Igor Stravinsky

Igor Stravinsky

Igor Fyodorovich Stravinsky ( _ru. Игорь Фёдорович Стравинский, transl|ru|"Igor' Fjodorovič Stravinskij") (OldStyleDate|17 June|1882|5 June – 6 April 1971) was a Russian-born composer, considered by many to be the most influential composer of 20th century music. [Page 2006; Robinson 2004; Anonymous 1940; Théodore and Denise Strawinsky 2004, 166; Cohen 2004, 30.] He was a quintessentially cosmopolitan Russian who was named by "Time" magazine as one of the 100 most influential people of the century. [Glass 1998 [http://www.time.com/time/time100/artists/profile/stravinsky.html] .] In addition to the recognition he received for his compositions, he also achieved fame as a pianist and a conductor, often at the premieres of his works.

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 performed by Diaghilev's Ballets Russes (Russian Ballets): "L'Oiseau de feu" ("The Firebird") (1910), "Petrushka" (1911/1947), and "Le Sacre du printemps" ("The Rite of Spring") (1913). The "Rite", whose premiere provoked a riot, transformed the way in which subsequent composers thought about rhythmic structure, and was largely responsible for Stravinky's enduring reputation as a musical revolutionary, pushing the boundaries of musical design.

After this first Russian phase Stravinsky turned to neoclassicism in the 1920s. The works from this period tended to make use of traditional musical forms (concerto grosso, fugue, symphony), frequently concealed a vein of intense emotion beneath a surface appearance of detachment or austerity, and often paid tribute to the music of earlier masters, for example J. S. Bach and Tchaikovsky.

In the 1950s he adopted serial procedures, using the new techniques over his last twenty years. Stravinsky's compositions of this period share traits with all 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.

He also published a number of books throughout his career, almost always with the aid of a collaborator, sometimes uncredited. In his 1936 autobiography, "Chronicles of My Life", written with the help of Alexis Roland-Manuel, Stravinsky included his infamous statement that "music is, by its very nature, essentially powerless to express anything at all." [Stravinsky 1936, 91-92.] With Roland-Manuel and Pierre Souvtchinsky he wrote his 1939–40 Harvard University Charles Eliot Norton Lectures, which were delivered in French and later collected under the title _fr. "Poétique musicale" in 1942 (translated in 1947 as "Poetics of Music"). [The names of uncredited collaborators are given in Walsh (2001).] Several interviews in which the composer spoke to Robert Craft were published as "Conversations with Igor Stravinsky" [Stravinsky and Craft 1959.] They collaborated on five further volumes over the following decade.



Stravinsky was born in Oranienbaum (renamed Lomonosov in 1948), Russia and brought up in Saint Petersburg, to a Catholic Polish father and a Russian mother. His childhood, he recalled in his autobiography, was troubled: "I never came across anyone who had any real affection for me." [Stravinsky 1936, quoted in Dubal 2001, 564] His father, Fyodor Stravinsky, was a bass singer at the Mariinsky Theater in Saint Petersburg, [Walsh 2001.] and the young Stravinsky began piano lessons and later studied music theory and attempted some composition. In 1890, Stravinsky saw a performance of Tchaikovsky's ballet "The Sleeping Beauty" at the Mariinsky Theater; the performance, his first exposure to an orchestra, mesmerized him. [Dubal, 564.] At fourteen, he had mastered Mendelssohn's Piano Concerto in G minor, and the next year, he finished a piano reduction of one of Alexander Glazunov's string quartets. [Glazunov, though, thought little of the young Stravinsky's composition skills, calling him unmusical (Dubal 2001, 564).]

