The youthful Prokofieff was a master of laughter, absurdity and colour, but nowhere more so than in his enchanting fairy-tale opera, based on the Italian writer Gozzi’s commedia dell’arte satire The Love for Three Oranges. The pantomime-like plot concerns the adventures of a young prince, cursed by a wicked witch and forced to voyage into distant lands in search of three oranges inside each of which is a princess.
In his six-movement symphonic suite, Prokofieff includes some of the loudest and most garish and comical passages of the opera including the music of the clowns, the card-game between the magician and the wicked witch, and the world-famous March. All this bustle and excitement is offset by the lyrical love-music which accompanies the prince’s meeting with the princess of the third orange.
For this shorter lollipop, the composer simply paired the unforgettable march with the scherzo depicting the prince’s magical travels in search of the oranges.
Note by Gerard McBurney