Russian Overtureop. 72 (1936/37)
Boosey & Hawkes
Composing this outrageously exuberant overture in 1936 was Prokofieff’s way of celebrating his recent decision to return from exile to spend the rest of his life in the USSR. It is one of his most over-the-top, noisy, garish, brash and delightful pieces, a preposterous sequence of deafening crashes, pounding accompaniments and all manner of good tunes, including some real Russian folk-tunes which get the full Prokofieff treatment, complete with ‘wrong’ harmonies underneath. This is the simplest music for pleasure, with no pretentions at all, a piece of the brightest poster art, intended to take its place in the most popular programmes alongside the ‘1812’ and other lollipops.
Note by Gerard McBurney