Prokofiev's opera Love for Three Oranges is one of the easiest to enjoy 20th century operas because it is about having fun with conventions. It is against everything large, pompous and grandiose--against German romanticism especially! I didn't find it easy to run down a good complete version on YouTube that would play without glitches, but here is your best bet. This is part 1 of 13:
This is a complete version but lacks both the staging and subtitles:
Love for Three Oranges was written in 1919 and first performed in 1921. A completely different kind of music by Prokofiev is his Piano Sonata No. 7, the second of his three "War Sonatas" (so-called because they were written during the Second World War). Though forced to write music celebrating Stalin, Prokofiev was in torment because his good friend, the theater director Vsevolod Meyerhold that I mentioned above in connection with the opera, was a victim of one of Stalin's purges. In June 1939, just as he was about to start rehearsing a new opera by Prokofiev, Meyerhold was arrested by the secret police. He was shot in February 1940. Soon after, Prokofiev started composing the three "War Sonatas". The second was written in 1942 and premiered in 1943. Here is the first movement with the score:
Even though the title claims this to be in B flat major, the only place you actually feel that might be the case is the last couple of measures where suddenly something like a cadence appears.
I think I will end this trio of posts on Prokofiev here. There is certainly a lot to Prokofiev. He is undoubtedly a skilled and significant composer. His contributions to the opera and ballet are important and lasting. About his instrumental music I am less won over as, with the exception of the piano concertos, I don't hear the kind of depth in his symphonies and sonatas that I do in a composer like Shostakovich. I hear an often brilliant surface, but don't sense the depths there seem to be in some other composers. I could be missing something, of course, just not hearing some things, but at the moment I don't feel that.
Anyone have any thoughts?