MEMETERIA by Thomas May

Music & the Arts

Prokofiev’s Stalingrad Sonata

Early in 1943, I received the score of the Seventh Sonata, which I found fascinating and which I learned in just four days…. The work was a huge success. The audience clearly grasped the spirit of the work, which reflected their innermost feelings and concerns. (This was also felt to be the case with Shostakovich’s Seventh Symphony, which dates from more or less the same period.)

With this work we are brutally plunged into the anxiously threatening atmosphere of a world that has lost its balance. Chaos and uncertainty reign. We see murderous forces ahead. But this does not mean that what we lived by before thereby ceases to exist. We continue to feel and love. Now the full range of human emotions bursts forth. Together with our fellow men and women, we raise a voice in protest and share the common grief. We sweep everything before us, borne along by the will for victory. In the tremendous struggle that this involves, we find the strength to affirm the irrepressible life-force.

Sviatoslav Richter, In: Bruno Monsaingeon, “Sviatoslav Richter: Notebooks and Conversations,” trans. Stewart Spencer

Filed under: Prokofiev

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