International tensions were high in 1938 when Sergei Prokofiev composed a musical score for Sergei Eisenstein’s landmark film Alexander Nevsky. The film tells the story of St. Alexander Nevsky, the Medieval Russian general who led Russian troops against an invasion of German crusaders in 1242. In a classic example of “socialist realism”, Josef Stalin commissioned Eisenstein to create a film that would warn the Russian people of aggression from their then-contemporary enemy – Nazi Germany. What resulted was one of the most celebrated Russian films of all time accompanied by a score that has lasted as one of Prokofiev’s greatest works. Prokofiev would later re-work his movie score into a cantata for chorus, mezzo-soprano soloist and orchestra, and this selection is from that arrangement. In the scene we just heard, the invading Germans force their way into the city of Pskov and strike fear in the hearts of the Russian peasants who live there.