The Friendship between Serge Prokofiev and Robert SoŽtens
(Yumiko Nunokawa with Shin-ichi Numabe)
The Path to Originality in Prokofiev’s Early Piano Works
Prokofiev’s 1938-1939 Autobiographical Statement for the Committee on Arts Affairs
(Translated and annotated by Laurel E. Fay)
Lina Prokofiev: Forsaken Photographs (Compiled with an introduction by Serge Prokofieff Jr.)
Miralda G. Kozlova (1928-2012)
Zora ŠemberovŠ (1913-2012)
Prokofiev Piano Sonatas Nos. 1-5 as interpreted by Alexandra Silocea, and Piano Sonata No. 6 as interpreted by Behzod Abduraimov
Betrothal in a Monastery in Tokyo and Edinburgh (Yumiko Nunokawa and Shin-ichi Numabe)
Prokofiev’s friendship with the violinist Robert SoŽtens yielded, quite by chance, the Second Violin Concerto of 1935, a beloved score that is at once central to the repertoire and the first large-scale example of Prokofiev’s “new simplicity.” The origins of the concerto and the collaboration between composer and violinist have hitherto been unknown—not to mention the details of their extended European tour with the concerto and eventual end of their relationship. Using materials at the Prokofiev Archive at Goldsmiths, the Russian State Archive of Literature and Art and, crucially, the Prokofiev Estate in Paris, Yumiko Nunokawa and Shin-ichi Numabe produce an inspired piece of detective work, polyglot in sourcing and context. It also an overdue tribute to a violinist who, irrespective of his service to Prokofiev, Maurice Ravel, Albert Roussel and numerous other composers, receives short shrift in the annals of music history.
This issue also includes an annotated translation of Prokofiev’s 1938–39 curriculum vitae, which he evidently submitted to the Committee on Arts Affairs in Moscow for the purpose of obtaining permission to travel abroad. As Laurel E. Fay comments in her introduction to the translation, permission was never granted; upon returning to Moscow from Los Angeles in the early spring of 1938, Prokofiev, his wife Lina, and their two children were deemed ineligible for foreign travel, effectively becoming captives of the Stalinist regime.
Serge Prokofiev Jr. curates several unknown photographs of Lina Prokofiev preserved in the Prokofiev Estate. (These were submitted for, but ultimately not included in, my forthcoming biography of Lina Prokofiev with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.) The issue concludes with four reviews and two memorial tributes. The Prokofiev Foundation and Estate mourns the passing of Miralda G. Kozlova, a prolific Prokofiev scholar who oversaw the preservation of his manuscripts at the Russian State Archive of Literature and Art, as well as the death of the first Juliet: the eminent Czech ballerina Zora ŠemberovŠ, five months shy of her 100th birthday. Prokofiev never saw her dance, having been denied permission to travel to Brno at the end of 1938 to see the premiere of Romeo and Juliet. Just before her death, Zora took in a performance of the ballet in her adopted city of Adelaide, Australia. Though almost completely deaf, she informed her long-time friend and caregiver Alan Brissenden that she could still hear the music in her head.