Composers of Today: A Comprehensive Biographical and Critical Guide to Modern Composers of All Nations

By David Ewen | Go to book overview
from the American frontier as the Mississippi Sawyer. . . . As for jazz, it is already a wornout and limited style. It is a weak and elementary way of saying things, as I see it, which need a far richer and more adaptable speech than it is able to give." Besides music, he is most interested in science--particularly in astronomy, of which he has made a special study.Principal works by John Powell:
ORCHESTRA: In Old Virginia; Negro Rhapsody; At the Fair; Natchez-on-the-Hill; Set of Three; Symphony.
CHORAL: Chorus and Finale.
CHAMBER MUSIC: Sonata in A-Flat (for violin and piano); From a Loved Past (for violin and piano).
Pieces for piano.

About John Powell:

Howard J. T. Our American Music.

Musical America 50:8 March 10, 1930.


Serge Prokofieff 1891-

" Prokofieff's creative work is amongst the most original and valuable which the Russian art of this century has produced."--LEONID SABANEYEV

SERGE SERGEVITCH PROKOFIEFF, who was born in Ekaterinoslav in South Russia on April 23, 1891, spent the early years of his life on the steppes of Ukrania. It was from his mother, a native of St. Petersburg, that he inherited his musical talent. She played the piano remarkably well, and succeeded in transmitting her devotion for Beethoven and Chopin to the child who sat indefatigably at her knee, listening to her playing. Music was Prokofieff's native speech from earliest childhood. At the age of five, he composed his first piece, Hindu Gallop, in which, strange to say, he already played audaciously with tonality. And when, at the age of seven, he was brought to Moscow where he saw Faust and Prince Igor, he was inspired to compose an opera, The Giant, which was performed at the home of his uncle, with his cousins as members of the cast. "Don't forget," his uncle told him, patting his head, "when your operas are played at the Imperial Theatre, that the first performance of your first opera was given at my house."

It was apparent that in music lay Serge's great talent. As a result, at the age of ten, he was brought to Taneiev who instantly became interested in the young composer and advised him to study under Glière. School, exercises, rules did not cripple his creative output or his imagination, for during his studies with Glière the boy composed a symphony, two small operas and two sonatas for piano!

In 1904--Serge had just reached his thirteenth birthday--he entered the St. Petersburg Conservatory of Music, following the advice of Glazunov. He remained there for ten years, acquiring diplomas in composition, piano and conducting. It was during these years at school that he was first attracted to modernism. First the music of Scriabin, and then that of Max Reger began to impress him deeply until, unconsciously, his style began to acquire new shape and form. It became harder, more vigorous, more pointed; and the rules of composition, which he had taken such pains to master, began to assume less importance in his eyes.

His modernistic tendencies found support in a society of modern music in St. Petersburg, at whose concerts the first of Prokofieff's works to reach public performance was presented. At the same time, Prokofieff published his works, for the first time, with Jurgen

____________________
Prokofieff: prŭ-kŭf′yĕf

-199-

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