The Classical Music Minute

Prokofiev Piano Concerto No. 1 in D-flat Major

November 07, 2022 Steven Hobé, Composer & Host Season 1 Episode 84
The Classical Music Minute
Prokofiev Piano Concerto No. 1 in D-flat Major
Show Notes Transcript

One of my favorite pieces of all time is Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 1 in D-flat Major. This episode is dedicated to this breathtaking composition. Take a minute to get the scoop!

Listen to Juan P. Floristán play  Prokofiev Piano Concerto No. 1 in D-flat Major ℅ YouTube—Juan will also be a guest of mine coming soon!!!

Fun Fact
One day during the summer of 1911, Sergei Taneyev, the revered composer, asked the young Prokofiev a question that undoubtedly puzzled many musicians of his generation: “Where, Sergei Sergeyevich, do you think your predilection for dissonances comes from?”

Prokofiev responded: “Well, you know, Sergei Ivanovich, when I was eleven years old and I brought you my first symphony [an unpublished student work], you listened to it and said with a smile, ‘Very good, very good; except the harmony is painfully primitive…’ Those words burned themselves into my brain, I became ashamed of my primitive harmony, and tried in every possible way to make it more interesting.

This ambition has never left me, and as my musical powers developed I was always aiming at ever more complex harmony […]” Laughing, Taneyev replied, “Well, imagine that! I never knew it was I who had set you off on that path…!”

About Steven, Host
Steven is a Canadian composer living in Toronto. He creates a range of works, with an emphasis on the short-form genre—his muse being to offer the listener both the darker and more satiric shades of human existence. If you're interested, please check out his website for more. Member of the Canadian League Of Composers.

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One of my favorite pieces of all time is Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 1 in D-flat Major. It literally takes my breath away every time I listen to it.
As a student at the St. Petersburg Conservatory, Prokofiev frequently raised eyebrows with his daring dissonance-filled music. With his self-assured, cool demeanor, Prokofiev was well-aware of his own talent and paid little heed to criticisms. 
During the summer of 1910, he decided to compose a piano concerto to showcase his new musical style and virtuoso piano technique.
The concerto begins with what Prokofiev called “A massive Introduction in D-flat major” based on the “marvelous theme” that sprang from his head—like Athena from Zeus’s—fully-formed. Together the piano and orchestra proclaim a new era of music with a melody that combines grandeur, youthful swagger, and an irresistible catchiness.
The concerto’s first performances occurred during the summer of 1912 in Moscow. The audience response was so enthusiastic that he had to give two or three encores at each performance.