Serge Prokofiev. Moscow, 1927.


When I appeared, the orchestra played a fanfare, then they all stood up and applauded. There was a colossal ovation from the audience and the orchestra, which went on forever. I stood up for a long time, bowed in all directions and didn't know what to do. I sat down but the applause went on. I stood up again, again bowed and again didn't know what to do. I hadn't been in Moscow for ten years, I wanted to concentrate in order to play properly and these emotions were not conducive to concentration. In the end I got bored and sat down decisively. Zeitlin, whose stand was immediately behind me, whispered that we needed to sit quietly for a couple of minutes so that all of us- orchestra, audience and myself could get back to normal. I tried not to look at anyone and fiddled about with the piano. Three minutes or so later, we start.
   I play nervously, but quite well. There's only one incident: I got mixed up in the third variation. I don't remember what it was, but in any case it was not important and we were immediately on course again. At the end of the concerto the house went wild. Of course, I haven't had such a success anywhere else. I kept on taking bows. For an encore I first played the Gavotte from the Classical Symphony, then the Toccata. Both numbers went well. I finally retire to the artists' room; the orchestra plays the Oranges suite. The March is encored as usual and at the end there is more applause and I take a bow several times.
(Diary, 1927)

Serge Prokofiev and Lev Zeitlin.
Moscow. 1927.


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