Prokofiev composed the Nevsky music in 1938 and revised the film score into a cantata the following year. Prokofiev never published his original work for the movie; the Philharmonic will perform William D. Brohn's 1987 reconstruction, which is based on a transcription of the film soundtrack as well as the cantata. Texts are by Prokofiev and Vitaly Vasilevich Lugovsky.
These three concerts were the New York Philharmonic's first performances of the complete film score. The orchestra first performed the cantata in 1945, at Madison Square Garden under the baton of Leopold Stokowski, in a benefit concert for the American Society for Russian Relief.