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on 16 December 2002
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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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 3 February 2012
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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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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on 1 July 2016
Really easy read, not too much technical discussion of the music (which is good for me as I don't have much musical know-how, I just like to listen to it!) and a really interesting account of Prokofiev's fascinating life. Would definitely recommend.
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on 18 August 2013
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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on 7 November 2013
Full of interesting details - fully covers every aspect of this genius's life - a good read - z z
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