excerpt from 'Sergey Prokofiev diaries: 16 January 1916' pp. 74 (286 words)

excerpt from 'Sergey Prokofiev diaries: 16 January 1916' pp. 74 (286 words)

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Sergey Prokofiev diaries: 16 January 1916

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Arriving at the Mariinsky Theatre I felt on top form. I had a talk with the timpanist and the tam-tam player, asking them to begin the second movement with as much power as possible, and then with a sense of enjoyment took my place at the conductor's stand. There was applause in the hall, which I turned to acknowledge with a bow. The audience quickly settled in their seats; the hall was full. I saw the prince in the front row. Was Meshcherskaya there, I wondered. I knew they had subscription tickets for the fifth row on the left. Imagine, a year ago I had proposed to Nina! The Suite began in fine style, but when the first movement died away there was silence from the audience. The second movement begins with a wild explosion on the timpani, which although loud was sadly not ear-splitting enough, nor was it later on. Nevertheless, the skin of the timpani split, causing Ziloti to tell me later he wanted to donate it to me as a souvenir. There was quite lively applause after the 'Dance of the Spirits', which made me, and even the orchestra happy, and we took a short pause to get our breath back.

'Night' went well, although lacking the last ounce of refinement, and the reaction was muted. 'Lolli's Pursuit' was exuberant, and 'The Procession of the Sun' flooded the room with sound - I was thrilled. The audience booed and clapped, clapped and booed. I left the stage, but straight away returned, bowed once more and thanked the leader for the orchestra's performance. Someone on the back desk of the violins booed vigorously, at which Chernyavsky rushed across to try to quieten him down.

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excerpt from 'Sergey Prokofiev diaries: 16 January 1916' pp. 74 (286 words)


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