Current Essays

Prokofiev and Conkofiev On:2006-01-19 04:44:04

A Mr DeLoatch of Virginia writes 'BTW speaking of classics how can you praise Prokofiev, for goodness sakes?'... Oh! but before we get to that I should mention (at the risk of causing shock, distress and disgust in the rest of you) that---Yes! It is true!! I do actually have fans!
Unfortunately my demographic tends to exclude young nubile women from my fanbase or for that matter any pop-star style ecstatic screaming from them: no, as far as I am aware, any screams or for that matter underwear hurled at the radio during any of my performances is of a quite different nature. [sigh] No my fans tend to be, like Mr DeLoatch (who so describes himself), middle aged and middle class and typically suffering from, if not full blown hydrophobia, at least Anglophilia.

Now where was I, Oh yes, Mr DeLoatch of Virginia writing 'BTW speaking of classics how can you praise Prokofiev, for goodness sakes?'... Oh! but before we get to that I should mention that I have absolutely no recollection of ever praising old Sergei on air, so unless he was confusing me with someone else (and I'm sure I can't be the only person ever to have been suspected of praising Prokofiev on, or for that matter off, air) I was left wondering where on earth he could have got the notion. A search of the essays on my website showed references to the evil Prokrustes and the late Prokrastes, but not to the musical Prokofiev. Not nowhere! And it wasn't until I had got all bulldoggy and wild and somewhat random that I eventually worried it down, and found something in a footnote to an old, old essay called My Dogma ran after my Karma. Oh! but before we get to that I should mention that the site has lots of footnotes explaining absolutely everything in the entire Universe (at least as far as it concerns my essays) and that, just by themselves, my footnotes make a visit to the site almost ...worthwhile. Anyway buried away in the obscure footnotes to this obscure essay was a reference to the great Soviet Russian moviemaker Eisensein's great movie Aleksandr Nevskiy: I explained that it was "the other great Movie," (than the great Japanese moviemaker Kurosawa's great movie Shichi Nin No Samuri) and that it "should only be avoided if you wish to die unfulfilled and ignorant of just how unimportant special effects are." I then added "Aleksandr Nevskiy has great Prokofiev music too."

That MUST have been it! And we've finally found it!! And there's fans for you---finding things about me that even I could hardly find, and caring about them too!

Oh! Yes! And now we've finally got to the question of how I could praise Prokofiev, for goodness sakes. Well it's funny Mr DeLoatch should ask that presumably rhetorical-to-him question (and I won't even mention his then going on to add "that movie music! And Romeo and Juliet! Come on now!!! Give me a real Soviet composer like Shostakovich, please"---um ... well I won't mention it again) because I indeed do love Prokofiev's music to Nevskiy and even more importantly a majority of my kids love it too! You see, as a responsible parent, I made damn sure that my offspring were wound up with all of Mankind's truly great and uplifting major cultural artifacts: Beowulf; The Iliad; The Battle of Maldon; The Motorcycle Diaries; the Elgin Marbles (which we're keeping! Nyaa! Nyaa!); Bach; Mozart; Josquin; Turner; and of course great movies such as Un Chien Andalou, Blowup and of course Aleksandr Nevskiy---So the children became quite familiar with the image of those evil, pesky Teutonic Knights so brilliantly and metonymically symbolised by the evil pestilent helms they wore. Of course you will remember the dominating image of that great blunt-horned great helm worn by one of the main baddies, so I hardly need to tell you how the kids were so taken with it and so frightened by it that in our household it ended up being an icon the equivalent of the famous Mouse ears, only frightening---not of course to say that Disney isn't.

Cheerio for now
from Richard Howland-Bolton.

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