A man has fallen in love. A man is tormented by the death of his oldest friend. A man discovers the reality – i.e. the terrorizing power – of the Soviet Union. A man is torn between the wish to survive and the desire for free artistic expression. A man is looking in awe at the tremendous cost of war – in terms of human lives. A man wonders about the kind of world he is living in. He feels his destiny and he feels the infinite weight of his destiny on his shoulders. A man conceives three piano sonatas at a time and finishes one by one over a time span of five years, one more elaborate and impressive than the other. Sergei Prokofiev’s War Sonatas are not only some of the most remarkable pieces the composer has ever written, they are also a landmark in classical music.
War is the background of this work, the greatness of the human soul its overall theme. The composer considered it “very important not only for the musical material that went into it, but also because [he] was returning to the symphonic form after a break of sixteen years”. Sergei Prokofiev labeled his Symphony No. 5 in B flat (Op. 100) as the culmination of an entire period in his work, it remains until today one the most best-known and most frequently performed symphony.
Wanderlust. Haven’t we had that before? A recurrent theme in music, a recurrent theme in my posts, in my life. Transcending the daily routine, acceding to new knowledge, meeting new faces… Or going back in time, revisiting my younger me, traveling back into the times of my favourite composers… I can do all that by writing. Writing letters, posts, occasionally poems – what an extraordinary freedom I enjoy!
Everything is connected – isn’t that so? Whatever we do, it has consequences, big or small, harmless or deadly. Whatever we decide, it affects people around us, positively, negatively. At the end, our life is the sum of our decisions, well-meant, often misguided and mostly overrated as to their importance. A couple of things come together here.