The third and final volume of Prokofiev's Diaries covers the years 1924 to 1933, when he was living in Paris. Intimate accounts of the successes and disappointments of a great creative artist at the heart of the European arts world between the two world wars jostle with witty and trenchant commentaries on the personalities who made up this world.
The Diaries document the complex emotional inner world of a Russian exile uncomfortably aware of the nature of life in Stalin's Russia yet increasingly persuaded that his creative gifts would never achieve full maturity separated from the culture, people, and land of his birthplace. Since even Prokofiev knew that the USSR was hardly the place to commit inner reflections to paper, the Diaries come to an end after June 1933 although it would be another three years before he, together with his wife and children, finally exchanged the free if materially uncertain life of a cosmopolitan Parisian celebrity for Soviet citizenship and the credo of Socialist Realism within which the regime struggled to straitjacket its artists.
Volume Three continues the kaleidoscopic impressions and the stylish language--Prokofiev was almost as gifted and idiosyncratic a writer as a composer--of its predecessors.
"Prokofiev's Russian prose varies from long, intricate sentences to short, telegraphic bursts, an idiosyncratic style that Anthony Phillips captures beautifully in his English translation. Detailed annotations and an exhaustive index--both absent from the Russian edition--make Phillips's tomes exceptionally user-friendly. Prodigal Son will be of obvious interest to English-speaking Prokofiev aficionados, but the volume is also indispensable reading for anyone interested in the cultural history of interwar Europe and America." --Kevin Bartig, Michigan State University, Notes: Quarterly Journal of the Music Library Association (June 2014) "The remarkable standards of presentation set by the two earlier volumes of Prokofiev's diaries (1907-1914: Prodigious Youth and 1915-1923: Behind the Mask) are maintained here. An acute observer and a gifted writer, Prokofiev had a fascinating life; even without an intentional narrative, the book makes for compelling reading. The current volume and its two predecessors are indispensable for any library with a music collection. Summing Up: Highly recommended."--Choice (1 September 2013) "I have enjoyed reading all three volumes, which carry us from 1907 to 1933. . . . I marked a number of revealing passages--though it is all revealing! Prokofiev's acerbic comments are exemplified in this one about a music critic of the New York Times 'Seven years ago he fell out of an airplane and landed on his head, a circumstance that prompted the largest American newspaper to offer him the job of music critic.'"--Donald Vroon, American Record Guide (July/August 2013) "Lucidly translated and . . . illuminating."--Norman Lebrecht, Wall Street Journal (16-17 March 2013) "Those familiar with Prokofiev's distinctive musical vocabulary--challenging yet accessible, often with a sardonic undertone--will find these traits reflected in his prose. . . . Prokofiev suffered no fools and was never shy about offering frank opinion; readers will delight at his many witty putdowns of his contemporaries and their works. The diaries also strikingly reveal his sincere dedication to Christian Science beliefs and practices. . . . Phillips's extensive annotations are very helpful in identifying the lesser-known figures who populated Prokofiev's world."--Library Journal, starred review (1 February 2013)
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