I. Stravinsky, The Man From Russia

 

 

“The trouble with music appreciation in general is that people are taught to have too much respect for music; they should be taught to love it instead.” – Igor Stravinsky. “Subject: Music”, New York Times Magazine, 9/27/64

Igor Fyodorovitch Stravinsky (June 17, 1882 – April 6, 1971), a Russian-born composer, is thought to be one of the most influential composers of the 20th century. His musical language evolved over the years through many stylistic periods including Neoclassicism and Serialism.

“My childhood was a period of waiting for the moment when I could send everyone and everything connected with it to hell.” Stravinsky

“Music must be listened to; it is not enough to hear it. A duck hears also.” Stravinsky

Stravinsky’s compositional career was notable for its stylistic diversity. He first achieved international fame with three ballets commissioned by the impresario Sergei Diaghilev and first performed in Paris by Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes: The Firebird (1910), Petrushka (1911) and The Rite of Spring (1913). The last of these transformed the way in which subsequent composers thought about rhythmic structure and was largely responsible for Stravinsky’s enduring reputation as a musical revolutionary who pushed the boundaries of musical design.

Stravinsky’s reputation in Russia and the USSR rose and fell. Performances of his music were banned from around 1933 until 1962, the year Nikita Khrushchev invited him to the USSR for an official state visit. In 1972, an official proclamation by the Soviet Minister of Culture, Ekaterina Furtseva, ordered Soviet musicians to “study and admire” Stravinsky’s music and she made hostility toward it a potential offence

“Portrait of Igor Stravinsky” by Albert Gleizes, 1914

His “Russian phase” was followed in the 1920s by a period in which he turned to neoclassical music. The works from this period tended to make use of traditional musical forms (concerto grosso, fugue and symphony). They often paid tribute to the music of earlier masters, such as J.S. Bach and Tchaikovsky. In the 1950s, Stravinsky adopted serial procedures. His compositions of this period shared traits with examples of his earlier output: rhythmic energy, the construction of extended melodic ideas out of a few two- or three-note cells and clarity of form, of instrumentation and of utterance

“It is the transcendent (or ‘abstract’ or ‘self-contained’) nature of music that the new so called concretism–Pop Art, eighteen-hour slices-of-reality films, musique concrete–opposes. But instead of bringing art and reality closer together, the new movement merely thins out the distinction.”– Igor Stravinsky and Robert Craft (1982).

 


“Silence will save me from being wrong (and foolish), but it will also deprive me of the possibility of being right.” Stravinsky

Stravinsky Digital Art by Walcopz Valencia


Stravinsky displayed an inexhaustible desire to explore and learn about art, literature and life, which manifested itself in several of his Paris collaborations. Not only was he the principal composer for Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes, but he also collaborated with Picasso (Pulcinella, 1920), Jean Cocteau (Oedipus Rex, 1927) and George Balanchine (Apollon musagète, 1928). His taste in literature was wide and reflected his constant desire for new discoveries. The texts and literary sources for his work began with a period of interest in Russian folklore, which progressed to classical authors and the Latin liturgy and moved on to contemporary France (André Gide, in Persephone) and eventually English literature, including Auden, T. S. Eliot and medieval English verse.

Composer Igor Stravinsky and His Wife Vera

Coco & Igor

“I’m never seasick. Never. I am sea drunk.”

 

Zappa’s Titties & Beer

I’m only interested in two things
“yeah?”
See if you can guess what they are”

“i would think… uh… let’s see, maybe stravinsky…”

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