In Thursday’s (7/16) Star-Ledger (Newark, N.J.), Ronni Reich writes about Prokofiev’s recently discovered Music for Athletes, set to premiere on July 17 in Princeton. “At the Golandsky Institute International Piano Festival at Princeton University, pianist Ilya Itin will take on the world premiere as well as original piano versions of Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf and Sonata No. 7. Princeton professor Simon Morrison will deliver a lecture, Paul Muldoon will narrate, and Jennie Scholick will choreograph and perform with three other graduates of Princeton’s dance certificate program. Morrison discovered Music for Athletes while researching his book The People’s Artist: Prokofiev’s Soviet Years, which was recently published by Oxford University Press. … When Soviet officials organized an athletics spectacle in 1939 to mobilize youth, complete with 30,000 ‘physical culturists,’ Sergei Prokofiev composed music for the event. But when the event’s choreographer, Vsevolod Meyerhold, vanished before the premiere, Music for Athletes went unheard.” Morrison describes Music for Athletes as “a short, fun piece that he composed during a period of great creative inspiration that actually has a great deal of humor and wit built into it. It recalls the composer’s Romeo and Juliet ballet and makes good-humored references to waltzes by Johann Strauss Jr.

Posted July 17, 2009