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Diaries 1907-1914: Prodigious Youth Hardcover – 2 Nov 2006

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 800 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber; 1st edition edition (2 Nov. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 080144540X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801445408
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 16.6 x 4.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 972,542 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"Particularly interesting passages concern the composer's meetings with Igor Stravinsky, Sergei Diaghilev, Serge Koussevitzky, and Sergei Rachmaninoff; deeply personal reflections on Prokofiev's own life and desires; and appealing trivia about composing, rehearsing, and dealing with the politics of the conservatory. Phillips has produced a readable translation in idiomatic English. This wonderfully detailed view inside the mind of a twentieth-century heavyweight is recommended for public and academic libraries."-Library Journal, February 1, 2007 "The diaries are a revelation ... Their strengths are their lively prose and clarity, their capacity to recreate the atmosphere of place and time, and their flair for dialogue, qualities happily maintained in Anthony Phillips's excellent translation... The climax of the first volume of Prokofiev's diaries is a fascinating account of the composer's triumph in the prestigious Rubinstein Prize, the piano competition for students graduating from the Conservatory, with a performance of his Second Piano Concerto, in April 1914. It was the only occasion in the history of the St. Petersburg Conservatory that a student graduated with a performance of his own concerto."-Orlando Figes, New York Review of Books, May 10, 2007 "Phillips has translated the vast Russian text into English and produced exhaustive annotations, critical for following the panoply of people and events within the composer's purview... An acute observer and a gifted writer, Prokofiev had a fascinating life; even without an intentional narrative, the book makes for compelling reading... As a composer-diarist, he now sits with Berlioz in the first rank. The current volume and its two predecessors are indispensable for any library with a music collection. Summing Up: Highly recommended."-B.J. Murray, Choice (September 2013) "It was my good fortune to have been a close acquaintance of the genius Sergey Prokofiev. Before coming to know him personally I knew many of his works and admired him without reservation as a composer, but after 1948 and until his death we met very frequently indeed. He was a man of unique character: candid, possessed of an exceptionally penetrating wit and deeply held convictions. The publication of his Diaries, first in Russian and now in English, is a great event. We must be grateful to those who have made this possible and who have thereby revealed to us the life of one of the greatest composers and men of the twentieth century."-Mstislav Rostropovich

Book Description

Sergey Prokofiev: Diaries 1907-1914: Prodigious Youth is an inexhaustibly rich portrait of one of the most vibrant periods in the whole of Western Art, indispensable for all lovers of Prokofiev. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Mr. R. Lowe on 14 Oct. 2008
Format: Hardcover
I am a great fan of Prokofiev's music and was very keen to read his diaries when they were published in English.

First, credit to the translator. He has produced what reads like an original diary: one can almost see different pens and paper being used. His annotations are scrupulous and allow easy comprehension of the Russian habit of using multiple nicknames for people. Clearly the work of an accomplished linguist and fan of Prokofiev.

The character of Prokofiev shines from the diaries. A highly egocentric young man with a very high sense of his self-worth and at the same time a person of talent so immense that this sense is actually somewhat modest. His attitude to women is interesting: of course he was a teenager when the diaries begin.

The picture of life in Russia and the availability of international travel are enlightening (to me).

I could not wait for Volume 2.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By W. Kiewiet De Jonge on 10 Mar. 2012
Format: Hardcover
Many years ago I found, in my local library, a copy of the autobiography "Prokofiev by Prokofiev". I loved reading it occasionally laughing out loud because it was outrageously funny and written with great panache (I never returned the book and ended up buying it from the Library). I found this book with Prokofiev diaries in a second-hand-book store while visiting London. Once again I was transported back to Russia at the end of the 19th century - Prokofiev's youth in Sontsovka (Ukraine) as an only child getting his first piano lessons from his mother. Writing his first Opera (the Giant) at the age of eight. Playing chess. Moving to 'st Petersburg with his mother - becoming the Enfant Terrible at the Conservatory - being much younger (and very often better) than all his fellow students. A joy to read.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Carol on 21 Feb. 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The beginning of the trilogy and unputdownable. Beautifully translated and leads you into the incite of a budding composer
. You will need Vols. 2 & 3 without a doubt!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Love this book!!! 25 July 2009
By T. Gavardinas - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I adore S. Prokofiev's music; thus, I am quite biased in favor of what this man has to offer. I'm not yet finished with this book, (reading it now) but it is so very fun and relaxing to read his diaries. The theme that I see in his writings is how observant he is. I tend to think that this is where some of his musical humor comes from. My hope is that this book will take me though the point where he writes about the process of composing and performing his 2nd piano concerto. This is some of my favorite music. I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves to listen to music by Prokofiev, or to anyone who enjoys reading and relaxing. If any of his writings are published and translated into English in the future, I would love to read them!!!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Beautifully Produced 3 Jan. 2013
By Dennis Webb - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I would like to add to the other review that this is one of the most beautifully produced scholarly books that I have seen in a long time. Large format, silky smooth paper, sturdy sewn binding, map of St. Petersburg on the endpapers, section of old photos included. A really nice job by the Cornell University Press.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A treasure I had not known about! 14 Oct. 2013
By seamus o neill - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Having read Simon Morrison's LINA & SERGE, I was intrigued by the character of Prokofiev, and then I came across the volums of the diaries of this great composer. They really are marvellous, and give a great insight into the thinking of this great composer!
Excellent insight into Prokofiev's Student Days and Personal Development 9 May 2014
By Mystery Devotee - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is an excellent experience for anyone interested in Prokofiev's music, his early student days and personal development, as well as, the inner workings of the St. Petersburg Conservatory and faculty and colleagues. It's particularly fascinating to observe the composer's growing maturity, early prejudices, and thinking about revisions of compositions including the process of completing the first two piano concertos. I found his entries about his friend Max, who committed suicide, especially haunting as Prokofiev's tried in vain to find a way to live in peace following his loss of a special friend. Until I read these diaries I had no knowledge of the latter and found it truly sad and a dimension of the composer I found interesting and touching at the same time. The collection is expertly edited and readable by any serious music lover, especially lovers of Prokofiev's music.
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