The Knight of the Ice Fields
Thursday, 25 November 2021
From 7:30 pmuntil approximately 9:20 pm
Müpa – Béla Bartók National Concert Hall,
HUF 2,500, HUF 3,500, HUF 4,000, HUF 4,500, HUF 5,500
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The Knight of the Ice Fields

Kobayashi season ticket / 1

Dmitri Shostakovich: Symphony No. 5 in D minor, op. 47
Sergei Prokofiev: Alexander Nevsky – cantata, op. 78

Atala Schöck alto

Hungarian National Choir (choirmaster: Csaba Somos)
Hungarian National Philharmonic Orchestra

Conductor: Alexander Sladkovsky


Two 20th century Russian contemporaries, both of whom suffered under the Soviet system and were time and again victims of the ‘cultural policy’ of the dictatorship. Prokofiev, who had returned to his homeland from the West in the hope of recognition, originally composed this work as the soundtrack for Eisenstein’s film The Knight of the Ice Fields.Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5 is one of his most important orchestral works. As he directs these two compositions, the concert’s Russian-Tatar conductor will be moving in his most familiar field.


The two works are representative of the same period in time: Prokofiev wrote the Alexander Nevsky cantata in 1938/39, Shostakovich his Symphony No. 5 in 1937. When creating the seven-movement cantata, Prokofiev preserved the pathos, rich sound and expansive gestures of the soundtrack of the film that illustrated the historical clash. In this work, the often angular, ironic and sarcastic Prokofiev produces a powerful Slavic voice with folk-nationalistic elements, to the extent that you often have the feeling the stylistic roots of the work reach as far back as Modest Mussorgsky in the realms of the Russian past. Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5 was one of the composer’s truly great successes, though this remarkably evocative and powerful work was received one way by the general public, and quite another way by official critics, who tended to think more in terms of political rhetoric. At the premier in Leningrad, the audience responded with half an hour of applause (many wept during the Largo movement). While the audience interpreted the piece as a cry of woe from the victims of Stalin’s terror , state analysts saw this symphonic Bildungsroman as “the character development of Soviet man”. The conductor for the concert is the 55-year-old Alexander Sladkovsky, who was born in Taganrog and is the artistic director for the Tatarstan National Symphony Orchestra.


“Dear Friends!

I am extremely happy to greet all classical music lovers ahead of »The Knight of the Ice Fields« concert with the Hungarian National Philharmonic. It gives me such a great pleasure to perform together with one of the best orchestras, in Budapest which is the centre of music life of Hungary and a marvellous European capital. It will be a special honour for me to share the stage with such professionals.
It will also be symbolic to conduct the orchestra in the performance of works by two outstanding Russian composers, the titans of the classical music of the past century: Sergei Prokofiev and Dmitri Shostakovich.

 The name of maestro Shostakovich has a large significance also for the Tatarstan National Symphony Orchestra, which I have been directing during almost twelve years as Dmitri Shostakovich played a crucial role in its founding in 1966, while in 2017 we recorded all of Shostakovich’s symphonies and concertos paying thus tribute to the great composer. 

Performing the works of Prokofiev and Shostakovich fills me with pride and elation every time. I am looking forward to our concert in Budapest! During these uneasy times that we all have been through over the last year the higher and magical power of academic music proves to be more vital than ever before. I wish inspiration to all participants of the concert and unforgettable emotions to the spectators.” 

Alexander Sladkovsky