Photo Journal: Sergei Eisenstein's Alexander Nevsky, with the New York Philharmonic Playing Prokofiev's Score

Classic Arts News   Photo Journal: Sergei Eisenstein's Alexander Nevsky, with the New York Philharmonic Playing Prokofiev's Score
 










One of the great examples of early Russian cinema got the ultimate in accompaniment this past weekend at Lincoln Center in New York. In three concerts October 19-21, Alexander Nevsky, director Sergei Eisenstein's 1938 film depicting the 13th-century Russian commander's defeat of invading Teutonic knights, was shown in Avery Fisher Hall — as the New York Philharmonic, joined by the New York Choral Artists and contralto Meredith Arwady and conducted by Xian Zhang, performed Sergei Prokofiev's complete score to the film.

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.


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