On December 11, composer Sergei Prokofiev conducts the US Premiere of his First Symphony, the “Classical,” with the Russian Symphony Society of New York.
Conservative American critics were startled by the bracing modernism of Prokofiev’s music. Henry Krehbiel of the New York Tribune called his compositions “simply perverse,” and Musical America quipped, "Prokofiev's mission in life would seem to be to make two dissonances grow where only one grew before."
Yet, when Prokofiev set out in 1916 to write a 20th-century symphony using the Classicism of Haydn as his model, he “secretly hoped that in the course of time it might itself turn out to be a classic.” And, critical assaults notwithstanding, the piece did in fact become a classic, and today stands as one of the most frequently performed and recorded 20th-century works.
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