Ambiguous modernism: the early orchestral works of Sergei Prokofiev

Guillaumier, C. (2011) Ambiguous modernism: the early orchestral works of Sergei Prokofiev. Tempo, 65 (256) pp. 25-37. ISSN 0040-2982 (print) 1478-2286 (online)


Sergei Prokofiev's association with modernism was a curious one: on the one hand, he thought his technically innovative, bold and challenging music positioned him as a modernist but on the other, he remained wary of aligning himself with any specific movement. Such a combination of reluctance and ambiguity in the face of a movement that was engaging interwar Europe with such intensity stems from what can be viewed as an overly protective attitude to his own purity of idiom. Prokofiev was keenly aware of his own prodigious talent and simultaneously anxious of possible musical influence. Nonetheless, he continued to be watchful of cutting-edge developments in music even if he was not particularly sympathetic to the accompanying philosophical debates on modern music.

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