Lina’s Childhood (Simon MORRISON)
What’s an awful song like you doing in a nice piece like this?
The finale in Prokofiev’s
The Twentieth Century of Lina Prokofiev
The Giant and Other Creatures:
Prokofiev’s Childhood Compositions
(Christina K. GUILLAUMIER)
The Wood Book: New Horizons
Wind band arrangements of American Overture and Peter and the Wolf
This issue of Three Oranges celebrates the continuing work of NoŽlle Mann, the journal’s beloved founder. NoŽlle commissioned two of the articles and encouraged two others; she also planned the entire issue with me, which has no featured subject—except perhaps endings and beginnings. The essay by Richard Taruskin concerns Prokofiev’s late Symphony-Concerto; his earliest pieces for piano and stage are Christina Guillaumier’s subject. Valentina Chemberdji’s contribution recalls her encounters with Prokofiev’s first wife Lina Codina in Moscow in the 1960s and 1970s, while my own traces Lina’s childhood in New York City.
NoŽlle’s work will be reflected in these pages far into the future, and will always inspire the activities of the Serge Prokofiev Foundation and its archive. Like the composer to whom she dedicated so much of her career, she was not inclined to sentiment. I trust that her guiding spirit will forgive all of us here at the journal for missing her so much.
Her husband, Christopher Mann, provides the following details about her life and work.
NoŽlle Mann was born in St. EstŤve, just outside Perpignan in southwestern France, on 11 July 1946. She spent her first eleven years living with her parents in Fez, Morocco, where her father taught, before returning to Perpignan at the outbreak of unrest in Morocco. At 13 years old, she persuaded her parents, who did not have musical training, to permit her to leave school to study piano full time. By age 17 she was Premier Prix du Piano from the Perpignan Conservatoire and had won a place at the Paris Conservatoire, though a slipped disc prevented her from enrolling.
After passing her Baccalaurťat with distinction, she matriculated at Montpellier University, but interrupted her studies to follow her first husband, whom she married in 1966, to the Ivory Coast, where he was doing his National Service. Divorced in 1969, she taught at the Institut Nationale des Arts in Abidjan. In a brief visit to Paris to solicit funding for ethnomusicological research, she met her future husband, Christopher, and decided to remain in France, moving back to Perpignan with him to prepare for the competitive exam to become a piano teacher in the Conservatoire system. This plan was frustrated by tendinitis. She did some adjunct teaching in the region in 1971, but a year later went with her husband to England, where they married and where she pursued a degree in French at Goldsmiths College. After a spell in Switzerland where her husband had been seconded and where she recovered from tuberculosis, she switched to Music at Goldsmiths, graduating with a First and the Barnard and Hails Prize (for best final examination presentation) in 1990. She was thereafter appointed part-time lecturer at the College. Her research focused on the znamenny chant traditions of the Russian Orthodox Church as well as the links between French and Russian Romances.
With French, English and some Russian in addition to her teaching and performing experience, she was the ideal choice for the Serge Prokofiev Foundation when in 1994, eleven years after its creation, it sought to open a working archive, the most important collections being the composer’s correspondence in the 1920s, the extant papers of his widow Lina, and the manuscript of the opera Love for Three Oranges. NoŽlle became the archive’s curator, manager, and—at the start—sole staff member, painstakingly building up the holdings, which were located first on a single floor of a residential house near the college before becoming a division of the College library. As a lecturer at Goldsmiths, she also established a Centre for Russian Music, facilitating the development of curricula, the appointment of part- and full-time instructors, and the acquisition of important collections of music by Dmitri Shostakovich and Alfred Schnittke. In 2001 she launched Three Oranges, a bi-annual journal dedicated to Prokofiev studies. She served as editor until her death, working in tandem with the composer’s grandson, Serge Prokofieff Jr., on its development into a peer-reviewed publication, to which 31 libraries now subscribe internationally. Following her retirement from the archive in 2006, she became the Chair of the Serge Prokofiev Foundation. In 2008 she was accorded the status of Fellow at Goldsmiths.
NoŽlle became a leading expert outside Russia on the life and music of Prokofiev as well as a tireless advocate for the performance and preservation of his oeuvre. She inspired and oversaw several world premiŤre stagings and concerts, award-winning recordings, annual conferences, and publications. In 2003 she organised an international symposium dedicated to the fiftieth anniversary of Prokofiev’s death while also championing the publication, by the Prokofiev Estate, of the composer’s 1907-33 diaries. Her edition of the 1924 ballet TrapŤze, which she restored from manuscript in 2002, earned international acclaim.
Broader interests in the Russian repertoire led NoŽlle to found the Kalina Choir in 1993, the first British choir devoted to Russian choral traditions. At the time of her death she was preparing an anthology of Russian sacred music, forthcoming from Oxford University Press. She also initiated a much-needed catalogue raisonnť of Prokofiev’s output, to include detailed descriptions of the Prokofiev holdings in Russia, France, England, and the United States, and she had begun an article on Prokofiev’s orchestration of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s “The Nightingale and the Rose”. Prior to succumbing to cancer on 23 April 2010, she took crucial steps to ensure that these and other projects would be continued.
She leaves behind her husband, their two children, and three grandchildren.
Simon Morrison, on behalf of Christopher Mann