Prokofiev – A Summer Day, Op. 65

by Max Derrickson

Sergei Prokofiev      (b Sontskova, Ukraine, April 27, 1891; Moscow,Russia, March 5, 1953)

A Summer Day Op. 65
I.      Morning
II.    Tip and Run
III.   Waltz
IV.   Repentance (also translated as “Regrets”)
V.    March
VI.   Evening
VII. Moon Over the Meadow

[. . .]
The orchestral suite, Summer Day, of seven of the twelve piano pieces soon followed, as did the more famous Peter and the Wolf.  What makes Summer Day so charming and resplendent is that rather than attempting to musically describe a morning, a game of tip and run, or the moon over the meadow, Prokofiev it seems tried to emote what it feels like to be a child during those moments.  The melodies are simple and fresh, the orchestration clever and sparse – there’s nothing complicated in these pieces with their necessary innocence.  For example,
[. . .]
if you’ve watched a little child try ballet, you will see a most impassioned, exaggerated and un-artful set of movements, and yet they melt your heart with their gleeful intent.  In Prokofiev’s Waltz (movement III), you can hear the stretching of the toes to the finger tips, the occasional loss of concentration, the strident desire to be graceful at all costs.
[. . .]
Each piece is a marvel of expression for its purpose, deliciously gentle and humorous.