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I see it associated with Christmas, but nothing specific. To my tin ear, I hear "We wish you a Merrry Christmas and a Happy New Year".
***** The troika (dance) is usually heard at Christmas and scenes involving snow. Here is Andre Previn and The Los Angeles Symphony performing youtu.be/AnT3DxWxeDg
The motif has been used as the primary musical theme in Woody Allen's 1975 film Love and Death. It also forms the basis for Greg Lake's (of EL&P) I Believe in Father Christmas, also covered by U2. Link youtu.be/RXCEdrnaFlY
My first misstep in solving this quiz was looking at the Greek alphabet. Then it dawned on me that the letters were cyrillic. Translating the Russian to English as well as the literal "Poruchik Kizhe" led me to links concerning the 1934 film.
***** Google's translations page has a Russian keyboard, so their alphabet can be entered and translated. Surprising what a piece of paper can do. Kije went from Lieutenant to General. He was married by proxy(away on Military business). The resulting child was listed as his(Military business called and he couldn't be present at the birth). When ordered to report to the Emperor he died[was murdered](reported as having died) so he couldn't report as ordered. A rather interesting story.
***** I've been going to look up "Lt. Kijé" for ages, because I understood that there was something odd about him but I had no idea what! Thanks for straightening me out!
I don't read Russian, but I have a nifty little program that makes it easy to find the Cyrillic characters and place them one by one into a text document. From there it was copy/paste into Google for a quick translation, and I knew immediately that it was Prokofiev, but not the story. Now I'm quite curious, and will have to see if I can find (some version of) the movie. As always, easy or hard, the quiz provides something stimulating to my brain. Thank you!
***** I did my google image, then I had to do some searching on the rest. It was pretty interesting.
***** The romance theme is similar to the hymn tune "God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen".
Maybe it is only to my ear that GOD REST YE comes through.
N. B. Thanks for the link. I can't say that it sounds like God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen to me, but to each his own. - Q. Gen.
***** This is totally a guess as the words don't seem to mean anything about the Nutcracker. I think the picture is a stage with stairs that lead down to the stage. It could be the top of the Nutcracker's hat that forms the stage. If this is not it, I need some additional clues.
***** Great fun! Now I want to listen to Prokofiev, have not listened to any of his music for a long, long time!
Sergei Prokofiev - Troika/Romance (from Lieutenant Kije Suite, Op. 60)
Well, when I looked at the photo, I wondered if the chair was a prop. And the first thing I recognized were the Cyrillic letters so I went to Wikipedia for the Cyrillic alphabet, copied each letter from the quiz photo (title above the chair) and put them through Google Translate. The symbols were translated to “The Lieutenant Kije”.
I did not recognize that so I did a Google search using “The Lieutenant Kije” as keywords. Lots of wonderful articles popped up, including one site with the actual movie! I watched it for a while and, in the opening credits, the chair from the quiz appeared.
I love Prokofiev’s music but was not familiar with this score. I will probably buy it so I can listen to the whole thing!
Another wonderful quiz! Colleen, how do you come up with these?!?
N.B. Google Translate has a virtual keyboard you can use to type in foreign alphabets.
Once you choose the language you need to translate, just click on the small typewriter in the lower left corner of the "Translate from" box. The appropriate keyboard will pop up, allowing you to type using the letters of that language, including accents. Some languages such as Vietnamese and Armenian have more than one popular layout for local keyboards. Google Translate supports multiple keyboards, allowing the user to switch among them using an arrow at the top ofthe on- screen keyboard.
Colleen Fitzpatrick PhD Quizmaster General
1. Lieutenant Kijé doesn't exist. He is the result of a clerical error.
Lieutenant Kijé or Kizhe (Russian: Пору́чик Киже́ translit. Poruchik Kizhe), originally Kizh (Киж), is the protagonist of an anecdote going back to the time of Emperor Paul I of Russia; the story was used as the basis of a novella by Yury Tynyanov published in 1927 and filmed in 1934 with music by Sergei Prokofiev. The plot is a satire on bureaucracy.
The first appearance of the anecdote is in Vladimir Dahl's "Rasskazy o vremenakh Pavla I" ("Stories of the time of Paul I"), a short piece published in the journal Russkaya Starina in 1870; he reported it as told by his father, Jochan Christian von
Dahl (1764-1821). In this original version, a clerk miswrites an order promoting several ensigns (praporshchiki) to second lieutenants (podporuchiki): instead of "praporshchiki zh ... - v podporuchiki" ("as to Ensigns (names), [they are promoted to] Second Lieutenants", he writes "praporshchik Kizh, ... - v podporuchiki" ("Ensigns Kizh, (other names) [are promoted to ] Second Lieutenants". The Emperor Paul decides to promote the nonexistent Kizh to first lieutenant (poruchik); he quickly rises through the ranks to staff captain and full captain, and when he is promoted to colonel the emperor commands that Kizh appear before him. Of course no Kizh can be found; the military bureaucrats go through the paper trail and discover the original mistake, but they decide to tell the emperor that Kizh has died. "What a pity," the emperor says, "he was a good officer."
Yury Tynyanov, who had been researching the period for his historical novels Kyukhlya (1925) and Smert Vazir-mukhtara (The death of the ambassador plenipotentiary, 1928), wrote a novella based on Dahl's story that was published in 1927. He considerably expanded it, adding several characters (including the historical statesman Aleksey Arakcheyev), and changed the imaginary officer's name from Kizh to Kizhe (using an alternate form of the particle, zhe). In his version, along with the imaginary Kizhe there is another mistake: a Lieutenant Sinyukhaev is wrongly marked as dead. Several
sections of the novella are devoted to Sinyukhaev's fruitless attempts to get himself restored (he ends up wandering the roads of Russia, living on the charity of strangers).
Tynyanov further complicates the story by adding a lady-in-waiting who has had a brief affair with an officer who shouts "Guard!" in the courtyard, disturbing the emperor; when the offender cannot be found, the emperor Paul is told that it was Kizhe, who is accordingly flogged and sent to Siberia (the fact that no actual person is there does not seem to bother anyone). This upsets the lady-in-waiting, but when the emperor changes his mind and has Kizhe returned to the capital and promoted, the lady-in-waiting is able to marry him (there is no groom at the ceremony but it proceeds as scheduled, and she has a child from her
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. Additionally, the troika motif is heard as the primary musical theme in Woody Allen's 1975 film Love and Death, which takes place in 19th century Russia…”
brief encounter), and she quite happily lives in his quarters, carrying on affairs, while he is supposedly in the field with his regiment. In the end the emperor, increasinging paranoid and lonely, feels the need to have someone as dependable as Kizhe (who has had a spotless career) near him, promotes him to general, and orders him brought to his palace in Saint Petersburg. Since this is impossible, he is told that Kizhe has died, and the general has a state funeral as the grieving emperor says "Sic transit gloria mundi." The last line of the story reads "And Pavel Petrovich [the emperor Paul] died in March of the same year as General Kizhe — according to official reports, from apoplexy." (In fact, Paul was murdered by a group of dismissed officers.)
The story was made into the film Lieutenant Kijé, directed by Aleksandr Faintsimmer, which is now remembered primarily for its soundtrack, the first instance of Prokofiev's "new simplicity".
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. The music has also been used as the score for a ballet by the Bolshoi Ballet company.
The troika is frequently used in films and documentaries for Christmas scenes and