A brief biography of Prokofiev, the work of the composer
The biography of Prokofiev, the great Russian and Soviet composer, is so large and versatile that it is sometimes difficult to imagine how it all fit in one person? A pianist, music writer, film composer, conductor - in addition, Sergey Sergeevich created his own unique composer style, was fond of chess and Christian science. From this article you can find a brief biography of Prokofiev, as well as the main periods of his creative life.
Childhood and youth
The biography of Sergei Sergeyevich Prokofiev begins in the village of Sontsovka, located in the Yekaterinoslav province (modern Donetsk region of Ukraine), on April 15 (27), 1891, in a merchant family. Sergey's mother, Maria Grigorievna, mastered the piano while studying at the gymnasium and at home often performed works by Beethoven and Chopin. Little Seryozha often sat at the keys next to his mother, remembering her play visually and by ear.At the age of five, Prokofiev Seryozha began his musical biography, having composed his first piece at the very young age - "Indian Gallop". Maria Grigorievna taught her son how to note the works, and all subsequent small rondo and waltzes of her own composition, the prodigy Prodofyev, wrote down independently.
At the age of nine, Prokofiev wrote his first opera under the name “The Giant”, and at 11 he played it to the famous composer and teacher Sergei Taneyev. Taneyev was impressed by the boy's talent and agreed with his friend, also a well-known composer Reinhold Gliere, about teaching Serezha Prokofiev.
Study and the beginning of creativity
The entire early biography of Sergei Prokofiev is compiled from his personal diaries, which he kept in detail and carefully throughout his life. Already in 1909, at the age of 18, Sergei graduated from the St. Petersburg Conservatory as a conductor, and five years later, also as a pianist. His teachers were such great musicians as Rimsky-Korsakov, Lyadov and Cherepnin. Also during his studies, he met with other future great composers - Sergei Rachmaninoff and Igor Stravinsky. The photo below Prokofiev while studying at the conservatory.
After his debut performance with his own works on the piano, Prokofiev’s works were called bold and original, with "an unbridled play of fantasy and extravagance of style." For the novice composer, the status of an "extreme modernist" was entrenched.
In 1913, after Prokofiev performed with the Second Piano Concerto, the public was clearly divided into those who admired the composer and those who criticized him, calling the work "scandalous and futuristic."
The best works and international recognition
From 1918 to 1936, the biography of the composer Prokofiev tells of his American period of life. Sergey Sergeevich took the October revolution calmly, since he never belonged to either the white or the red movement. He emigrated in search of new inspiration.
Having achieved recognition on the other side of the ocean, the composer returns to his homeland. During the Great Patriotic War, he did not stop work, his best works at this moment became the ballet "Cinderella", the opera "War and Peace" and "The Fifth Symphony". The Fifth, along with Shostakovich's Seventh Symphony, are considered to be the most important works created during the Patriotic War. An excerpt from Prokofiev’s “Fifth Symphony” performed by a symphony orchestra can be seen below.
In 1948, Sergei Prokofiev, along with other avant-garde composers, such as Shostakovich and Khachaturian, was criticized for "formalism and futurism" by the Committee on Arts, after which many works of Sergey Sergeevich were banned. But fortunately, Joseph Stalin was very interested in Prokofiev’s work and biography, and therefore in 1949, by the personal order of the leader, the ban was lifted, and the Committee’s actions were strictly condemned.
The unique style of the composer
In world history, the biography of Sergei Sergeevich Prokofiev is distinguished, first of all, by the creation of a unique musical language. The techniques that distinguish the works of the composer consisted in the use of a special form of the dominant (later it received the name of the Prokofiev dominant), linear and dissonant chords, as well as chromatic clusters combining pitch when performing "obsessive" musical phrases. The compositional, anti-romantic rhythm, which gives many works of Prokofiev an expressive fragmentary character, is also peculiar.
For all his life, the composer wrote the music for eight Soviet films.The most famous film works in the biography of Prokofiev are compositions written for the films of the famous director Sergei Eisenstein: "Alexander Nevsky" (1938) and "Ivan the Terrible" (1945). Eisenstein was delighted with working with the great composer, as the director and musician had a similar, avant-garde approach to creativity. Subsequently, Prokofiev modified the music composed for these films to form independent works. An excerpt from the film "Ivan the Terrible" with the composition of Prokofiev can be seen below.
Works for children
In the creative biography of Prokofiev and for children written many works, such as the ballets "Cinderella" and "The Tale of the Stone Flower", compositions for the choir "The Ballad of a Boy Remaining Unknown", "Winter Bonfire", "Watching the World".
But the most famous children's work of Prokofiev is undoubtedly the symphonic fairy tale "Peter and the Wolf." This work Sergey Sergeevich composed and put on his own text in 1936, for staging in a children's theater. "Peter and the Wolf" was the first composition of the composer after returning to his homeland.
In addition to the performances, there are several animated versions of this tale: the first was created in 1946 at the Walt Disney studio.Then two Soviet puppet cartoons were released (in 1958 and 1976), as well as the Polish-British, also a puppet cartoon, awarded an Oscar in 2006.
Being a very versatile person, Sergei Prokofiev was engaged not only in music - his second passion was literature. Outstanding writing abilities noted everything that came out of his pen: this is a huge “Autobiography”, covering the composer’s life from birth until 1909, his diaries, and all the librettos he composed and stories full of optimism and a wonderful sense of humor.
In addition to music and literature, Sergey Sergeyevich was seriously fond of chess and called them "music of thought". From 1914 to 1937, Prokofiev managed to play the game with such famous chess players as Capablanca, Lasker and Tartakower.
Also, the composer was a supporter of Christian science, whose methods allowed him to overcome the excitement before performances. Prokofiev liked to read the book "Science and Health" by Mary Baker Eddy, in his diaries he mentioned it more than once, saying that this book helped shape his personal attitude to good, evil, God and man.
In 1923, Prokofiev married a Catalan chamber singer Lina Codina, who bore him two sons - Svyatoslav and Oleg. In the photo below the composer with his wife and sons.
Despite mutual understanding with his wife and eighteen years of marriage, in 1941, Prokofiev left the family and began to live with a student of the Faculty of Philology Mira Mendelsohn. In 1948, Sergei Prokofiev married Mira, without divorcing his first wife. In the subsequent trial, both marriages were declared valid. In this regard, Soviet lawyers introduced the term "Case of Prokofiev", referring to such incidents. Photos of Prokofiev and his second wife are presented below.
Sergei Sergeevich lived with Mira Mendelssohn-Prokofyeva until the end of his days. The great composer Prokofiev died on March 5, 1953 — Joseph Stalin died on the same day, and therefore the composer’s death remained unnoticed for a long time.