View Poll Results: Who wins?

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  • Prokofiev for the win by a lot

    22 19.30%
  • Prokofiev for the win, but barely

    24 21.05%
  • It's a tie / Don't ask me

    28 24.56%
  • Shostakovich for the win, but barely

    23 20.18%
  • Shostakovich for the win by a lot

    17 14.91%
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Thread: Shostakovich vs. Prokofiev

  1. #46
    Senior Member Couchie's Avatar
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    Prokofiev is preferable. Some of Shostakovich's compositions, such as his 1st Piano Concerto, are a hot mess.

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  3. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by science View Post
    Interesting results. If the poll is reliable, it's essentially a dead heat. Prokofiev has a touch more support overall, but Shostakovich's supporters tend to be more passionate.
    I guess I didn't expect such close results (as of this post it is a dead heat). Maybe it's not so surprising. They do have so many similarities, and even Goulding's research places them essentially even (Nos. 18 and 19).

  4. #48
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    When comparing these two composers, the most important thing, to me, is the fact that Prokofiev had a natural gift for melodies, while Shostakovich was poor in that area. Shostakovich did a great job using small, melodically insignificant patterns to create great works of tense, dramatic effect. That's why he was such a great symphonist. Prokofiev original melodies were behind his strength, I believe.
    - Ken

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  6. #49
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    Both were the best Russian composers of the 20th century, but I think Shostakovich wins because he wrote music that helped expose the evils of the Soviet system as well as inspire those who suffered from it. Russians are often able to turn suffering into great beauty and that's what Shostakovich did. His 4th symphony was monumental. He clearly wins in the symphonic category whereas Prokofiev wins with piano concertos. Hard to beat Shostakovich's 1st violin and cello concertos. Both were terrific composers.

  7. #50
    Senior Member elgars ghost's Avatar
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    Hard for me to compare their various stylistic merits as Prokofiev was born nearly a generation before the other, and in the decade or so between their respective initial works the musical world had moved fast.

    To me, much of Prokofiev's work up until the 30s had a distinctly urbane, cosmopolitan flavour mainly due to his working and, eventually, living outside of Russia whereas much of Shostakovich's early output from the mid 20s to the early 30s ran parallel with the spirit of what the relatively young Soviet regime appeared to be allowing in terms of artistic freedom in the days before Socialist Realism became a byword for suspicion of individual creativity.

    After Prokofiev's return during the 30s both wrote great work through some terrible times but Shostakovich's greater experience of the carrot and stick treatment enabled him to play the game better - the fall-out from the 'Zhdanov' Conference of 1948 pretty much broke Prokofiev's confidence (and probably his health) for good whereas DSCH weathered the storm in his usual neurotic but internally iron-willed way as he had simply been there more often. Perhaps this was the point where not only the age gap between the two men would tell, but also the younger man's 'school of hard knocks' familiarity with the situation.

    A substantial amount of DSCH's greatest music came from the 22 years of his life after Stalin's death when a lot of the pent-up anger and hurt boiled over at various times. Prokofiev's tragedy was that his own death on the same day as Stalin's denied him the opportunity to compose in more conducive circumstances. That makes it our loss, too.

    Shostakovich is my favourite of the two but not by very much.
    '...a violator of his word, a libertine over head and ears in debt and disgrace, a despiser of domestic ties, the companion of gamblers and demireps, a man who has just closed half a century without a single claim on the gratitude of his country or the respect of posterity...' - Leigh Hunt on the Prince Regent (later George IV).

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  9. #51
    Senior Member Albert7's Avatar
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    Both are really good but I think that Prokofiev went for quality over quantity in a lot of cases. Examples include the few symphonies that he composed.
    "if a horse could sing in a monotone, the horse would sound like Carly Simon, only a horse wouldn't rhyme 'yacht', 'apricot', and 'gavotte'. Is that some kind of joke?"
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  10. #52
    Senior Member pianississimo's Avatar
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    Shostakovich might be said to have been more historically significant but Prokofiev was a greater innovator. I also love his playfulness and his openness to newer formats - like film music.

  11. #53
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    I like their music equally. If I had to judge who was the better composer, leaving aside my personal feelings, I still wouldn't be able to choose a clear winner. Who would I rather drink vodka with? That's easy: Shostakovich, hands down.

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  13. #54
    Senior Member Fugue Meister's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pianississimo View Post
    Shostakovich might be said to have been more historically significant but Prokofiev was a greater innovator. I also love his playfulness and his openness to newer formats - like film music.
    It seems as though some of you are unaware Shosty wrote plenty of film music just as open and playful as Proko, and if Proko is so great how come he is losing the poll.

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  15. #55
    Senior Member shadowdancer's Avatar
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    A lot of non conventional Shostakovich for those who don`t really know his works:
    51lM1U2MP+L.jpg
    "Without music, life would be a mistake." Friedrich Nietzsche
    一期一会

  16. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fugue Meister View Post
    It seems as though some of you are unaware Shosty wrote plenty of film music just as open and playful as Proko, and if Proko is so great how come he is losing the poll.
    By one single vote. That's barely even a plurality.

    Anyway, my preference is for Prokofiev by some margin.

  17. #57
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    I like both composers a lot. Love 'em, even, when they're on form. Prokofiev's ratio of dud to non-dud works, however, is MUCH smaller than Shostakovich's, so I gotta give him the edge based on that alone. And when both are REALLY on form, Prokofiev's works also seem to be a good bit more lively.

  18. #58
    Senior Member KenOC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nathanb View Post
    I like both composers a lot. Love 'em, even, when they're on form. Prokofiev's ratio of dud to non-dud works, however, is MUCH smaller than Shostakovich's, so I gotta give him the edge based on that alone. And when both are REALLY on form, Prokofiev's works also seem to be a good bit more lively.
    Prokofiev may have a better ratio, but in real numbers Shostakovich wrote a LOT more non-dud works (IMO of course).


  19. #59
    nathanb
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    Quote Originally Posted by KenOC View Post
    Prokofiev may have a better ratio, but in real numbers Shostakovich wrote a LOT more non-dud works (IMO of course).
    I may or may not agree. I'd have to crunch the numbers. But even when I enjoy almost the entirety of the 15-quartet cycle, among other things, very few moments measure up to Prokofiev's very finest (2nd piano concerto, etc... IMO of course).

    I go to both composers for entirely different things, so I'm not too concerned with the results.

  20. #60
    Senior Member Ilarion's Avatar
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    Prokofiev has his good sides, no doubt about it...But imho he is the 20th century Beethoven.

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