In This Edition
Prokofiev's Ballets for Diaghilev
The 15-year collaboration between the ballet impresario Sergey Diaghilev and the composer Sergey Prokofiev began in 1914 and lasted until Diaghilev's death. It was a partnership which led to three ballets - Chout, Le Pas D'Acier and The Prodigal Son. Only the last of these has remained in the repertoire, though recent productions of the other two in the USA and in Russia suggest a resurgence of interest. In his new book on the subject, Stephen D. Press argues that despite the relationship between Prokofiev and Diaghilev being a tempestuous one, beset by rows over money and production values, the three ballets they created together deserve more recognition in the repertoire. Petroc talks with Stephen Press about his book and is joined by the dance critic Ismene Brown and the Prokofiev biographer David Nice to review the book.
Stephen D. Press: Prokofiev's Ballets for Diaghilev. Pub. Ashgate . Hb. £55
Odna (Alone) is the second film for which Dmitri Shostakovich wrote music. Co-directed by Leonid Trauberg and Grigori Kozintsev, the film tells the story of a young Leningrad teacher who forsakes the comfortable life of the city and goes to teach in a remote Siberian village. It was intended as a piece of propaganda, but its subtle mockery of the Communist message led to its being withdrawn a few years after its release in 1929. Shostakovich's score was long thought lost, but has now been painstakingly reconstructed by the conductor Mark Fitz-Gerald. The film can be seen for the first time accompanied by the reconstructed score performed by the BBC Symphony Orchestra at the Barbican next week. Petroc asks Mark Fitz-Gerald about his own experience of working on the music.
Odna. Barbican, London . Friday 10 th February 2006, 7.30pm.
The film-making partnership of Leonid Trauberg and Grigori Kozintsev is also celebrated at the NFT in March and includes a screening of Odna.
A true polymath, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau is best known for his remarkable baritone singing career, but he is also a painter, writer, conductor, teacher, and in recent years a reciter. He lives in Berlin and surrounds himself with his vast collection of books, paintings, scores and recordings. Petroc found Fischer-Dieskau in a sombre mood when he visited him in Berlin last week. Fischer-Dieskau sees a bleak future for culture in a world where popular music and the demise of music-making in the home have robbed people of their ability to appreciate the subtleties of classical music. Now 80, Fischer-Dieskau talks frankly with Petroc about his pessimistic outlook and reminisces about his prolific singing and recording years as well as talking about his continuing performing career as a 'speaker'.