The People's Artist
Prokofiev's Soviet YearsBook - 2009
Sergey Prokofiev was one of the twentieth century's greatest composers--and one of its greatest mysteries. In 1918, he escaped a Russia engulfed in revolution, eventually settling in Paris. Then, in 1936, he surprisingly returned to the increasingly brutal Soviet Union. There he seemed todisappear, the details of his life and work filtered by a security apparatus that kept Prokofiev--and his legacy--under careful guard.Until now. In The People's Artist, Simon Morrison draws on groundbreaking research to illuminate the life of this major composer, offering profound new insight into the master's work. Morrison was the first scholar to gain access to the composer's sealed files in the Russian State Archives, where heuncovered a wealth of previously unknown scores, unexpurgated speeches and writings, correspondence, and unopened journals and diaries. The story he found in these hoarded documents is one of lofty hopes and disillusionment, of personal and creative upheavals. Prokofiev seemed to thrive onuncertainty during his Paris years, stashing scores in suitcases and drafting librettos and scenarios on hotel letterhead. He stunned his fellow emigres by returning at a time when the All-Union Committee on Arts Affairs took command of all musical activities. At first, Stalin's regime treated himas a celebrity, but Morrison details how the bureaucratic machine ground him down with corrections and censorship (forcing rewrites of such major works as Romeo and Juliet and War and Peace), until it finally censured him in 1948, ending his career and breaking his health. Along the way, the authordeftly analyzes Prokofiev's music in light of these archival discoveries.In The People's Artist, Morrison combines truly groundbreaking research with astute musical analysis to create a stark new image of a great composer.
Publisher: New York : Oxford University Press, c2009
Call Number: 780.2 P943mo2
Characteristics: ix, 491 p.,  p. of plates : ill., ports. ; 24 cm
Alternative Title: Prokofiev's Soviet years