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Sergey Prokofiev (20th Century Composers) [Paperback]

Daniel Jaffé
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
RRP: £9.95
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Book Description

1 Mar 2008 20th Century Composers
Sergey Prokofiev (1891–1953) was considered strikingly modern in his day, yet his compositions retain a compelling lyricism and an acerbic wit that have ensured their enduring popularity. Having left his native Russia for the USA and subsequently Paris, he spent the last 17 years of his life in the USSR, where his work was heavily influenced by Stalin's cultural policies. Daniel Jaffé's comprehensive biography offers a detailed examination of this remarkable composer's life and works, in the context of the other cultural luminaries of his day and the political turmoil of early twentieth-century Russia.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Phaidon Press; 2008 printing edition (1 Mar 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0714847747
  • ISBN-13: 978-0714847740
  • Product Dimensions: 21.8 x 16.4 x 1.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 382,918 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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'...a thoroughly researched and well-balanced appraisal of Prokofiev's life and works, beautifully presented in tandem with some fascinating and previously unavailable photographic illustrations. Jaffé handles the very difficult task of interweaving narrative and discussion of the works with commendable aplomb...surely one of the best written books in Phaidon’s series.' (Classic CD)

'...an extensive biography of one of the 20th century’s foremost composers. Daniel Jaffé...has combined an intimate portrait outlining the life and social circle of Sergey Prokofiev with a full account of the political climate that shaped his career.' (Bath Chronicle)

'Here is an excellent introduction to the life, character and music of a man Jaffé rightly describes as one of the best loved yet least known of all 20th century composers.' (BBC Music Magazine)

'In the same series comes Daniel Jaffé’s Sergey Prokofiev, concise but remarkably rich in detail about the life of this enigmatic Russian composer whose death was overshadowed by that of Stalin on the same day.' (Birmingham Post)

'...Jaffé...brings insight into how Prokofiev’s life and work intertwined... reliable...a clear introduction to the composer.' (SCRSS [Society of co-operation of Russian & Soviet Studies])

'Among modern composer-biographies, Daniel Jaffé’s Prokofiev (Phaidon, £14.95) stands out as exemplary.' (The Independent Weekend Review)

'As a series, Phaidon's 20th Century Composers has brought remarkable variety and a welter of information, both necessary and delightfully trivial. Intended both for the general reader and for the more enthusiatically musical...' (The Scotsman)

About the Author

Daniel Jaffé is a freelance music journalist, specializing in twentieth-century music, and currently the Reviews Editor at Classic CD magazine.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Try this 16 Dec 2002
By A Customer
I am not an unbiased reader as I am very well acquainted with the writer of this book but I am surprised that more fuss has not been made about it. Oleg Prokoviev, younger son of the composer, thought it the best biography of his father published in English. It is beautifully written, lucid, colourful and approachable in style making it as good a read for the non-specialist as for those better acquainted with the musician and his work. Highly recommended.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sergei Prokofiev - a biography 9 Nov 2012
By Dr. H. A. Jones TOP 500 REVIEWER
Prokofiev by Daniel Jaffé, Phaidon, London, 1998, 240 ff

This is simply the best biography of Sergei Prokofiev that I know of. It is comprehensive and liberally illustrated. For better or for worse, there are no musical examples whatever in the text: those who read music find these helpful but, for those who do not, they simply take up space that could be better utilized with informative text. It's a book I have turned to repeatedly when I have prepared programmes of recorded music for listeners, to get biographical information about the composer, or details of the circumstances surrounding the composition of one of his works. There is a classified list of Prokofiev's works at the end, a select discography, which is still relevant a decade on, a short bibliography of further reading and a good, detailed index.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By Mr. Ian A. Macfarlane TOP 100 REVIEWER
I quite agree with 'A Customer'. This is an excellent introduction to the life and work of Prokofiev. The life story is well told - and what an interesting and ultimately sad story it is, with the composer's return to Stalin's Russia and the difficulties and constraints that brought - and the book is particularly good on accessible and helpful analysis of the music. It is also authoritative. Prokofiev wrote a great deal of music which is hardly ever heard (and indeed in some cases hardly ever heard of here in the West). As a result of this book I have explored some of that music and have found this a fascinating and enriching experience. Jaffe is, in that respect, a very good guide. He fired up my enthusiasm, and I went on to read Simon Morrison's 'Prokofiev : The People's Artist', a stunning (and very readable) work of scholarship, but Jaffe's book is the one to start with, covering as it does the whole of the composer's life and career in what I found to be an engaging and enlightening way. Very warmly recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Good 7 Nov 2013
By Ed
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Full of interesting details - fully covers every aspect of this genius's life - a good read - z z
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3.0 out of 5 stars Poor design 18 Aug 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I haven't read this yet. I was really looking forward to getting this book in paperback edition but when I opened it was disappointed to find really tiny print. Set on offwhite pages with two inch margins (!) with the print running into the centre fold which of course is difficult to open. Why can't publishers make the reading experience a more comfortable one? Unfortunately not everything is available on Kindle.

To be fair, I have now managed to read this book, in short chunks, and it is very good over view of his life. I found Prokofiev's three vols of diaries a fascinating read and wanted more and was shocked to find how little there is about this major 20th century composer.
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