Magazine article Gramophone

STUDIO FOCUS: Kirill Kambits: The Conductor on His Live Recording of Prokofiev's Cantata for the 20th Anniversary of the October Revolution

Magazine article Gramophone

STUDIO FOCUS: Kirill Kambits: The Conductor on His Live Recording of Prokofiev's Cantata for the 20th Anniversary of the October Revolution

Article excerpt

The 20th anniversary of the October Revolution in 1937 triggered many patriotic works, including this one ...

One could say this is a propaganda piece but at the same time there's truth in it. While Prokofiev had to make compromises--he originally used only text by Lenin, but was then told to add words by Stalin too he still remained true to himself. He is praising a new type of man born after the revolution, and he is saying that society will be forever changed. He really believes this, and you can hear it in the music.

But the work wasn't performed as part of the celebrations ...

The authorities wanted something straightforward and secure, and this wasn't--no one could predict how people would react to it. It's so overwhelming and strong it's a masterpiece rather than something that praises the Communist Party.

How did you come to record it?

It wasn't planned as a recording. My main motivation was to perform it. With 2017 being the 100th anniversary of the October Revolution. I said to myself, if I were ever to conduct it, now is the moment. The Kunstfest Weimar like unusual projects so I had the idea to present two Prokofievs in one of their concerts last summer--this work, alongside Gabriel Prokofiev's Concerto for Turntables. Then Deutchlandradio in Berlin heard about it and wanted to do a broadcast. So then we talked to Audite and they said they'd love to release the recording.

How challenging was it to perform/record?

The selection of voices and instruments Prokofiev uses is extraordinary--there's a huge orchestra, an accordion ensemble, a large choir, a military band with extra percussion . …

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