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March, Opus 99 (arr Mindeman)

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Sergei Prokofiev

Sergei Prokofiev (arr. John S. Mindeman)


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General Info

Year: 1943-44
Duration: c. 2:05
Difficulty: (see Ratings for explanation)
Original Medium: Military band
Publisher: Manuscript
Cost: Score and Parts - Unknown


Instrumentation

(Needed - please join the WRP if you can help.)


Errata

None discovered thus far.


Program Notes

Apart from transcriptions of the march from the Love for Three Oranges (1919), this Op. 99 effort is the most popular among the half-dozen or so marches for military band that Prokofiev wrote. It is festive and short, lasting two to three minutes, and its merriment never becomes bombastic, its prismatic colors never blindingly brilliant.

The main theme here is utterly memorable in its bouncing vigor and celebratory cheer. Prokofiev obviously felt it a worthwhile creation since he reused it in his opera The Story of a Real Man, Op. 117 (1947 -- 1948). If the outer sections of this B flat march are fleet and festive, the middle section can be characterized as relatively subdued in contrast, but without breaking the joyous mood. Prokofiev's robust scoring and deft instrumental balancing throughout enhance the march's effectiveness: this is not band music of blaring brass and pounding drums, but a composition both unashamedly merry and masterfully subtle. One of a group of patriotic compositions Prokofiev wrote in support of the Russian war effort, the work was premiered via a Moscow radio broadcast on April 30, 1944.

- Program note from Allmusic.com


March, Op. 99 (1943) was written at a time when many Russian composers were turning to the march genre as a show of support to their country during World War II. According to Harlow Robinson, Prokofiev’s biographer, the piece was a political composition written in honor of May Day, also known as International Workers’ Day. May 1 is perhaps the most important political holiday in the Soviet calendar, second only to the October Revolution. The march was broadcast over government radio as part of the 1944 May Day celebration. Prokofiev also included the march in his opera The Story of a Real Man (1947).

- Program Note from University of North Texas Concert Band concert program, 23 November 2015


Prokofiev wrote his March, Op. 99 in 1943-4 for a Soviet military band, and it received its premiere in the form of a radio broadcast from Moscow on April 30, 1944. Subtitled March to Victory, the work was first performed in America on May 31, 1945, with Serge Koussevitzky conducting the Combat Infantry Band in Madison Square Garden. Full of celebration and merriment, the music also displays a subtlety contrasting that of many other marches and their typical bombast. Prokofiev reused the main theme of the March, Op. 99 in the last opera he completed, The Story of a Real Man, in 1947-8.

- Program Note from Monarch Brass concert program, 15 December 2016


Written towards the close of World War II, this work captures the military spirit common in so many contemporary Russian works from this period. Prokofiev’s tendency to employ humor in his compositions is very evident in this march, which is optimistic in mood and humorous in execution. Sounding like music fit for the most colorful big-top circus show, this work is not the militaristic somber exposition that listeners might expect from an embattled Russian composer -- but it is consistent with Prokofiev’s early works. Considering the music from the societal comedy, For the Love of Three Oranges, and the farcical music for the film score of Lieutenant Kijé, it is little wonder that such mischievous and vibrant music flowed from Prokofiev’s pen. Written in a time when there was little to be optimistic about, this work was the forerunner of a long-delayed and much happier time.

- Program Note from Baylor University Wind Ensemble concert program, 2 March 2020


Commercial Discography


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


Performances

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Works for Winds by this Composer


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