Sergei Prokofiev's Alexander Nevsky

ISBN : 9780190269579

Kevin Bartig
168 ページ
140 x 210 mm
  • Explores the genesis of one of Prokofiev's most performed works
  • Introduces a wealth of new information drawn from archival sources
  • Includes the first sustained analysis of the work's reception in the twentieth century

Audiences have long enjoyed Sergei Prokofievs musical score for Sergei Eisensteins 1938 film Alexander Nevsky. The historical epic cast a thirteenth-century Russian victory over invading Teutonic Knights as an allegory of contemporary Soviet strength in the face of Nazi warmongering. Prokofievs and Eisensteins work proved an enormous success, both as a collaboration of two of the twentieth centurys most prominent artists and as a means to bolster patriotism and national pride among Soviet audiences. Arranged as a cantata for concert performance, Prokofievs music for Alexander Nevsky music proved malleable, its meaning reconfigured to suit different circumstances and times. Author Kevin Bartig draws on previously unexamined archival materials to follow Prokofievs Alexander Nevskyfrom its inception through the present day. He considers the musics genesis as well as the surprisingly different ways it has engaged listeners over the past eighty years, from its beginnings as state propaganda in the 1930s to showpiece for high-fidelity recording in the 1950s to open-air concert favorite in the post-Soviet 1990s.

"Bartig distills a wealth of research against a backdrop of cultural and political history to unwrap the story of Prokofiev's Alexander Nevsky with the ease and efficiency afforded by his considerable expertise. Though the music specialist will certainly appreciate his thorough analysis, the average reader will likely find the language clear and cogent. The book is accompanied by a website containing visual and aural examples which further serve to enhance the study Bartig has presented." - EuropeNow

"Bartig takes a fresh look at Prokofiev's Alexander Nevsky music through a variety of cultural lenses, examining not only the film score itself, but all the various incarnations and appropriations of its music. Behind the elegant and very readable text lies a mountain of solid archival research that lends his book great authority. Even those who already have a close knowledge of the Nevsky music and its history will still undoubtedly find much that is new." - Marina Frolova-Walker, Professor of Music History, University of Cambridge


About the Companion Website
Chapter One: Origins, Advantages, Anxieties
Chapter Two: Creating a Blockbuster
Chapter Three: The Thirteenth Century in Sounds
Chapter Four: Nevsky Goes to War
Chapter Five: From Hot War to Cold War
Chapter Six: Nevsky after the USSR
Further reading


Kevin Bartig is Associate Professor of Musicology at Michigan State University and author of Composing for the Red Screen: Prokofiev and Soviet Film (Oxford University Press, 2013).