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Stephen Press

Prokofiev's Ballets for Diaghilev
 


Martyn Harrison

Suggestion Diabolique

Stephen Press’s book, Prokofiev’s Ballets for Diaghilev, focuses on these two influential figures of the early twentieth century and their relationship before and after World War I. Sustaining a musical career through performances and compositions relies heavily on making connections with other members of the artistic community. The young Serge Prokofiev was impressed with the relationship between Serge Diaghilev and his compatriot Igor Stravinsky and their successes with the Ballets Russes; Prokofiev wanted to make the most of a similar contact. Stephen Press brings together many sources into one history to reveal the details of the relationship between Prokofiev and Diaghilev, their connections and meetings, and the compositions and their performances, all of which helped Prokofiev to develop as a composer, musician, and person.

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Professor Lynton Hicks has a secret with which he is preparing to stun and outrage the world of Prokofiev scholarship. As a (very) young man he travelled to the Prokofiev dacha at Nikolina Gora where he was the last person to interview the ailing composer. That was 1953. Not permitted at Prokofiev’s own instruction to reveal the contents of his interview for 50 years, Hicks is on his way to the 2003 Manchester Symposium, having allowed word to get around that his advertised paper on the piano sonatas is merely the cloak for a revelation.

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