This sequence is based on a melody from the Troika movement of Sergei Prokofiev‘s Lieutenant Kijé suite.
Lieutenant Kijé Suite
After about 20 years of silent films being accompanied by live music, usually pump organs, well known composers started to look to film scoring as another source of commissions.
Sergei Prokofiev had been living in Paris far almost a decade, and decided took a film score commission to feel more connected to his homeland of Russia. That film was Lieutenant Kijé.
The silly plot that centers around a fictitious officer Lieutenant Kijé, who is created with an errant stroke of a pen and goes on to be exiled, pardoned, married, granted lands, dies, and is demoted for stealing….all in the course of one movie.
This wild plot gives Prokofiev ample room to be creative, and the resulting score and suite are some of his best known music.
Once Upon a Christmas
I was first introduced this music by a Christmas-themed ballet production in my hometown of Walnut Creek.
The Ballet School has been presenting “Once Upon A Christmas” since 1977. My sister grew up in the ballet school and now teaches there, so supporting her holiday show became a family tradition for my family.
Prokofiev’s Troika is the music being played during the scene when Santa Claus is first introduced, which happens to be a very important scene to a present-loving little kid. The music is fitting for the moment because a Troika is a Russian vehicle that is pulled by three horses as well as a dance for three people. Perfect music for everyone’s favorite sleigh riding gift giver.
Play this melody with as much holiday cheer as you can muster. The melody is played both fast and slow, so take a tempo where you sound your best. Lastly, account for each of the many articulation markings with the grace of a prima ballerina.
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