chapter
Sergei Prokofiev
Pages 41

The larger part of Prokofiev’s creative effort focused on musicfor the theater-opera, ballet, and film music-but he also con-tributed substantially to the genres of symphony, concerto, and piano music. In all of those works he acknowledged as part of his catalogue, he showed a strong sense for fundamentally classic structures, usually enlivened by a sense of irony and humor that often became a burlesque of common musical practices. He was a master of the grotesque musical gesture that was intended as a humorous rather than a caustic statement. To these ends, his music often projects a frenetic intensity created by propulsive rhythms, sudden harmonic shifts, violent contrasts, quick changes of direction, and elements of youthful enthusiasm. Prokofiev incorporated these traits within the bounds of his own concept of musical tradition. He maintained that the new and original materials alone would not survive, because they could be copied by others; at the same time, he believed that any composer who had nothing new to offer would soon be forgotten.