The Battle on the Ice

Episode Air Date: April 18, 2016
Artist: Sergei Prokofiev
Recording Title: The Battle on the Ice

The film Aleksandr Nevsky is a recounting of a 13th century prince’s rise to national hero-dom. But parallels to the storyline echoed through the USSR in the 1930’s.

The 1938 film involved a couple of Sergeis, director Eisenstein and composer Prokofiev. You’re listening to the 5th movement, and climax of the film, the Battle on the Ice. Teutonic invaders threaten the Soviet motherland, prompting leaders to consider a treaty. When battle is seen as the only option, Aleksandr leads forces against the invaders. In a cunning move, he lures the enemy onto a frozen lake where the sheer weight of the army cracks the ice, sending them to their deaths.

Fast forward 7 centuries, with Soviet and German forces nearing the brink of war. Only a few months after the film’s completion, Stalin signed a non-aggression pact of his own with Germany, and the film was promptly banned. But in 1941, German forces invaded the Soviet Union, and Aleksandr Nevsky’s popularity, and patriotic importance, was reborn.

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