A Comparison on Melody - The Spirit of Great Oak

23 April 1891 – 5 March 1953
 He was a Russian composer,
pianist and conductor who
mastered numerous musical
genres and is regarded as one
of the major composers of the
20th century
He was inspired by hearing his mother
practicing the piano in the evenings –
mostly works by Chopin and Beethoven –
and composed his first piano
composition at the age of five, an
'Indian Gallop', which was in the Lydian
 At the age of nine he was composing his
first opera, The Giant, as well as an
overture and various other pieces.
Beginning in 1904 he studied at the Saint
Petersburg Conservatory
developed a reputation as a musical rebel,
while getting praise for his original
compositions, which he would perform himself
on the piano
By 1910, he had started making a name for
himself as a composer
made extensive use of polytonality, created
highly chromatic and dissonant works.
At the premiere of one of his concertos, the
audience left the hall with exclamations of “To
hell with this futuristic music! The cats on the
roof make better music!”
He wrote most of it in 1917, finishing the
work on September 10
 It premiered on April 21, 1918 in
Petrograd, conducted by Prokofiev
himself, and has become one of his
most popular and beloved works
 considered to be one of the
first neoclassical compositions
it was composed in an attempt to
emulate the style of Joseph Haydn
 However, it strongly reflects modern
compositional practices and Prokofiev's
own voice
he was one of the earliest generation
ofChinese composers influenced by
western classical music and has
influenced generations of Chinese
 he composed in all the major musical
forms (two symphonies, a violin
concerto, four large scale choral works,
nearly 300 songs and an opera)
His influence in Chinese music won him
the title People's Composer.
 he is best known for his Yellow River
Cantata upon which the Yellow River
Concerto for piano and orchestra is
During the Japanese occupation of
China in the 1930s, he Used his music as
a weapon to protest the occupation
 he took part in patriotic activities, for
example, during the Sino-Japanese War
(1937-1945), he wrote vocal works that
encouraged the people to fight the
Japanese invaders
It is scored for a classical period orchestra consisting
of 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets,
2 bassoons,2 horns,2 trumpets, timpani and strings
Key of D Major
four movements as customary in Haydn's symphonies
it is of a decidedly lighthearted, even humorous
character, much in the spirit of the symphonies of
Though the symphony is at times sharply dissonant, it
maintains a steadfastly tonal basis
sudden shifts between tonal centers, characteristic of
The dapper first movement is a miniature
sonata design that follows the traditional form
but adds some quirks, the recapitulation, for
example, begins in the "wrong" key (but soon
rights itself) and occasionally a beat is left out
The sleek main theme is followed by the
enormous leaps, flashing grace notes and
sparse texture of the second subject.
A graceful melody floating high in the violins is
used to open and close the Larghetto, with the
pizzicato gentle middle section reaching a
brilliant tutti before quickly subsiding.
The third movement, a Gavotte, comes not
from the Viennese symphony but rather from
the tradition of French Baroque ballet.
The finale is the most brilliant movement of the
Symphony, and calls for remarkable feats of
agility and precise ensemble from the
Prelude: Song to the Yellow River Boatman
based on Yellow River Cantata
chromatic scales give melody a sense of urgency
call and response between piano and orchestra
pentatonic scale gives distinct tonality, often mimics
traditional chinese chants
Ode to the Yellow River
melody is first taken by cello, sentimental sounding
piano is very dramatic, much more legato and
consistent compared to first movement
melody develops in a crescendo, becomes climatic
ends again with strings and a single voice- symbolic
Yellow River Wrath
begins with Chinese bamboo flute- simple,
tranquil melody with major tonality
piano continues with a more elaboration,
includes rapid ascending and descending
dramatic shift in tonality and pace, includes
deep minor chord progressions, ends with
Yellow River Cantata
Defend the Yellow River
includes brass fanfares and uplifting, bright
melodies to a distinct marching beat
many points at which the melody crescendos
entire movement very energetic, ends with a
slower patriotic melody emphasized by strings
and that finally leads to climax