Quintet in G minor Op.39

Composer: Sergei Prokofiev (b. 1891 - d. 1953)
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Composer: Sergei Prokofiev (b. 1891 - d. 1953)

Performance date: 28/06/2010

Venue: St. Brendan’s Church

Composition Year: 1924

Duration: 00:20:31

Recording Engineer: Anton Timoney, RTÉ lyric fm

Instrumentation Category:Quintet

Instrumentation Other: ob, cl, vn, va, db

Artists: Nicolas Daniel - [oboe]
Jörg Widmann - [clarinet]
Bartosz Woroch - [violin]
Adam Newman - [viola]
Dominic Dudley - [double bass]

Quintet in G minor Op.39

quintet dates from Prokofiev’s time in Paris in 1924, when he was
still uncompromisingly modernist in his style. The contrast to his
Violin Sonata, which we heard on Saturday, could not be greater; we
could almost be listening to two different composers. 1924 was a
dramatic year for him personally, with the birth of his first son and
the death of his mother. It was also the year of his most ambitious
and complex symphony, the Second. He was having mixed success in
Paris with his works; it was more difficult to shock sophisticated
Paris than either pre-war Russia or post-war USA. This meant he was
still obliged to make his living from his prowess as a concert

Quintet is a version of his ballet about circus life,
was premiered the following year in Berlin. The work varies from
delicious tone painting of an almost lyrical nature, to steely
dissonances and choreographically challenging rhythmical
complexities. The instrumentation is unusual enough to be an
attraction in itself. There is a wide range of moods from gentle to
sardonic with, not surprisingly, a strong flavour of the burlesque.
The six movements explore a fascinating variety of sound worlds and
even the double bass has a share of the limelight, though inevitably
the two wind instruments steal the show.

in life when he was back in Soviet Russia, Prokofiev felt obliged to
answer the inevitable criticism of this work’s formalist tendencies
by blaming the decadent Parisian atmosphere,
complex patterns and dissonances were the accepted thing and fostered
my predilection for complex thinking.