„The first was the classical line, which could be traced back to my early childhood and the Beethoven sonatas I heard my mother play. This line takes sometimes a neo-classical form (sonatas, concertos), sometimes imitates the 18th century classics (gavottes, the Classical symphony, partly the Sinfonietta). The second line, the modern trend, begins with that meeting with Taneyev when he reproached me for the “crudeness” of my harmonies. At first this took the form of a search for my own harmonic language, developing later into a search for a language in which to express powerful emotions (The Phantom, Despair, Diabolical Suggestion, Sarcasms, Scythian Suite, a few of the songs, op. 23, The Gambler, Seven, They Were Seven, the Quintet and the Second Symphony). Although this line covers harmonic language mainly, it also includes new departures in melody, orchestration and drama. The third line is toccata or the “motor” line traceable perhaps to Schumann’s Toccata which made such a powerful impression on me when I first heard it (Etudes, op. 2, Toccata, op. 11, Scherzo, op. 12, the Scherzo of the Second Concerto, the Toccata in the Fifth Concerto, and also the repetitive intensity of the melodic figures in the Scythian Suite, Pas d’acier[The Age of Steel], or passages in the Third Concerto). This line is perhaps the least important. The fourth line is lyrical; it appears first as a thoughtful and meditative mood, not always associated with the melody, or, at any rate, with the long melody (The Fairy-tale, op. 3, Dreams, Autumnal Sketch[Osenneye], Songs, op. 9, The Legend, op. 12), sometimes partly contained in the long melody (choruses on Balmont texts, beginning of the First Violin Concerto, songs to Akhmatova’s poems, Old Granny’s Tales[Tales of an Old Grandmother]). This line was not noticed until much later. For a long time I was given no credit for any lyrical gift whatsoever, and for want of encouragement it developed slowly. But as time went on I gave more and more attention to this aspect of my work. I should like to limit myself to these four “lines,” and to regard the fifth, “grotesque” line which some wish to ascribe to me, as simply a deviation from the other lines. In any case I strenuously object to the very word “grotesque” which has become hackneyed to the point of nausea. As a matter of fact the use of the French word “grotesque” in this sense is a distortion of the meaning. I would prefer my music to be described as “Scherzo-ish” in quality, or else by three words describing the various degrees of the Scherzo—whimsicality, laughter, mockery.“

Page 36-37; from his fragmentary Autobiography.

Adopted from Wikiquote. Last update June 3, 2021. History
Sergei Prokofiev photo
Sergei Prokofiev7
Ukrainian & Russian Soviet pianist and composer 1891 - 1953

Related quotes

Burkard Schliessmann photo
Robert E. Howard photo

„I wrote my first story when I was fifteen, and sent it—to Adventure, I believe. Three years later I managed to break into Weird Tales. Three years of writing without selling a blasted line.“

—  Robert E. Howard American author 1906 - 1936

I never have been able to sell to Adventure; guess my first attempt cooked me with them for ever!
From a letter to H. P. Lovecraft (c. July 1933)
Letters

Paul Simon photo
Johnny Cash photo
Chuck Palahniuk photo

„You stomp the competition with the bass line. You rattle windows. You drop the melody line, and shout the lyrics. You put in foul language and come down hard on each cussword.“

—  Chuck Palahniuk, book Lullaby

Source: Lullaby (2002), Chapter 3
Context: You turn up your music to hide the noise. Other people turn up their music to hide yours. You turn up yours again. Everyone buys a bigger stereo system. This is the arms race of sound You don't win with a lot of treble. This isn't about quality. It's about volume. This isn't about music. This is about winning. You stomp the competition with the bass line. You rattle windows. You drop the melody line, and shout the lyrics. You put in foul language and come down hard on each cussword. You dominate. This is really about power.

Alberto Manguel photo
James Bridie photo

„I sat through the first act and heard my lovely lines falling like cold porridge on a damp mattress.“

—  James Bridie Scottish playwright, screenwriter and surgeon 1888 - 1951

One Way of Living, alluding to his play Marriage is no Joke 1939

Lata Mangeshkar photo
Sören Kierkegaard photo

„A line by Thomas à Kempis which perhaps could be used as a motto sometime.“

—  Sören Kierkegaard Danish philosopher and theologian, founder of Existentialism 1813 - 1855

JP X2A 167
1840s
Context: A line by Thomas à Kempis which perhaps could be used as a motto sometime. He says of Paul: Therefore he turned everything over to God, who knows all, and defended himself solely by means of patience and humility.... He did defend himself now and then so that the weak would not be offended by his silence. Book III, chapter 36, para. 2, or in my little edition, p. 131.

Douglas Coupland photo
Robert Hunter photo
Anna Yesipova photo
Charlie Parker photo
Eugène Delacroix photo
Stevie Nicks photo
Charles Bukowski photo

Related topics