13 November 2012
How does music make us feel? Not what do we feel when we listen to music but more specifically, what is it about Music that triggers our human emotions? What effect did hearing those sad country songs on the radio during my morning drive to school have on the rest of my day? Why does upbeat hip hop music always make me nod my head with the beat? Why does a song like “Go rest high on that mountain” by Vince Gill always make me cry? Music is a large part of most of our everyday lives. Sergei Prokofiev understood that considering the feelings and emotions of the listener was vital in the production of music, and demonstrates in “Peter and the Wolf” how musical properties can persuade us emotionally. The road to Prokofiev’s growth to being one of the most unique composers of his time started in Sontsovka, Ukraine in the year 1891. His mother was a pianist and his first piano teacher. Prokofiev began writing piano pieces at age five and by age nine had written his first opera. He studied at the St. Petersburg conservatory starting at ten years of age from 1904 to 1914. Prokofiev performed as a virtuoso starting in 1910 and began making a living in music. At his graduation recital he played his own first concerto. In 1915 during World War I he composed Scythian Suite and his first classical Symphony in 1917 (David Nice). In 1918 Prokofiev moved from Russia to the United States in search for greater artistic perspectives. After mixed experiences he moved to Paris in 1922 and finally returned home to Russia to be with his family in 1936. One of his first compositions upon returning home was Peter and the Wolf. Written in April of 1936, Peter and the Wolf were written as an introduction for children to the orchestra and were narrated by Prokofiev himself at the children’s theatre in Moscow. The story takes place in a meadow near young Peter’s house. After watching the wolf...