excerpt from 'Sergey Prokofiev diaries: 19 March 1924' pp. 33 (200 words)

excerpt from 'Sergey Prokofiev diaries: 19 March 1924' pp. 33 (200 words)

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Sergey Prokofiev diaries: 19 March 1924

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urn:iso:std:iso:639:ed-3:eng

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33

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In the evening accompanied Stahl to King David, an oratorio by Honegger which incidentally incorporates readings, and some musically accompanied recitations. This latter concept is of the greatest interest to me. The success was colossal, and certainly some passages are achieved with unusual brilliance and invention. The recitation to a background of keening women (remniscent of Rachmaninoff) is wonderful. The nasal-sounding phrase in the Jewish march, first heard low down on the bassoons and in the second movement high up on the violins, is quite stunning. But alongside these are moments of dreadful vulgarity and banality. Honegger's melodic gifts are weak. He is a sort of latter-day Richard Strauss, with Straussian inventiveness and Straussian sparkle, albeit lacking Strauss's gift for melody. One way and anoher it was a stimulating experience to hear, and the work does have something from which young composers (and not only young ones) could learn.

Someone, by the way, told me it was an early work. When I went to th Green Room afterwards to shake his hand, Honegger told me this was not at all the case. Had it been the lapses would have been understandable, but in a mature context they are positively alarming!

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excerpt from 'Sergey Prokofiev diaries: 19 March 1924' pp. 33 (200 words)

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