excerpt from 'Sergey Prokofiev diaries: 1 - 30 April 1921' pp. 597 (262 words)

excerpt from 'Sergey Prokofiev diaries: 1 - 30 April 1921' pp. 597 (262 words)

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Sergey Prokofiev diaries: 1 - 30 April 1921

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The ballet was being staged by Larionov, who certainly had a profound knowledge of the dances from many different ages, and whose concept of how the work should be choreographed was in places perfectly good. He came to rehearsals with a thick notebook filled with sketches of poses and ensembles for Chout, and no doubt, had he been able to work with Massine it would have turned out well. But in Massine's absence the young Slavinsky* was singled out for promotion, a good dancer but with nothing whatsoever in his head. It was quite out of the question to expect him to invent anything, although he was well equipped to grasp quickly what Larionov said and transmit it to the dancers. To crown it all, neither Larionov nor Slavinsky understood anything about music, and as a result the entire burden of musical authority was gathered into the hands of the pianist Zemskaya, who was incapable of grasping even the haziest conception, musically speaking, of Chout.

This, then, was the condition in which I foun the staging of the ballet. And I thank God that they had invited me. Everything had to be purged and started again from the beginning, and the first thing that had to be done was to train Zemskaya, with whom I had a series of private sessions that reduced her on more than one occasion to tears. Nevertheless, eventually she learned to play the score quite decently. She was a young Jewish woman from Poland who, once she had dried her tears, began to flirt openly with me.

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