Lot 231
  • 231

Prokofiev, Sergei

60,000 - 70,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Prokofiev, Sergei
  • Fine autograph manuscript of "Ouverture" for full orchestra, including piano, an early version of the first movement of the "Divertimento", op.43
the working orchestral draft of the whole movement, unsigned, notated in full score, in blue-black ink, on up to twenty-four staves to a page, and with lines for percussion added in the top and bottom margins, the instrumentation designated throughout, a few passages notated only schematically indicating the number of bars, otherwise complete, fully annotated throughout in Russian, with extensive deletions, revisions and alterations, with dynamic markings and rehearsal letters throughout (A-P), but without tempo markings

11 pages, large quarto (c.34 x 27cm), 24-stave paper ("Sünova" no.10), on three bifolios, no place or date, [1920s], modern green folding case, gilt titles (overall size c.44.5 x 39cm)

Catalogue Note

THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT AUTOGRAPH MANUSCRIPT BY PROKOFIEV TO HAVE BEEN OFFERED FOR SALE AT AUCTION. Indeed it is practically the only one to appear: most of his autograph manuscripts are in archives or Russian institutions.

This "Ouverture" seems to have been originally intended for the unpublished ballet Trapeze, commissioned by the Romanov company and composed in c.1924-1925.  Prokofiev reused much of the music for Trapeze in his well-known Quintet for Wind and Strings op.39, but it does not in fact include this movement.   Instead, the composer subsequently used this music for the first untitled movement of the Divertimento, op.43 (1925-1929), a work for full orchestra, but without the piano part included here. 

This manuscript shows the amazing talent and fluency of the young composer.  It gives an insight into the fact that, although Prokofiev evidently had a piano version to work from, he is here laying out the music for full orchestra and piano for the first time, writing the score in ink straight away.  The composer writes his score in an apparently spontaneous manner, adding orchestral parts here and there, including instruments not accounted for in the system as originally laid out, and thus not necessarily in their usual order on the page.  Often, staves for new instruments begin half-way through a page, with the systems extended to accommodate them.  The manuscript gives every impression of being a working draft of the movement, but, although a few passages are incompletely notated, everything is very clear throughout.