John Gibbons holds a Ph.D. in music composition from the University of Chicago. He teaches music appreciation classes at the Universality of Chicago’s Graham School and at Newberry Library. He also offers private piano lessons in the Chicago area.
Bonnie Gibbons is a web site developer and SEO with a background in classical music. She might be persuaded to teach a few cello lessons in the Chicago area.
In this 1944 radio interview in English, Bela Bartok discusses the pieces in an upcoming recital by his wife. At this time, he was suffering from leukemia and had a little over a year to live. Bartok’s English is fluent, but his accent charmingly has a little Peter Lorre flavor (make that “Peter Lorre impersonator” flavor, since the real Lorre had an additional Viennese sound that Mel Blanc et al. missed.) Bartok speaks in some detail about forms and folk influences of these pieces.
And here’s a short video of Sergei Prokofiev playing the piano and talking about what he’s composing. The excerpt is from Scene 5 of his opera War and Peace, which had just had a partial concert performance in Leningrad. At that moment (the middle section of the waltz), Anatole Kuragin has been going after the engage Natasha, and he gets her alone to kiss her and hand her a love letter. The entire scene IS the waltz, except for Natasha’s interjections in her own musical style, which wane in strength as the scene goes on.
11. The electrifying nature of the principal subject
of the first movement of the Sixth Sonata is not founded on its
dissonance but on its consonance. In fact, the primary dissonant
elements, the alteration between A major and a minor and the leading
tone to the dominant, d#, serve to enhance the stability of A as the
tonic, they create a stasis, a stability, not chromatic flux, which
gives the music its massive bulldozer effect. Paradoxically, it is
typical of Prokofieven dissonance that his “wrong notes” and mercurial
modulatory schemes achieve centrality rather than tonal diffusion.
Consider also Peter’s principal theme in “Peter and the Wolf”…what
could be more C-majorish, despite the theme’s flattened mediant
John Gibbons offers “Twenty Comments on the Prokofiev Piano Sonatas.” This article is the first in a two-part series. John will be teaching a related course on Rachmaninov and Prokofiev in downtown Chicago beginning September 23. more…
Suzie Templeton’s stop-motion, non-narrated retelling of Prokofiev’s 1936 work Peter and the Wolf is nominated in the Animated Short Film category. Watch the movie and learn more about Peter and the Wolf.