As it turned out, the composer Sergei Sergeevich Prokofiev and I became close friends. We didn’t have any sort of a romance; he simply treated me very cordially, which I valued enormously, since I was a great admirer of his music.

Prague, January 1938. Prokofiev with Berthe Malko.
Photograph courtesy of Malcolm Brown.


   At the conservatory in Kharkov, where I studied piano, all of us were captivated by his music and tried composing works for the piano – even I tried, though I wasn’t actually in the composition class, just friends with the theorists and conductors.