Music: End of a Revolutionary

Sergei Prokofiev was an established musical revolutionary of 26 when the Bolsheviks spread flame and famine across Russia in 1917. He had outjangled Stravinsky's Rite of Spring in his pagan Scythian Suite, startled St. Petersburg's musical society with the thudding energy of his piano pieces. When he wanted to—as he showed in his Classical Symphony —he could write with sweet simplicity. But he seldom cared to prove it. "I believe," he wrote, "that it is a mistake to favor musical simplification."

But Prokofiev, the son of the manager of a large estate, was no...

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