Despite his enthusiasm for music, his parents expected him to become a lawyer. Stravinsky enrolled to study law at the University of Saint Petersburg in 1901, but was ill-suited for it, attending fewer than fifty class sessions in four years. [Dubal 2001, 565.] After the death of his father in 1902, he had already begun spending more time on his musical studies. Because of the closure of the university in the spring of 1905, in the aftermath of Bloody Sunday, Stravinsky was prevented from taking his law finals, and received only a half-course diploma, in April 1906. [Walsh 2001.] Thereafter, he concentrated on music. On the advice of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, probably the leading Russian composer of the time, he decided not to enter the Saint Petersburg Conservatoire; instead, in 1905, he began to take twice-weekly private tutelage from Rimsky-Korsakov, who became like a second father to him. [Dubal 2001, 565.]

In 1905 he was betrothed to his cousin Katerina Nossenko, whom he had known since early childhood. They were married on 23 January 1906, and their first two children, Fyodor and Ludmilla, were born in 1907 and 1908 respectively.

In 1909, his _fr. "Feu d'artifice" (Fireworks), was performed in Saint Petersburg, where it was heard by Sergei Diaghilev, the director of the Ballets Russes in Paris. Diaghilev was sufficiently impressed to commission Stravinsky to carry out some orchestrations, and then to compose a full-length ballet score, "L'Oiseau de feu" ("The Firebird").


Stravinsky travelled to Paris in 1910 to attend the premiere of "The Firebird". His family soon joined him, and decided to remain in the West for a time. He moved to Switzerland, where he lived until 1920 in Clarens and Lausanne. During this time he composed three further works for the Ballets Russes—"Petrushka" (1911), written in Lausanne, and "Le Sacre du printemps ("The Rite of Spring")" (1913) and "Pulcinella", both written in Clarens.

While the Stravinskys were in Switzerland, their second son, Soulima (who later became a minor composer), was born in 1910; and their second daughter, Maria Milena, was born in 1913. During this last pregnancy, Katerina was found to have tuberculosis, and she was placed in a Swiss sanatorium for her confinement. After a brief return to Russia in July 1914 to collect research materials for "Les Noces", Stravinsky left his homeland and returned to Switzerland just before the outbreak of World War I brought about the closure of the borders. He was not to return to Russia for nearly fifty years. Stravinsky was one of the few Eastern Orthodox or Russian Orthodox community representatives living in Switzerland at that time and is still remembered as such in Switzerland to date. [ [http://switzerland.isyours.com/e/guide/religion/christianism/orthodox.html Orthodox Church in Switzerland ] ]


Stravinsky moved to France in 1920, where he formed a business and musical relationship with the French piano manufacturer Pleyel. Pleyel essentially acted as his agent in collecting mechanical royalties for his works, and in return provided him with a monthly income and a studio space in which to work and to entertain friends and business acquaintances.

Stravinsky also arranged (and to some extent re-composed) many of his early works for the Pleyela, Pleyel's brand of player piano. Stravinsky did so in a way that made full use of the piano's 88 notes, without regard for the number or span of human fingers and hands. These were not recorded rolls, but were instead marked up from a combination of manuscript fragments and handwritten notes by the French musician, Jacques Larmanjat (musical director of Pleyel's roll department). Stravinsky later claimed that his intention had been to give listeners a definitive version of the performances of his music, but since the rolls were not recordings, it is difficult to see how effective this intention could have been in practice. While many of these works are now part of the standard repertoire, at the time many orchestras found his music beyond their capabilities and unfathomable. Major compositions issued on Pleyela piano rolls include "The Rite of Spring", "Petrushka", "Firebird", _fr. "Les Noces" and "Song of the Nightingale". During the 1920s he also recorded Duo-Art rolls for the Aeolian Company in both London and New York, not all of which survive. [Lawson 1986, and "Stravinsky and the Pianola", under External Links.]

After a short stay near Paris, Stravinsky moved with his family to the south of France. He returned to Paris in 1934, to live at the rue Faubourg-St.Honoré. Stravinsky later remembered this as his last and unhappiest European address; his wife's tuberculosis infected his eldest daughter Ludmila, and Stravinsky himself. Ludmila died in 1938, Katerina in the following year. Stravinsky spent five months in hospital, during which time his mother also died.

