Simon Heffer

Spare-Time Soviet

Prokofiev: From Russia To The West 1891-1935


Yale University Press 390pp £25 order from our bookshop

IT IS EXACTLY fifty years since the death of Sergei Prokofiev. Even to many who have an interest in music, he remains an enigmatic figure. Seldom does so big a proportion of the oeuvre of so gifted a composer remain so largely unperformed, and indeed unknown. Although Jarvi’s impressive cycle of his symphonies over a decade ago restored some of the composer’s prominence and standing, we still know him best for the tip of his iceberg. The Classical symphony, Romeo andJuliet, Lieutenant Kijk, Peter and the Wolf and The Love for Three Oranges are staples of the modern repertoire; most of the rest, not least Prokofiev’s prodigious work for the stage, languishes. In death as in life he is in the shade of his near-contemporary Stravinsky, and now also Shostakovich.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • 'Moser’s book offers such a gripping account of a profoundly damaged human being, trapped in a cycle of repetition,… ,
    • 'Ideas that I’d thought were set down in full continue to smoulder ... this book is only a snapshot of some larger… ,
    • 'Full of invention which, at its most pedestrian, is eminently Victorian, and at its most unrestrained wildly imagi… ,
    • 'What in other hands could have been a dry, pedantic account of Christianity’s birth and evolution becomes in Holla… ,
    • RT : One of my favourite literary magazines is celebrating 40 years this year. Here is the September edition of… ,
    • 'Now that the Thames is too fast-flowing to freeze, its spirit’s devotees ... have found other climes for their pri… ,
    • 'Bythell glowers past his till at a world in slow free fall.' on the travails of a second-hand book… ,