THOMAS SCHIPPERGES    Book Number: 86513    Product format: Hardback

Specialising in music and politics in the Soviet Union, Thomas Schipperges is a Lecturer in Musicology at the University of Heidelberg. This 2003 first edition English translation is a quality publication by Haus. Sergey Prokofiev has established himself as one of the most enduring and characteristic of 20th century composers. Several of his works are among the most popular pieces of classical music written in the last 100 years. Think of the countless performances of Peter and the Wolf or the way that Romeo and Juliet has become more than a ballet but the stuff of advertising tracks and sports theme tunes. At the BBC Proms, Prokofiev's Fifth ranks very high. This biography explores the dilemmas and puzzles that lie at the heart of his life and music, the problems of composing music in a multi-lingual, multi-cultural age and the vitally important questions about music and politics, music and personality, and music and identity. The son of an estate manager, he spent his childhood in a Ukraine moulded by Tsarist social structures and as a student in St. Petersburg, he found himself in the midst of the revolutionary ferment in the years following 1905. Throughout the biography in black text is a parallel commentary in red text with most interesting observations such as: "Melodies had to be hummable, keys had to be major. This dogma was exactly that imposed on the European émigré composers working in Hollywood in the 1930s." Or historical details on the Russian Civil War in 1918 or in 1917 when six composers assembled under the leadership of Jean Cocteau, and influenced by Erik Satie. Prokofiev lived a life caught between East and West, old and new. He left for America during the Russian Revolution, returning as a celebrity a decade later, but his relationship with Soviet authorities deteriorated into condemnation and censorship. His charming and witty music combines the traditional and the modern in such works as the opera 'The Love for Three Oranges', the ballet Romeo and Juliet, and the musical fairy tale Peter and the Wolf. Here is a book to inspire much admiring reflection. Well illustrated, colour, 182pp.
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ISBN 9781904341345
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