Born in Marseille, France of Greek parents, Calvocoressi studied music at the Conservatoire de Paris with Xavier Leroux and became friends with Maurice Ravel who later dedicated "Alborada del gracioso" from the piano suite Miroirs to him. As a talented polyglot, Calvocoressi began a career in 1902 as a music critic and correspondent for several English, American, German and Russian periodicals and also translated song texts, opera librettos and books from Russian and Hungarian into French and English. His subject of his first book was Liszt, but he was a strong proponent of Mussorgsky and other Russian musicians, writing three books on Modest Mussorgsky. He was the French advisor for Sergei Diaghilev as Diaghilev was introducing Russian arts to the French.
Early in 1937 Prokofiev undertook a long concert tour through Europe and the United States. His creative work during that year included the completion of the cantata, Op. 74, the piano cycle Romeo and Juliet, and a series of songs for chorus and orchestra entitled Songs of Our Days. "In the music written in this productive year," the composer wrote at the end of 1937 in Pravda, "I have striven for clarity and melodious idiom, but at the same time I have by no means attempted to restrict myself to the accepted methods of harmony and melody. This is precisely what makes lucid, straight-forward music so difficult to compose - the clarity must be new, not old."(19312)