This disc contains two works that have been newly recorded. And they are strange works indeed. During the late 1930s Prokofiev wrote three pieces based on works of Pushkin – incidental music for a production of Pushkin's play, Boris Godunov; incidental music for a stage production of his Eugene Onegin; and music for The Queen of Spades. The latter was never finished and never produced, largely because of a change in attitudes from Stalin's government about what art works should focus on. As for the 1950 oratorio 'On Guard for Peace', the less said the better. This is one of those god-awful patriotic oratorios that Stalin's apparatchiks ordered by the yard from the country's composers. This one extols Stalin and the Soviet state, and recalls the sacrifices of WWII. History notes and lyrics in Russian and English can be found in the booklet.
The Bang on a Can All-Stars emerged from the scruffy environs of downtown New York playing a new kind of music, with a new kind of energy, for a new kind of audience.
As the title suggests, Ultravox were in a gray mood as they launched into their seventh studio LP, their previous existential angst now pooling around personal anguish. The album's title track was a study in languorous melancholy, where the emotional pain lingered on and on. And why would it ever dissipate, when romance is forever doomed, as "When the Time Comes" exquisitely illustrated? Even "One Small Day," the most musically celebratory song on the set, battles depression but dismally loses the war. No wonder Ultravox were so keen to escape far into the past, with "Man of Two Worlds" taking them back to the gloriously romanticized days of the Celts. The modern world, in contrast, was filled with terrors, both emotional ("A Friend I Call Desire") and global. There was the omnipresent yellow peril to fear; but if "White China" warned of the dangers of creeping communism, the nation sworn to protect its citizens from a Stalinistic embrace proves just as nefarious on "Heart of the Country".