From 1907 until 1933, Sergei Prokofiev kept a monumental diary which remained unpublished – even in Russian – until 2002 (Sergej Prokof’ev, Dnevnik, ed. Sv. Prokof’ev, Paris, Sprkfv, 2002). Lively and engaging, the diary is much more than a record of the life, times and work of the composer. It has a literary dimension that has never previously been truly explored, but which deserves to be taken seriously, especially given our knowledge that Prokofiev had thought of becoming a writer had he not become a musician.
This literary dimension – the subject of the present article – manifests itself as much in the continuity of the narrative of the self, woven in page after page (and this despite the fragmentary character inherent in the diary as literary genre) as in the diversity of narrative rhythms, the art of description or of portraits. The style and syntax are clear and there is a true alacrity of tone. Though classical in style, the writing is nevertheless of great vividness.
In the course of the analysis, analogies can be discerned between the musical works and the text: a lyricism constantly present but always held back under control, the “fugitive visions”, the rhythmic variations, the primacy of variety and narrative effectiveness.
Prokofiev et la littérature
Laetitia Le Guay Brancovan
Université de Cergy-Pontoise
Le Journal 1907-1933 de Serge Prokofiev, le roman d'une vie musicale