Lieutenant Kijé (Prokofiev)
Suite from Lieutenant Kijé
Sergei Prokofiev composed music to the film Lieutenant Kijé in 1933, and compiled a suite from it as his Op. 60. It exists in two versions, one using a baritone voice and the other using a saxophone. With the help of Prokofiev's friend Boris Gusman, the music was developed as the score for a ballet by the Bolshoi Ballet company.
The Troika movement is frequently used in films and documentaries for Christmas scenes and scenes involving snow. This motif from the suite was also used in the song "I Believe In Father Christmas" by the English rock musician Greg Lake (which was subsequently covered by U2), as well as Helen Love's Christmas single "Happiest Time of the Year". The pop group The Free Design used the motif as the basis for the song "Kije's Ouija", which appears on their 1970 album Stars/Time/Bubbles/Love. The troika motif was used as the primary musical theme in Woody Allen's 1975 film Love and Death, which takes place in 19th century Russia. In addition, the theme for the Romance movement appears in the synthesizer solo in the song by the pop artist Sting called Russians released in 1985.
The suite, in five movements broadly follows the plot of the movie:
- Kijé's Birth. A clerk, while writing out the morning orders for his Imperial majesty Tsar Paul, miscopies two words, creating a Lieutenant "Kijé". The Tsar learns of his "existence", and issues numerous orders concerning him. The palace administrators have no choice but to carry them out.
- Romance. The fictional lieutenant falls in love.
- Kijé's Wedding. Since the Tsar prefers his heroic soldiers to be married, the administrators concoct a fake wedding.
- Kijé's Burial. The administrators finally rid themselves of the non-existent lieutenant by saying he has died.
According to the score, the duration of the suite is 18 minutes.
Baritone voice (sometimes performed as tenor saxophone).
2 flutes, piccolo, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, tenor saxophone (sometimes performed on bassoon), 2 bassoons, 4 horns, 2 trumpets, cornet, 3 trombones, tuba, 3 percussionists (cymbals, little bells, triangle, bass drum, snare drum, tambourine), harp, piano or/and celeste, and strings.
- Chicago Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Claudio Abbado in February 1977, with Adolph Herseth as solo trumpet, reproduced on CD by Deutsche Grammophon in 1995.
- Chicago Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Fritz Reiner.
- Boston Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Erich Leinsdorf with David Clatworthy, Baritone.
- Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Seiji Ozawa.
- The Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Antal Doráti.
- London Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Sir Neville Marriner.
- Orchestre National de France, conducted by Lorin Maazel, 1981, reproduced on CD by CBS Records Masterworks for their Digital Masters collection, 1988.
- Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, conducted by Leonard Slatkin in 1977, with Arnold Voketaitis, Bass, reproduced on CD on Vox CDX 5021 (rendered as "Lieutenant Kizheh")
- London Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Klaus Tennstedt.
Uses in other media
- The original film Lieutenant Kizhe for which Prokofiev's music was written, with English subtitles, at Google Video.
- The 1958 British film The Horse's Mouth, directed by Ronald Neame from the novel by Joyce Cary, uses the suite for its soundtrack.
- The suite is used in the 1975 Woody Allen film Love and Death.
- The melody for Kijé's Wedding is used in the 1988 film Crossing Delancey.
- Vladimir Cosma quotes nearly untouched melody from The Birth of Kijé in the theme Remembering the Hills from his score to Yves Robert's 1990 film La Gloire de mon père.
- Part of the Wedding movement is used in the 1991 film Doc Hollywood directed by Michael Caton-Jones and starring Michael J. Fox.
This music was used for two ballets.
- Michel Fokine created a ballet Russian soldier – American Ballet Theatre, 1942
- Aleksandr Lapauri and Olga Tarasova created a ballet Lieutenant Kijé (ru: «Подпоручик Киже») – Bolshoi Theatre, 1963. The ballet was filmed in 1969; see the movie.
- The Free Design jazzed up and added lyrics to the Troika theme in their song "Kijé's Ouija".
- A part of the Troika movement is used in the 1974 song "I Believe in Father Christmas" by Greg Lake, which was subsequently covered by U2 in 2008.
- Danny Elfman used an excerpt from the Troika theme for the Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo song "The Rocketmen".
- The melody from the Troika was quoted in "Russia" by Black Tape for a Blue Girl on their album As One Aflame Laid Bare by Desire.
- Wii Music uses the Troika as one of its many songs.
- The Simpsons uses the Troika in the episode "Pranks and Greens".
- General Public incorporated the Troika into the instrumental section of their live version of The English Beat's "Save It For Later", which was recorded during the holiday season.
- Bill Finegan wrote an arrangement of the Troika for his jazz group, Sauter-Finegan Orchestra, under the name "Midnight Sleighride".
- Arranged by Sherrie Maricle. For percussion ensemble (12 Players). Percussion Large. Grade 5. Published by Kendor Music Inc (KN.20245).
- Troika featured on the 1984 Album "Cadmium" by British band Sky and was released as a single.
- Danny Elfman used the broken chords and celesta from this movement to define the end credits for the score to the 1994 film Black Beauty. Much of his score for Black Beauty is a theme with variations on Prokofiev's "Romance".
- Sting used the melody from the Romance of Lieutenant Kijé in the chorus of his 1985 song "Russians".
- Blood Sweat & Tears used the melody from the Romance as one of several themes from other works woven into their arrangement of the song "40,000 Headmen", on the album Blood, Sweat & Tears 3.
- Hard Creation used a short extract of the melody, which is repeated several times in their sinister hardcore track I Will Have That Power.
- Liner notes to 3-LP set Vox 3-VCL 9004X: Prokofiev: Music from the Films Ivan the Terrible, Alexander Nevsky, Lieutenant Kizheh: "For one reason or another, the French spelling of the title character's name - Kijé - has persisted in almost universal usage, causing a good deal of confusion as to the proper pronunciation. This is most regrettable, for the pronunciation of this name, rendered phonetically for Anglophones as Kizheh (with the emphasis on the second syllable) is essential to the story. It is in fact the very basis of the plot ... [Kizheh's] career, such as it was, came about in a misinterpretation of a report presented to Tsar Nicholas I, about 1830, in which the Tsar took the words "parootchiki, zheh" ("the lieutenants, however" - the Russian word zheh, roughly equivalent to the German doch, having no real equivalent in English) for "Parootchik Kizheh" (Lieutenant Kizheh"). The Tsar remarks on the unusual name and asks to see that officer's dossier; since no one dares tell the Tsar he has made a mistake, the lieutenant thus created must be provided with a curriculum vitae and his file must be closed as quickly and as neatly as possible."
- Available on Google video
- Hawkes Pocket Score № 663
- MIDI for Troika
- Kevin Bartig Creating the Lieutenant Kijé Suite. Discussion of relation between Prokofiev's film score and the suite
- Video - Lieutenant Kije Ballet (04:56).