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|Jan-12-03|| ||Supersymmetry: Mathematics, music and chess have produced the vast majority of all natural prodigies. Perhaps because they all involve one mind and an object. Indeed, it would do a young musician well to see that his compositions resemble his chess game: delicate in maneuvering, subtle in execution and geometrically sound. |
|Jan-12-03|| ||chessgames.com: PROKOFIEV IN ONE MINUTE
- Prokofiev was one of the most significant Russian composers of the first half of the 20th century
- He studied with Rimsky-Korsakov at the St Petersburg Conservatory
- His best-known works include Peter and the Wolf and the ballet Romeo and Juliet
- Prokofiev was also a first-rate pianist and chess player
- An American reviewer described him as "a blond Russian giant … with the size and build and strength of a football guard"
- He was one of the few composers to return to Russia after the revolution
- His death in 1953 was overshadowed by that of Stalin who died on the same day
|Jan-13-03|| ||Kenneth Sterling: The reason that mathematics, music and chess have produced the vast majority of child prodigies is that none requires a sophisticated grasp of a natural language to master. |
|Jan-13-03|| ||judokausa1: Interesting theory. What would qualify as a prodigy ability in language? |
|Jan-13-03|| ||PVS: <What would qualify as a prodigy ability in language?>|
John Stuart Mill had read Aesop, all of Herodotus and some Plato in the original Greek by the age of eight, at which time he began Latin, geometry and algebra.
|Jan-13-03|| ||pawntificator: Shakespeare had a ridiculously large number of words in his vocabulary, perhaps it was around 100,000, I forget. Not to mention that he has contributed many words that he just made up which we still use today. As opposed to the average person who might use all of 5000 words. But just knowing words isn't prodigal, it was the meaning he gave them by putting them in a certain order. I think Shakespeare would qualify as a prodigy ability in language. |
|Feb-18-03|| ||Supersymmetry: Since language represents the mind conforming to reality, I don't believe one can regard someone who is, say, speaking 5 languages by the age of 10 a prodigy in that respect. Certainly a prodigious intellect is conducive to the rapid development of language skills, but I don't think it does the child justice to say he's a "language prodigy". Besides, that doesn't really have anything to do with the idea that the quality of not requiring language skills is essential to a prodigy producing intellectual field.|
By the way, it's not quite clear why a field such as mathematics, music or chess, not requiring a sophisticated grasp of natural language to master, for that reason produces prodigies. Plumbing does not require mastery of natural language, but there are no plumbing prodigies. Obviously, this is not a sufficient condition.
Anyway, Prokofiev wasn't any more a prodigy than the next precocious child is. It is a mistake to spiritualize intellectuality by saying that kids do these things automatically. He was a genius, but not a prodigy.
|Feb-19-03|| ||Sarimanok: It is nice to know that a musician can also practice chess. What is the difference between a genius and a prodigy? |
|Feb-19-03|| ||refutor: a prodigy is less than 10 years old ;) |
|Aug-20-03|| ||Honza Cervenka: I have found another game of S. Prokofiev. But as you can see, he wasn't the only musician playing chess.:-)|
[White "Sergey Prokofiev"]
[Black "David Oistrakh"]
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.Be3 Bg7 7.Be2 a6 8.Qd2 Ng4 9.Bxg4 Bxg4 10.f3 Bd7 11.Bh6 Rg8 12.Bxg7 Rxg7 13.Qh6 Kf8 14.0-0-0 Nc6 15.Nxc6 bxc6 16.Rhe1 Rb8 17.e5 d5 18.Qf4 Kg8 19.Rd4 e6 20.Red1 Qb6 21.b3 Be8 22.R4d2 Qc7 23.Qe3 Qe7 24.Re1 Kh8 25.Kb2 Rg8 26.Qf4 Bd7 27.Qf6+ Qxf6 28.exf6 Rb7 29.g4 g5 30.h4 gxh4 31.Rh2 Rg6 32.Rxh4 Rxf6 33.Reh1 Kg8 34.R1h3 Kf8 35.Rxh7 Rb4 36.Ne2 e5 37.Kc3 c5 38.R7h6 d4+ 39.Kd2 Rbb6 40.Rxf6 Rxf6 41.Rh5 e4 42.fxe4 Bxg4 43.Rg5 Bf3 44.Rxc5 Bxe4 45.Nxd4 Bg2 46.a4 Ke7 47.b4 Kd7 48.Ke3 Rd6 49.b5 Rd5 50.Rxd5+ Bxd5 51.bxa6 Kc7 52.Nb5+ Kb6 53.Kd4 Bg2 54.a7 Kb7 55.Kc5 Bf3 56.c3 f6 57.Kd6 Bd1 58.a5 Be2 59.Nd4 Bf1 60.Nc6 f5 61.Ke5 Bd3 62.Kd4 Be4 63.a6+ Ka8 64.Nb4 Kxa7 65.c4 Kb6 66.c5+ Ka7
