Sergei Prokofiev's Symphony No. 7 in C-sharp minor, Op. 131, was completed in 1952, the year before his death. It is his last symphony.
|Symphony No. 7|
|by Sergei Prokofiev|
|Duration||31 - 35 min|
|Date||October 11, 1952|
|Location||Trade Union Hall of Columns, Moscow|
|Performers||All-Union Radio Orchestra|
Most of the symphony is emotionally restrained, nostalgic and melancholy in mood, including the ending of the Vivace final movement. However, Prokofiev was later convinced to add an energetic and optimistic coda, so as to win the Stalin Prize of 100,000 rubles. Before he died, Prokofiev indicated that the original quiet ending was to be preferred.
The premiere was well-received, and in 1957, four years after Prokofiev's death, the symphony was awarded the Lenin Prize.
The symphony is in four movements, lasting 30–35 minutes:
The first movement, in sonata form, opens with a melancholic first theme on violins, which contrasts with the warm and lyrical second theme on winds. After a brief development section, the recapitulation of the two themes follows, and the movement ends in a reflective mood with the clock-ticking sounds on glockenspiel and xylophone.
The second movement is an autumnal waltz, reminiscent of Prokofiev's ballet Cinderella, while the third movement is an expressive and singing slow movement.
The finale, in D-flat major (C-sharp major enharmonic), contains an innocent cheerfulness. There is a slowing of pace and the return of the warm wind theme from the first movement, and the symphony ends with the same tinkling sounds from the tuned percussion as the first movement.
The work scores for the following:
Samuil Samosud conducted the premiere performance (Trade Union Hall of Columns, Moscow, All-Union Radio Orchestra, 11 October 1952); he recorded it with the same orchestra, using the original slow ending, in 1953 (reissued in 1957 as "Moscow Radio-TV Orchestra".) The first recording with the new assertive ending was by Eugene Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra, from sessions on 26 April 1953. Nikolai Malko and the Philharmonia Orchestra were the first to record the music in stereo, in 1955. Recordings using the original slow ending are marked by an asterisk.
|Orchestra||Conductor||Record Company||Year of Recording||Format|
|Philadelphia Orchestra||Eugene Ormandy||Columbia||1953 (ML 4683)||LP|
|All-Union Radio Orchestra, USSR||Samuil Samosud*||Melodiya||1953 (issued 1957 as D 01476)||LP|
|Philharmonia Orchestra||Nikolai Malko||EMI||1955||CD|
|Paris Conservatoire Orchestra||Jean Martinon||RCA Victor||1959||LP|
|Moscow Radio Symphony Orchestra||Gennady Rozhdestvensky*||Melodiya||1968||LP|
|London Symphony Orchestra||Walter Weller||Decca||1974||LP/CD|
|Czech Philharmonic Orchestra||Zdeněk Košler||Supraphon||1977||LP|
|Scottish National Orchestra||Neeme Järvi||Chandos||1986||CD|
|Orchestre National de France||Mstislav Rostropovich*||Erato||1988||CD|
|Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra||Seiji Ozawa*||Deutsche Grammophon||1989||CD|
|Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra||André Previn||Philips||1989||CD|
|Cleveland Orchestra||Vladimir Ashkenazy*||Decca||1995||CD|
|National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine||Theodore Kuchar||Naxos||1994||CD|
|London Symphony Orchestra||Valery Gergiev*||Philips||2004||CD|
|Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra||Andrew Litton||BIS||2016||CD|
|Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra||James Gaffigan||Northstar Recordings||2016||SACD|
|National Orchestra of the O.R.T.F.||Jean Martinon||Vox/Turnabout||1974||LP/CD|
|USSR Ministry of Culture State Symphony Orchestra||Gennady Rozhdestvensky||LP/CD|