Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953)

Visions Fugitives


Sergei Prokofiev wrote his Visions Fugitives between 1915 and 1917. They were inspired by the poem of Konstantin Balmont "I know not wisdom". In Russian the Visions Fugitives are called "Mimoletnosti" which means "things flying past." In Balmont's work he writes of seeing "whole worlds suddenly flashing by in playful rainbow colours". Prokofiev has captured many different characters in these short but highly descriptive pieces. In 1945 the Russian violist, Rudolf Barshai, founded the Borodin string quartet. He chose 6 of the Visions Fugitives and arranged them for the quartet. Barshai's string arrangements are brilliant because they do not lose any of the original piano colours. In 1955 Barshai founded the great former Moscow Chamber Orchestra. Alla Vasileva, his first cellist remembers: "I came to the 3rd rehearsal at the beginning of October 1955. We began by playing the Mimoletnosti which Barshai had been arranging and rearranging for 10 years. Now he had finished arranging the pieces for string orchestra. They were enormously successful, as was his arrangement for string orchestra of parts of Romeo and Juliet. We played them throughout the world on tours and they were always warmly received".

copyright İLygia O'Riordan