67.Ke5 Kb8 68.Nd5 Bd3 69.Nb4 Be4 70.c6 Kc7 71.a7 Bxc6 72.Nxc6 Kb7 1/2-1/2
|Nov-22-04|| ||offramp: He coulda been a contender, but he ended up as a conductor. |
|Nov-23-04|| ||BiLL RobeRTiE: Judging from his games, Prokofiev was a much better chessplayer than he was a composer! |
|Nov-23-04|| ||Larsker: Prokofiev's music is elegant beyond description. He is regarded as one the best instrumentators ever - along with Ravel. His music is bittersweet. He gets away with writing achingly beautiful melodies because he mixes it with irony and soberness. |
He never wrote a good opera - even if he tried 10 times - in my opinion because he couldn't take the melodrama seriously but had to ironize all the time.
He also was a musical mercenary for Stalisnism - not because he supported it but because he simply didn't care about it. Music was his life.
He is generally regarded as Stravinsky's "little brother" - meaning that he was a lesser composer. I've never understood why. Yes, Stravinsky was more inventive - but Sergei Sergeyevich was much better at writing good melodies.
His more accessible works are Peter and the Wolf, First Symphony, The Lieutenant Kijé Suite, Romeo and Juliet. He had a habit of reusing his melodies in different works.
There is a good web site for him http://www.prokofiev.org Lot's of interesting reading.
He's definitely on my list of the 10 best composers.
|Nov-23-04|| ||TylerD: Prokofjev beat Capablanca at chess!!?
That is beautiful!
I will celebrate this wonderful piece of inofrmation by playing through his extraordinary version of Romeo and Juliet!
|Nov-24-04|| ||meloncio: Sting wrote a solemn and lovely song based on Prokofiev's 'Romance', from The Lieutenant Kijé Suite. The song is "Russians", from the album The Dream of the Blue Turtles, 1985. The lyrics is about the general fear of a nuclear war; there were the Mr. Reagan's times and his 'The Empire of Evil'. Does anyone remember it? |
|Nov-24-04|| ||arielbekarov: <Larsker> Your words about Prokofiev is wonderful to read !
It is only one thing I cannot agree with, and it is that one composer on this level is better or worser. |
Art is for me not a competition.
It is a "language", and music has such an impact on me that the world stops, when I, for instance, hear the violinconcerts by Prokofiev. I have studied the second one in g-minor and the way you describe his bittersweet expressions in his compositions is quite remarkable in this concert. And his sense for rythm !
I love the way you are describing him, but, personally, I would like us to look at art, not as a competition, but as a miraculous way for us human beings to express ourselves.
I have heard the marvellous David Oistrach rehearsing and playing in life his first violinconcert. It was worth to be born only for these moments. I had the honour to speak with David Oistrach after one of his concerts.
He was such a gentle and very modest person.
My professor Tibor Berkowitz was an assistant of David Oistrach in Moscow 1956, and he told me a lot about all these great personalities.
What is also so interesting are the different way of interpretations and let us now focus on Prokofiev.
The violinists Heifetz, Perlman, Oistrach, Stern ...
are all very different in their way of playing. I am using "present tense" as great artists never die.
All of them catch Prokofiev in their own personal style and I enjoy them in their different ways. That's the great thing about it !
I recommend to listen to his pianoconcerts with, for example, Martha Argerich.
I am not at all surprised that Prokofiev was such an exellent chessplayer. He was a very precise and logic person in all what he did.
If a pupil dared to knock at his door only 30 seconds too early before his lesson, eagerly and shaking of respect, he was told:
"You are 30 seconds too early !"
