7. Visions Fugitives No. 19, Op. 22. Sergei Prokofiev (Russia, 1915-1917)

The war also resulted in the severe impoverishment of the people of Russia, who were driven, like the Germans, to rise to arms. When the February Revolution exploded in 1917, Sergei Prokofiev was in Petrograd (now Saint Petersburg). The composer wrote in his autobiography that his “Fugitive Vision No. 19” was an attempt to capture the commotion of the streets of Petrograd.

While the February Revolution somehow succeeded in overthrowing the Tsar, a new government wasn’t fully installed until after the Bolshevik Revolution the following October. Ironically, this was possible thanks to the support of the German Kaiser. Wilhelm II was persuaded by Alexander Parvus—a German socialist revolutionary—of the convenience of fostering a socialist revolution in Russia. According to Parvus, this would be the ideal military strategy to safeguard Germany since Russian Bolshevists were pacifists and would not side with the Allied forces as the Tsar did. Convinced by Parvus' words, the Kaiser provided Lenin and his comrades with ten million German marks and a bulletproof wagon that afforded them safe travel from Switzerland to Russia where they eventually led the successful October Revolution.