Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Prokofiev, his 5th Concerto, and Some Thoughts...

On Sunday last, I was listening to Prokofiev's glistening 5th Piano Concerto - since high school days, Prokofiev has been one of my heroes coming out of the twentieth century. My first encounter on the piano was his Fugitive Visions, and have loved them since, let alone essentially most of his output. I remember my personal piano-war with his mammoth 7th Sonata; however, it was truly worth the effort, as I think that it's the best of his so-called "War" Sonatas.
As I sat listening on Sunday, a truly gripping irony about this composer resurfaced in my memory bank - read on:
On March 5, 1953, the Soviet Union was given the stunning news that its leader, Josef Stalin, had died.
This tyrant, as we all know, was handed the power of absolute leader from Lenin upon his death, and Stalin maintained his tenure of dictator for a generation and a half until 1953.
The man Stalin exceeded, in my view, the evil of Hitler, simply by instigating the massacre of millions of his own countrymen, which Hitler never did, if one leaves out the fate of the Jews, Gypsies, the mentally deficient and political foes the German dictator dealt with.
Hitler maintained the phrase "we shall fight to the last man" several times, during the latter part of the war he had begun. Stalin was even more efficient in his nihilistic, paranoid world by warning his soldiers "if one moves forward, he may die; however, if he moves one step backward, he WILL die."
So much for one of two men who died on March 5, 1953.
On the same date, Sergei Prokofiev also passed away.
Which of the two do we better remember today? Just listen to the strangely and wonderfully melodic music given us by Prokofiev, on any day we choose - we can bring the genius of the artist to life any time of day we decide upon; on the other hand, it requires mute words from a book, or a grainy image of Stalin and the like on film, tape or a compact disc, to muster up a sense of whom we are pursuing some knowledge of.
By the way, while musing the above issue on Sunday, another date wafted up to my inner eye; that date, June 22.
On June 22, 1938, the black heavyweight boxing champion of the world, Joe Louis, met the man from Germany, Max Schmeling, for the second time(first time was 1936, when Schmeling defeated Joe Louis).
Louis, in a little over two minutes, severely beat Schmeling, which irritated and embarrassed Hitler upon his realization that a man of color had vanquished a member of the Aryan nation, which Hitler had proclaimed a culture superior to all others.
On June 22, 1941, Hitler would ultimately become somewhat more than irritated and embarrassed, by making the mistake of invading Mother Russia.
Certain dates can most assuredly represent the formation of the road that History travels on...

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