This combination of exactness and bittersweet way of composing is typical for this giant among so many other giants.
The game between Prokofiev and Oistrach is great, where Oistrach manages to draw in a very difficult position. We should analyse it more. I have started to write something about the artists that you will recognize, if you take a look at this particular game.
I must stop writing about these great personalities, but my emotions carry me up to high dimensions of happiness.
|Nov-24-04|| ||arielbekarov: A small correction ! It must be :
"I must stop writing now, but my emotions carry me up to high dimensions of happiness."
But I love to exchange ideas, emotional and intellectual, about these great artists.
|Nov-27-04|| ||An Englishman: Good Evening: Aren't both music and chess branches of mathematics? Wouldn't that explain why so many prodigies are confined to these three areas of endeavor? Most of the scientists I've known were either good musicians, or afficianadoes of classical music. |
|Nov-27-04|| ||BiLL RobeRTiE: <Larsker> If you enjoy his pieces, that is good for you; for whatever reasons, Prokofiev's music stinks to my ear (to a lesser extent than Stravinsky and other modernists, albeit). This is of course not to demean his abilities of form / orchestration / inventiveness etc.; his style and I are apparently just incompatible. His contemporary Rachmaninov, by contrast, is one of my favorites. |
|Nov-27-04|| ||BiLL RobeRTiE: That came out rather poorly. I was merely trying to explain my previous post. ;) |
|Mar-21-05|| ||Runemaster: <meloncio> I have only just seen your post about Sting's song "Russians" - I remember the song well.|
On a different point, I also recall reading Prok's autobiography many years ago, which included a drawing by (I think) himself, showing Prok and a friend playing chess. They were both obsessive players and the drawing imagined them a hundred years later, now ancient with long beards and cobwebs hanging off them, still playing chess.
|Mar-21-05|| ||Runemaster: <Bill RobeRTiE> Again, I have only just seen your post in which you say you don't like Prokofiev's music. |
Everyone has their own taste, of course, but I find it surprising that if you like Rachmaninov (as I do myself) you wouldn't appreciate some of Prok's works which are also in a late Romantic style.
As I can see you are a music lover, then if you don't know Prok's "Romeo and Juliet" that was mentioned above by other kibitzers, perhaps you could spend a few dollars on a CD (Naxos, which is nice and cheap) and try it out. I would be surprised if you didn't like it (particularly the gorgeous slow piece at the end "Juliet's Death") - if not, you can take the CD back to the shop and curse me. (Also try Prokofievs' "Classical Symphony" - the name really says it all).
Prokofiev, like Stravinsky, had phases and particular works that are much more "modernist" and more difficult to listen to, and others that are more conventional. For Stravinsky, his ballet music for "Pulcinella" and "The Firebird" is straightforward and elegant - Naxos does a "Best of Stravinsky" that includes extracts from both.
These guys could really compose well in any style they liked!
(By the way, I am not trying to publicise any music label, but just to suggest some of the cheapest and most easily available recordings I can think of.)
|Mar-23-05|| ||BiLL RobeRTiE: <runemaster> I'll make sure to check those out - thanks a lot for your recommendations! |
|Mar-23-05|| ||Runemaster: <BiLL RobeRTiE> I hope you like them. |
|Mar-23-05|| ||Larsker: <He wanted to come to Hollywood to score movies but Stalin didn't let him, alas.> Prokofiev did go abroad and made different productions but he was lured back to Russia by Stalin who wanted him as a symbol of the thriving Soviet culture. Once he got back to Soviet, it turned out that the promises were exaggerated - but he stayed at home this time around. If you read about Rackmaninov and how he missed Russia once he had moved abroad, you get a different perspective on this whole thing. |
As to Prokofiev's music, it's better to start with the easy pieces - and then, if you will, move on to the more complicated. I made the mistake of starting with Skythian Suite (which I still don't really like) but it's recommendable to start elsewhere. Even in the pieces which are not so fantastic, there are that special prokofian tone and way of blending the moods which can be quite addictive. He reused his own music on many occasions in different pieces.
One thing that puzzles me concerning his character: He was a very stern man with the mindframe of your average chess GM and could be outright cruel to other people. Yet his music is brimming with humour, irony and elegance.
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