Woody Allen, Love and Death and Lieutenant Kijé

Often I hear a piece of music that captures my attention and brings great pleasure. A recent example is a short orchestral work “Troika” by Sergei Prokofiev. It is part of a larger work called Lieutenant Kijé which tells the story of a fictitious soldier.

Woody Allen used this music and other music of Prokofiev in his 1975 film Love and Death. This film is set in 19th century Russia and is a satirical take on Russian epic novels.

Please watch the ending of the film and go to the 3:50 time in the fim to hear the music I am writing about. Listen for the sleigh bells!

The Wikipedia article has a good summary of the “plot” of the music.  Woody Allen’s character of the cowardly soldier in the film has many parallels with Kije, so the music was a good choice.

The Troika movement is a sleigh ridea and as mentioned in the Wikipedia article, is often used in films and documentaries for Christmas scenes and scenes involving snow.

I realised that I had already heard the melody in Greg Lake’s song “I Believe in Father Christmas”. Lake was part of the progressive rock group Emerson, Lake and Palmer. Here is a recording of Lake performing the song with Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull on the flute.

The Wikipedia article also told me that Sting used part of Kije’s melody in his song “Russians” from his album The Dream of the Blue Turtle

And just for fun, I purchased a piano arrangement of Troika from the MusicNotes digital music sheetmusic. Prokofiev’s music is not in the Public Domain.

Watch the trailer of Love and Death and hear more music of Prokofiev.

Listen to another recording played by the London Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Klaus Tennstedt (no video)

Read about Prokofiev on Wikipedia.

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1 thought on “Woody Allen, Love and Death and Lieutenant Kijé”

  1. And…the first time I heard it was on the Erie Kovacs Show (as a kid). Lt. Kiji was the sound track to a short film about the journey of a drop of water.

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