“Stories and Enigmas” :: Concert Preview No. 1

Before each concert, we share “Manny’s Musings,” thoughts from our Music Director and Conductor, Manny Laureano. This is the first edition of the “Musings” for the “Stories and Enigmas” concert that will be performed on Sunday, February 25, 2018.

Sergei Prokofiev, Composer

The Russian people, whether they were under Tsarist opulence and poverty or Communism and oppression, could always be sure of one thing: they would never be lacking for ironic humor. Before the age of film, Russian literature was rich with harsh philosophical realism. When films became popular and capable of having the sound of voices and music, Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953), in search of a way to ingratiate himself to the Soviet authorities, was an eager participant in his first such project, “Lt. Kijé”. It’s not that he was a big fan of the new regime. He left a year after it had been installed and didn’t return until 1930 after feeling homesick. But work is work, and it might prove to be a chance to bring Soviet art to the west.

The plot is simple and farcical. In order to cover up a moment of amorous indiscretion and a concurrent clerical error, a savior is created in the pseudo-persona of Lt. Kijé. The non-existent Kijé is given credit for a number of things that would aggrandize Tsar Paul the 1st, an insecure martinet who sees to it that Kijé (whom he never meets, of course) is married and promoted to commander of the Russian Army only to eventually “die,” demoted and disgraced. One of the most popular movements in this suite is the song of the three-horse sleigh or “Troika,” in which two officers, drunk out of their minds, go for a ride singing at the tops of their lungs. Listen for the discordant scream coming from the low brass as one of the riders falls out of the troika!

If you’d like to see the movie, check it out here, on YouTube!

Join Music Director & Conductor Manny Laureano, for the concert, “Stories and Enigmas featuring Michael Sutton, violin, and Gary Briggle, narrator. The concert takes place on Sunday, February 25, 2018, at 3 p.m., at the Gideon S. Ives Auditorium at the Masonic Heritage Center (11411 Masonic Home Drive, Bloomington)

To learn more about the concert, click here. You can order tickets online through the Masonic Heritage Center Box Office, or by calling 800.514.ETIX.

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