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Composing for the Red ScreenProkofiev and Soviet Film$
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Kevin Bartig

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199967599

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199967599.001.0001

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Alexander Nevsky and the Stalinist Museum

Alexander Nevsky and the Stalinist Museum

(p.74) 4 Alexander Nevsky and the Stalinist Museum
Composing for the Red Screen

Kevin Bartig

Oxford University Press

The film for which Prokofiev composed his third film score, Alexander Nevsky, casts the victory of the thirteenth-century, proto-Russian Prince Alexander over invading Teutonic Knights as an allegory of Soviet might in the face of Nazi aggression. The chapter examines how Prokofiev's understanding of the film's ideological goals transformed his approach to film music. He largely abandoned the terseness and economy of the new simplicity, instead lacing a symphonic approach with allusions to preexisting music. His references furnished the score with intertextual references that were comfortingly familiar and nationally marked. Still seeking to write accessible, serious music for the masses, Prokofiev merged his music with that of other Russian composers to aid comprehensibility and, in the process, forged a nationalist-oriented approach that later scholars would claim had been imposed on Prokofiev.

Keywords:   alexander Nevsky, sergey Eisenstein, mosfilm, “Assumed Vernacular”, russianness, stalin Prize

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