Running time:
90 minutes, no break

The programme is subject to change

23 November 2019 Saturday 19.00 Grand Hall
19.00 Grand Hall

Orchestra and choir of the Bolshoi.
Cinema and concert “Ivan the Terrible”

Movie “Ivan the Terrible” 
by Sergey Eisenstein (1945) 
with soundtrack of Sergei Prokofiev

Art director and chief conductor – Tugan Sokhiev
Chief choirmaster – Valery Borisov
Director – Mikhail Kislyarov

Agunda Kulaeva, mezzo-soprano
Yuri Syrov, bass-baritone

Pyotr Markin, narrator 

Last April, “Zaryadye” showed Sergei Eisenstein’s classic movie “Battleship Potemkin”. This time, we are glad to invite you to see his other masterpiece, “Ivan the Terrible”.

This is not a usual cinema show: the soundtrack is performed live. In case of this format, orchestra becomes co-author, along with composer and director. The next challenge of conductor is to synchronize music with the slightest picture change on screen.

Prokofiev remembered, that his work with Eisenstein began as early as in 1942. It was then that the director asked the composer to write soundtrack to a movie that would be “Ivan the Terrible”. Prokofiev had to find proper melodies and harmonies to the picturesque scenes: Tsar’s house, endless Tatar steppe, lush marriage party, battlefield, Russian villages covered in snow, etc. Pretty soon the two creators worked out their collaborative way: Prokofiev watched a scene in the studio, listening to Eisenstein’s wishes of how the music should sound. Sometimes, those wishes were quirky ones, like “it should sound as if somebody takes away a baby from its mother”, or “make it as if somebody rubs a cork against glass”. Prokofiev would write a piece according to the composer’s desires, and played it on the piano, and then record it. And “then it comes to choir, I sing, and my singing always made Eisenstein laugh, because I’m not a great singer actually. When music fits the picture and there’s no need to adjust it, then I started orchestrating”, composer confessed.

The music manuscripts were published in its entirety in 1997. It contains almost 40 episodes with 12 Orthodox choir pieces that you can hear in the movie. Prokofiev never had a desire to treat this soundtrack like he treated his “Alexander Nevsky” music, he never wanted to use this music as a foundation for suite, cantata, or oratory. The second part of the movie was actually banned by the powers that be for Grozny’s striking resemblance with Stalin. So, the oratory “Ivan the Terrible” – performed, by the way, by Tugan Sokhiev with Deutsches-Symphonie Orchester in Berlin 6 years ago – is an “assemblage” by a conductor called Abram Stasevich. It was Stasevich who added narrative to the score. That oratory was first performed in 1968, other variants followed later.