Sergey Prokofiev: Diaries 1907-1914

Sergei Prokofiev
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ISBN 9780571226290 Format Hardback
Published 02/11/2006 Length 864 pages

About Book

Prokofiev, a compulsive diarist, gifted and idiosyncratic writer, possessed an incorrigibly sardonic curiosity about individuals and events. When he left Russia following the 1917 Revolution, his diaries were recovered from the family flat in Petrograd and later hidden (at considerable personal risk by Myaskovsky). Prokofiev himself smuggled them out of the country after his first return to the Soviet Union in 1927. The later diaries, written in the West, were brought back by legal decree after the composer's death, to be kept in a special, inaccessible section of the Russian State Archive. Eventually Prokofiev's son Sviatoslav was allowed to transcribe the voluminous contents; when he and his son Sergei eventually emigrated to Paris they undertook the gigantic task of reproducing the partially encoded manuscript in an intelligible form.

Volume 1 covers the bulk of the Prokofiev's years at the St. Petersburg Conservatoire ending with his triumphant graduation. Simultaneously attached to and exasperated by the traditions exemplified at this time by such famous men as Rimsky-Korsakov, Glazunov, Lyadov, Tcherepnin, the relentlessly brash young genius relishes the power of his talent to irritate, challenge and finally overcome the establishment, alongside unusually candid revelations of the all-too-normal preoccupations of a young man flexing his muscles in society.

Taken as a whole, the Diaries represent an inexhaustibly rich portrait of one of the most vibrant periods in the whole of Western art, peopled by virtually every musician and artist of note. They constitute both an indispensable and an entertaining source of reference for all scholars and lovers of Prokofiev's music.

  • About Sergei Prokofiev

    Sergey Prokofiev (1891-1953) returned to his native Russia in 1933, having established himself as one of the leading 20th century composer-pianists. His works include the ballet Romeo and Juliet and the music for Eisenstein's film Alexander Nevsky, and he remains one of the most performed and popular composers world-wide.

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  • Edited By: Anthony Phillips

    Anthony Phillips learnt Russian in the 'Secret Classrooms' of National Service in the 1950s and later at Oxford. The language continued to play an important part during his later career in music administration, during which he became general manager of London's Royal Festival Hall. Story of a Friendship, his translation of Shostakovich's letters to Isaak Glikman, was published by Faber in 2000, and Anton Chekhov: A Life in Letters (with Rosamund Bartlett) by Penguin Classics in 2004.

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