Friday, May 9, 2008


What Prokofiev did have was an extremely dry wit, which occasionally results in some fine, bitchy one-liners, from his disdain for Mahler's Seventh Symphony ("like kissing a stillborn child") to his fear of the futurist poet Vladimir Mayakovsky ("I always wonder: is he going to hit me, not for any particular reason, just because?") to his pride at being proclaimed "best-dressed man in Chicago". At his best he has a gift for the surprising phrase, the unexpected insight and the occasional laugh-out-loud bon mot. It appears much of his time was spent reading German idealist philosophy and "destroying" or "annihilating" various unfortunates at chess.

Owen Hatherley reviews Sergey Prokofiev, Diaries (1915-1922) ed. Anthony Phillips, at the New Statesman. The rest here.

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