsar is angry when woken up by a scream from one of his courtiers and demands the culprit be punished. The courtiers blame “Lieutenant Kije,” who is sent to Siberia, only to be found innocent when the guilty party confesses. Tsar Paul then promotes “Kije” to colonel, and the courtiers are forced to continue fabricating “Kije’s” life. He supposedly marries the princess Gagarina, and the tsar gives the happy couple lands and money.
When Tsar Paul demands to meet with “Kije,” the courtiers tell him that he died, so “Kije” is given a funeral with full military honors. When the tsar demands the return of “Kije’s” fortune, the courtiers (who have used the money themselves) tell him that “Kije” used all the money himself. So Tsar Paul denounced “Kije” as a thief and posthumously demotes him from general to private.
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Free Pre-Concert Preview Series!
Enhance your concert experience with a sneak preview — Composers come alive and their passions take center stage when ESO General Manager David Ellis and ESO Maestro Lawrence Eckerling take you on an insider’s tour of the history and highlights behind the music.
Meet our soloist, Jeffrey Biegel, at Musical Insights. He and our Maestro Lawrence Eckerling and David Ellis will explore the May concert program in depth.
Friday, May 5 at 1:30 pm,
The Merion Crystal Ballroom at
1611 Chicago Avenue at Davis Street, Evanston.
FREE and open to the public.
Light refreshments will be served and casual tours of newly renovated apartments will be available after the program.