Symphony No. 1, Op. 25, I: Allegro

The Soviet Russian pianist, composer and conductor Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953) began writing his Symphony No. 1, Opus 25, also known as the Classical Symphony, in 1916, completing it in 1917. He wrote it in a classical style inspired by the works of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) and Joseph Haydn (1732-1809).

Last night, my sweety and I had a dinner delivered and watched a Vimeo live-broadcast concert of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Daniel Raiskin, as part of an autumn harvest fundraiser. The meal was delicious, and the music varied, with light and airy elements (like the opening movement of Prokofiev’s Classical Symphony) and dark, bleak sounds of conflict (the Chamber Symphony by Dmitri Shostakovich, 1906-1975).

The concert opened with the Classical Symphony, a famous work among Profofiev’s repertoire. He composed the symphony while on vacation in the country, having left the violence of the city behind during the first of two revolutions that happened in Russia in 1917.

Thinking about the concert last night, I find the first movement (Allegro) of Prokofiev’s piece to be like a celebration of nature… I can visualize being in a meadow in the low golden light of autumn. That’s an important image as I think about COP26, the United Nations Climate Change Conference, an important summit that began today. We are in a time when bold, decisive actions must be acted on immediately if the life and beauty on our planet is to survive the climate emergency.

Among the evidence and appeals that will be presented to conference delegates, I hope they take the time and space to witness a collaboration of music and visual art I mentioned in a post on Friday. Life in the modern world can be oppressive to the soul, and nothing can rebalance one’s sense of well-being and connectedness to the earth quite like time immersed in nature. That’s what I feel Prokofiev was aiming to create in his symphony, and what London England-based singer-songwriter Kate Ells and visual artist Geraldine van Heemstra evoke in their jointly-created Wonderland Project (please see Friday’s post for the song, “Wonderland”).

Yesterday, before my date night with Sweety, I savoured some refreshing solo time in nature, cycling a short-ish 40 km (25 miles) on a sunny, crisp and windy afternoon. I hadn’t ridden in about a week and was keenly aware that it might be one of my last outdoor rides of the season. It was a blissful day, and an evening warmed by each other’s company and a small fire in our new wood stove.

Now you know a little about why this is My Song of the Day for Today. Thanks for joining me here, and please enjoy.

Here’s the audio for the Allegro from a recording by the National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine conducted by Theodore Kuchar, on the orchestra YouTube topic channel. (Serendipitously, as YouTube cued up the video, it played an ad for the YouTube Originals presentation Dear Earth, an “epic global celebration of our planet and what we need to do to reverse climate change…”)

The audio post is part of a playlist containing Prokofiev’s symphonies:

Also, when browsing for videos, I found an amateur video capturing a beautiful performance by Russia’s Mariinsky Ballet, featuring its first soloist Maria Khoreva, dancing to the Classical Symphony:

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