chapter  12
24 Pages

A breakthrough in sound-visual cinema: Ivan the Terrible by Eisenstein and Prokofiev.

Today nobody would be surprised at this approach to writing film music, but at that time it was a novelty which demonstrated not only Prokofiev's ingenuity but also his pragmatism, his search for maximum effect in his work. For his part, the director took every opportunity to stimulate the composer's imagination, in accordance with his own conception of the film. Thus, aware of Prokofiev's striking ability to reproduce living images in music, Eisenstein made a series of drawings and graphic sketches of the most important scenes, which the composer wittily termed, 'squibs'. He turned to such, 'squibs', especially often when he had to write music before the image had been fully assembled, and the director was seeking a key to the melodic, rhythmic or dramatic organization of a particular scene. Besides, Prokofiev was given a detailed list of supposed musical themes, which he jokingly called 'themelet'. This list included a description of each particular theme as well as the director's commentary on the episodes in which the themes were to be used.