Prokofiev (1891-1953) is a Russian
orchestral and opera composer. He studied at the St Petersburg
Conservatory, with Rimsky-Korsakov
and Lyadov. He was keen on modernistic and progressive music in his earlier
years, and he had a taste for strange, even grotesque effects. . However
he also wrote his acerbic, neo-classical work A Classical Symphony
during this period.
After the Russian Revolution in 1917 he left for New
York, USA, aged 26, and later Paris, France. His Opera Love for
Three Oranges illustrates his liking for the grotesque. It was first
performed in Chicago in 1921, and established him as a theatrical composer.
1936 he returned to settle in Russia, then called the USSR, under Stalin's
repressive regime. In this period he wrote his ballet Romeo and Juliet,
film music for Lieutennant Kije, and the children's story Peter
and the Wolf. He also wrote some Concertos and Symphonies, which are
infrequently played these days. The communist regime became unhappy with
Prokofiev's work, and in his later years he was not strong enough to resist, so
he placated them by writing music with a degree of tiredness and resignation.