excerpt from 'Sergey Prokofiev diaries: 24 January 1909' pp. 78-79 (315 words)

excerpt from 'Sergey Prokofiev diaries: 24 January 1909' pp. 78-79 (315 words)

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Sergey Prokofiev diaries: 24 January 1909

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I saw Glagoleva* again on Thursday. She greeted me with the words: 'You're just the person I'm looking for!' What it is about, and it seems to be urgent, is that she has a dancing partner of some kind with whom she wants to perform an Assyrian dance in Assyrian costume, and there is accordingly a need for some Assyrian music to dance to. Hence her appeal to me as a knowledgeable and competent person in such matters. I said she would have perfectly fine Assyrian music if she could just get hold of an old frying pan, and that would fit the bill quite satisfactorily, but she objected reasonably enough that the Assyrians featured a lute or something of the sort in their music. Could I not dig up some Assyrian motif and then write some music based on it? I explained that just a motif on its own would not be much use since it would need some harmony to go with it, and the Assyrians evidently lacking any concept of harmony, one would have to cobble together some conventional Oriental harmonies. So would it not be easier to get hold of some music that already existed? I made enquiries of a Sacchetti** student who happened to be passing (say what you like, but Sacchetti does have a first-class knowledge of the history of music) and he pointed us in the direction of 'Empress of Saba'***, which we found straight away in the Conservatoire library. I started to play it and picked out a few places while Glagoleva listened. We soon alighted on the Processional March in the first act, which sent Glagoleva into raptures both about the music and about my playing of it - sight-reeading, if you please, and so beautifully! It was exactly what she needed, and of course nobody but me would do to accompany her. I declined.

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excerpt from 'Sergey Prokofiev diaries: 24 January 1909' pp. 78-79 (315 words)


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