Prokofiev wrote his fifth Symphony upon his return to the Soviet Union in 1944, after spending some years in New York and Paris. Written in just over four weeks, this piece evoked a range of rumours and interpretations – was this work embody Stalinist patriotism or the struggle of an artist finding an individual voice within a highly censored society. Driven by captivating melodies that shift form, threading the whole piece together. It was written at a time of high tension and stress, caused by the Second World War, reflected in the symphony as it combines large dissonant chords and textures with sweeping melodies. After its premiere, Prokofiev writes that he “conceived of it as glorifying the grandeur of the human spirit… praising the free and happy man – his strength, his generosity, and the purity of his soul.” The music is inspiring and carries essences of excitement and optimism, reflecting the impending victory of the allied forces in the war. The reception of its premiere in 1945 was so successful, it lead to Prokofiev being featured on the cover of Time magazine. PROGRAM: PROKOFIEV Symphony No. 5 (1944) FEATURED ARTISTS: Umberto Clerici – conductor Melbourne Symphony Orchestra
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