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Sergey Prokofiev

Sergey Prokofiev Composer

Tales of an Old Grandmother, Op.31

Performances: 13
Tracks: 49
  • Tales of an Old Grandmother, Op.31
    Year: 1918
    Genre: Other Keyboard
    Pr. Instrument: Piano
    • 1.Dance: Moderato
    • 2.Minuet: Andantino
    • 3.Gavotte: Andante assai
    • 4.Waltz: Sostenuto
Tales of an Old Grandmother is sometimes regarded as children's music in the sense that it is a portrait of an old grandmother as would likely be seen through the eyes of a child. Prokofiev was well known for his children's music, of course, but this effort, written in New York during the first year of his self-imposed exile from Russia, is quite nostalgic in mood and a bit more complex than his other children's works. The set is made up of four untitled short pieces and lasts about ten minutes. Most are slow or moderately paced works and feature generally soft dynamics, each opening piano and closing pianissimo. The first piece, marked Moderato, features a playful theme whose lively but unhurried rhythms and numerous arpeggiated chords impart a quaint sense of nostalgia. The second work (Andantino) opens with a dreamy, lightly textured melody heard mostly in upper-register sonorities. In its somewhat mysterious character, it bears a resemblance to some of the more lyrical pieces in the composer's then-recent Visions fugitives. The third piece (Andante assai) is the sternest, calling to mind a grandmother who could be difficult. The mysterious, somewhat ethereal middle section contrasts with the darker march-like theme in the outer sections, but itself eventually turns tense and almost angry. The last work in the set (Sostenuto) shares the nostalgic character of the first, with a lonely theme emerging from somber, march-like chords and a second melody in the upper register that comes on like gradually heavier raindrops to etch out its gossamer theme. This is a fine set of piano works from a master of many musical genres.

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