The Scythian Neophyte of the Early 20th Century
One of the hypostases of Sergei Prokofiev’s early music was connected with a special artistic phenomenon, which
entered the history of early 20th century culture, labeled as “Scythianism.” Such images received the maximal amount
of concentration in the ballet “Ada and Lolliy,” which was subsequently revised into an orchestral composition
with the subsequent title of “Scythian Suite.” The initial idea is expressed in the manifestation of the primordial
human being, who rejected the conventionalities of civilization and who lives in the closest relationship with virgin
nature. In conjunction with the enigmatic forces of the earth, an ancient ritual is carried out, which is a semimystical
magical incantation. The pagan imagery received an unexpected interpretation in connection with the
revolutionary events in Russia in 1917. The meaning of what takes place in the cantata “There are Seven of Them”
may be conjectured as a grandiose ritual of furious subversion – this is how the composer attempted to convey the
influx of great turmoil, a perception of an immense demolition of the world, the eruption of unfathomed forces. In
the characteristic features brought forward many things become interlocked with what can be justifiably defined
with such a term as the complex of aggressiveness. The complex of aggressiveness was also supplemented by the
conjunction of musical grotesquerie in some of its manifestations (for instance, in the piano cycle “Sacrasmes”).
Keywords: Sergei Prokofiev, artistic “Scythianism,” musical grotesquerie, the piano cycle “Sarcasmes,”
“Scythian Suite,” cantata “There are Seven of Them.”
Full Text:PDF (Russian)
Alekseyev A. D. Sovetskaya fortepiannaya muzyka (1917–1945) [Soviet Piano Music (1917–1945)]. Moscow: Muzyka, 1974. 248 p.
Alshvang A. A. Izbrannye sochineniya [Selected Works]. Volume 1. Moscow: Muzyka, 1964. 432 p.
Andreev Yu. A. Revolyutsiya i literature [Revolution and Literature]. Leningrad: Nauka, 1969. 391 p.
Asafiev B. V. Sergey Prokofiev [Sergei Prokofiev]. Leningrad: Triton, 1927. 40 p.
Asafiev B. V. Skryabin. Opyt kharakteristiki [Scriabin. An Attempt of Characterization]. Petrograd: Svetozar, 1921. 62 p.
Barsova I. A. Simfonii Gustava Malera [The Symphonies of Gustav Mahler]. Moscow: Sovetskiy kompozitor, 1975. 496 p.
Bakhtin M. M. Voprosy literatury i estetiki [Questions of Literature and Aesthetics]. Moscow: Khudozhestvennaya literatura, 1975. 504 p.
Belaya G. A. Khudozhestvennyy mir sovremennoy prozy [The Art World of Modern Prose]. Moscow: Nauka, 1983. 191 p.
Gyugo V. Sob. soch.: v 15 t. [Hugo V. Collected Works: in 15 Volumes]. Volume 14. Moscow: Goslitizdat, 1956. 766 p.
Kalashnikova A. V. S. Prokof’ev i skifskie motivy v kul’ture Serebryanogo veka [Prokofiev and the Scythian Motives in the Culture of the Silver Age]. Nizhny Novgorod, 2008. 24 p.
Kurchenko A. “Skifstvo” v russkoy muzyke nachala XX veka sb. st.: [“Scythianism” in Russian Music of the Early 20th Century]. Iz istorii russkoy i sovetskoy muzyki [From the History of Russian and Soviet Music: a Compilation of Articles]. Issue 2. Compiled by A. Kandinsky. Moscow, 1976. pp. 170–195.
Nestyev I. V. Zhizn’ Sergeya Prokofieva [The life of Sergei Prokofiev]. 2nd Edition. Moscow: Sovetskiy kompozitor, 1973. 713 p.
Pamyati S. Prokofieva [In Memory of Sergei Prokofiev]. Sovetskaya muzyka [Soviet Music]. 1991, No. 4. 111 с.
Tarakanov M. E. Stil’ simfoniy Prokofieva [The Style of Prokofiev’s Symphonies]. Moscow: Muzyka, 1968. 432 p.
- There are currently no refbacks.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.