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Ode to the End of the War

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Sergei Prokofiev

Sergei Prokofiev


This work bears the designation Opus 105.


General Info

Year: 1945 / 1969 / 1979
Duration: c. 12:15
Difficulty: (see Ratings for explanation)
Original Medium: Wind orchestra with 8 harps, 4 pianos, and 8 double basses
Publisher: Alfred Music
Cost: Score and Parts – Out of print.


Instrumentation

Piccolo
Flute I-II
Oboe I-II
English Horn
Bassoon I-II
Contrabassoon
E-flat Clarinet
B-flat Clarinet I-II
B-flat Bass Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Saxophone
E-flat Alto Saxophone
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
B-flat Trumpet I-II-III
F Horn I-II-III-IV-V-VI
Trombone I-II-III
Tuba I-II-III
String Bass (div.)
Harp I-II-III-IV-V-VI-VII-VIII
Piano I-II-III-IV Timpani
Percussion, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Chimes
  • Cymbals
  • Snare Drum
  • Tam-tam
  • Triangle
  • Xylophone


Errata

None discovered thus far.


Program Notes

Prokofiev's Ode to the End of the War, Op. 105, dates from 1945 and is written for a truly extraordinary ensemble of instruments. Prokofiev composed the work for 8 harps, 4 pianos, wind orchestra, percussion and 8 double basses! To this day, it does not receive the kudos it deserves, and is still lumped with the slogan “Socialistic Jubilation Orgy” at the victory of the Soviet Union over Fascism.

The entire Ode consists of brilliant music, which even a composer such as Shostakovich – despite all their differences – could not overlook. If a listener is able to get into the unfamiliar, vice-like, perhaps even partially harsh sound, then he is sure to be left with an unforgettable experience.

- Program Note by Franz Steiger for PentaTone CD Prokofiev

Ode to the End of the War is scored for winds, brass, contrabasses, percussion, four pianos, and eight harps. The piece opens with trumpets sounding a powerful C major triad, as chords from four pianos recall the colorful ringing of the Kremlin chimes. The pianos then provide a proud, marching pulse beneath the first statement of the main theme. The Allegro energico begins with an alarm from the solo trumpet and features an accompaniment of incessant staccato figures and a powerful return of the main theme. Low rumblings from pianos provide a transition into the second section. Here the music is transparent and static, and the unique scoring for pianos, harps, bassoons, and flutes creates a reflective atmosphere with beautiful, folk song-inspired melodies. The third section, Allegro assai, is marked by thunderous timpani solos, which lead to an overwhelming finale.

Ode to the End of the War// was Prokofiev’s attempt to write the ideological music expected of him, but conflicts in the music reflect the composer’s true beliefs. Alternately majestic and tumultuous, Ode to the End of the War is powerful and substantive music. In conversation about his Sixth Symphony, also conceived in reflection on the end of the war, Prokofiev writes: “Now we are rejoicing in our great victory, but each of us has wounds that cannot be healed. One has lost those dear to him, another has lost his health. These must not be forgotten.”

- Program Note from Northwestern University Symphonic Wind Ensemble concert program, 9 June 2019


Commercial Discography


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


Performances

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Works for Winds by this Composer


Resources

  • Prokofiev, S. [1979?]. Ode to the End of War: Opus 105 [score]. [Belwin Mills]: [Melville, N.Y.]