So I’ve done some more digging around in databases and such to root out more about Prokofiev’s film projects, and it now appears that the only one of his film scores not to be finished, or “unrealized,” was The Queen of Spades. Tonya, the only other film listed in the Grove as being “film unrealized” that I had not confirmed as such, was indeed made with a score by Prokofiev. There is are a few articles in the Prokofiev journal Three Oranges that I’m hoping to get my hands on soon that will hopefully enlighten me as to Tonya and the other films he scored during World War II – for those keeping score at home, those would be Kotovskiy, Lermontov, and The Partisans in the Ukrainian Steppes. I have yet to find anything about the mysterious Nashi devushki that was listed in IMDB, but the finding of solid sources regarding Tonya, and that the official count of 8 finished, 1 unrealized, now meshes with what I had read in program notes by respected Prokofiev scholar David Nice, leads me to believe that it used his music but that he did not write a new score for it. Hopefully an article by John Riley on Soviet war-time films that I hope to get will also assist in this department.
In the previous entry I included links to some recordings, and I have found a more complete CD with music from The Queen of Spades that I would like to share. Also of interest might be this recording of piano arrangements, there are selections from Lermontov, Partisans, and Tonya on it. It is, as far as I can find, the only recording of any kind with music from these films, with the exception Prokofiev’s op. 110 Waltz Suite, which includes the “Mephisto Waltz” from Lermontov.
I also mentioned previously that Prokofiev had incorporated material from Queen of Spades into his Fifth Symphony, and having now listened to the music, I can now report on how and what material. The cue labeled on the album above as “Hermann sees Lisa” includes material that Prokofiev would turn into the Adagio third movement of the symphony. Now, not knowing the Pushkin story at all (except for reading the summary on Wikipedia), I’m not sure of the exact circumstances of the theme, though it do recur in other cues later on in the score. The theme and its orchestration are remarkably similar to how the occur in the symphony (though I think it is about a step or so higher in the film version) and I’m pretty sure that the varied presentations of the theme in the score are all incorporated into the movement in some way. If you pull out your recordings, the theme that is used is the first one to be presented in the movement.
Well that is pretty much it for now. As my semester has started, I won’t be able to update every week, though I will do my best to update as often as I can.
Update – More info on Tonya, from an article abstract, the film was unreleased, though without reading the article I’m somewhat cofused as to if the film was actually finished or not.