The People's Artist: Prokofiev's Soviet Years

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51 Scopus citations


In 1936, Sergey Prokofiev relocated from France to Soviet Russia, a period marked by the marshalling of musical activities under the auspices of the All-Union Committee on Arts Affairs. The composer, an international celebrity, perplexed his Parisian colleagues by migrating to a totalitarian state whose cultural institutions discouraged creative experiment and fulminated against Western modernism. And indeed while valued by the Stalinist regime and supported by its cultural institutions, he suffered correction and censorship, the result being a gradual sapping of his creating energies. Prokofiev revised and re-revised his theatrical works in an effort to see them staged, but his labors often went to waste. Following his official censure in a political and financial scandal in 1948, jittery concert and theater managers pulled his works from the repertoire. This book provides a detailed chronicle of Prokofiev's career from 1932 to 1953 based on research conducted at the Russian State Archive of Literature and Art, the Russian State Archive of Social-Political History, the State Archive of the Russian Federation, and several other Russian archives. Beyond furnishing new information about Prokofiev's 1936 relocation and the devastating loss of his ability to travel abroad, the book documents the composer's negative and positive interactions with Stalinist officials, the mandated rewriting of such major works as Romeo and Juliet and War and Peace, and his spiritual and aesthetic views.

Original languageEnglish (US)
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages352
ISBN (Electronic)9780199870806
ISBN (Print)9780195181678
StatePublished - Jan 1 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Arts and Humanities


  • Modernism
  • Prokofiev
  • Romeo and Juliet
  • Russian archives
  • Stalinism
  • War and peace


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