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Pierre's Tuesday Blog

Prokofiev - Love Of Three Oranges/Classical Symphony/Lieutenant Kije

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Today’s installment of Vinyl’s Revenge considers one of the many recordings by British conductor Neville Marriner. .

Marriner studied at the Royal College of Music and the Paris Conservatoire, later playing violin in the string sections of the Philharmonia and London Symphony Orchestras. After taking private conducting lessons with Pierre Monteux at his school in Maine, he founded the Academy of St Martin in the Fields chamber orchestra in 1958, a group with which he is most associated with, and with whom he has recorded extensively mainly the baroque and classical repertoire, but also some 20th century works.

In addition to his long association qith the Academy, Marriner was the first music director of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra (1969 – 1978), was music director of the Minnesota Orchestra (1979 – 1986) and principal conductor of the Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra (1986 – 1989).

I own several recordings by Sir Neville, and many of them with ensembles other than the Academy, including the one I am sharing today with the London Symphony Orchestra. On this recording, we hear three works by Sergei Prokofiev: his Classical Symphony, and two suites – from his opera The Love for Three Oranges and the film Lieutenant Kije.

A few weeks ago, I shared some thoughts about Prokofiev on my Friday Blog, specifically related to the Second World War. Two of the works featured today date from the period right around the Russian Revolution.

In the summer of 1917, Prokofiev composed his first symphony, which he named himself “the Classical”. .According to him, the work was modelled after the style Joseph Haydn would have used if he had been alive at the time.

Prokofiev chose to leave Russia after the revolution, first in San Francisco , then his debut solo concert in New York Soon after, he received a contract from the music director of the Chicago Opera Association, Cleofonte Campanini, for the production of his new opera The Love for Three Oranges in 1919.

By the early 1930s, both Europe and America were suffering from the Great Depression, which inhibited both new opera and ballet productions, and Prokofiev had to supplement his income as a piano soloist – a situation he greatly resented, as he saw himself as a composer first and foremost. Having been homesick for some time, Prokofiev began to build substantial bridges with the Soviet Union, acting increasingly as a musical ambassador between his homeland and the West, and his premieres and commissions were increasingly under the auspices of the Soviet Union. One such commission was the score for the Soviet film was Lieutenant Kijé.

Happy Listening!

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953)

The Love for Three Oranges (suite), Op. 33 bis
Lieutenant Kijé (suite from the film score), Op. 60
Symphony No.1 in D ('Classical'), Op. 25

London Symphony Orchestra
Sir Neville Marriner, conducting
Recorded in London, April 1980.

Philips LP (724437), AAA

YouTube URL -

June 26 2014, "I Think You Will Love This Music Too" will feature a new podcast "Franck & Fauré" at its Pod-O-Matic Channel . Read more on our blogs in English and in French.