Although his marriage to Katerina endured for 33 years, the true love of his life, and later his partner until his death, was the woman who became his second wife Vera de Bosset (1888-1982). When Stravinsky met Vera in Paris in February 1921, she was married to the painter and stage designer Serge Sudeikin, however they soon began an affair which led to her leaving her husband. From then until Katerina's death from cancer in 1939, Stravinsky led a double life, spending some of his time with his first family and the rest with Vera. Katerina soon learned of the relationship and accepted it as inevitable and permanent.

During his latter years in Paris, Stravinsky had developed professional relationships with key people in the United States; he was already working on the Symphony in C for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and had agreed to lecture at Harvard during the academic year of 1939-40. When World War II broke out in September 1939, Stravinsky moved to the United States. Vera followed him early in the next year and they were married in Bedford, MA, USA, on 9 March 1940.


Stravinsky settled down in the Los Angeles area (1260 North Wetherly Drive, Beverly Hills) where, in the end, he spent more time as a resident than any other city during his lifetime. [cite news | title=Stravinsky, a Rare Bird Amid the Palms; A Composer in California, At Ease if Not at Home | work=The New York Times | author=Bernard Holland | date=11 March 2001] He became a naturalized citizen in 1945. Stravinsky had adapted to life in France, but moving to America at the age of 58 was a very different prospect. For a time, he preserved a ring of emigré Russian friends and contacts, but eventually found that this did not sustain his intellectual and professional life. He was drawn to the growing cultural life of Los Angeles, especially during World War II, when so many writers, musicians, composers, and conductors settled in the area; these included Otto Klemperer, Thomas Mann, Franz Werfel, George Balanchine and Arthur Rubinstein. He lived fairly near to Arnold Schoenberg, though he did not have a close relationship with him. Bernard Holland notes that he was especially fond of British writers who often visited him in Beverly Hills, "like W. H. Auden, Christopher Isherwood, Dylan Thomas (who shared the composer's taste for hard spirits) and, especially, Aldous Huxley, with whom Stravinsky spoke in French." [Holland 2001] He settled into life in Los Angeles and sometimes conducted concerts with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the famous Hollywood Bowl as well as throughout the U.S. When he planned to write an opera with W. H. Auden, the need to acquire more familiarity with the English-speaking worldFact|date=November 2007 coincided with his meeting the conductor and musicologist Robert Craft. Craft lived with Stravinsky until the composer's death, acting as interpreter, chronicler, assistant conductor, and factotum for countless musical and social tasks.

In 1959, Stravinsky was awarded the Sonning Award, Denmark's highest musical honour. In 1962, he accepted an invitation to return to Saint Petersburg (then known as Leningrad) for a series of concerts. He spent more than two hours speaking with Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev, who urged him to return to the Soviet Union.Fact|date=November 2007 Despite the invitation, Stravinsky remained settled in the West.

In 1969, he moved to New York where he lived his last years at Essex House. Two years later, he died at the age of 88 in New York City and was buried in Venice on the cemetery island of San Michele. His grave is close to the tomb of his long-time collaborator Sergei Diaghilev. Stravinsky's professional life had encompassed most of the 20th century, including many of its modern classical music styles, and he influenced composers both during and after his lifetime. He has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6340 Hollywood Boulevard and posthumously received the Grammy Award for Lifetime Achievement in 1987.


Stravinsky displayed an inexhaustible desire to explore and learn about art, literature, and life. This desire manifested itself in several of his Paris collaborations. Not only was he the principal composer for Sergei Diaghilev's Ballets Russes, but he also collaborated with Pablo Picasso ("Pulcinella", 1920), Jean Cocteau ( _la. "Oedipus Rex", 1927) and George Balanchine ( _fr. "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, 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. At the end of his life, he set Hebrew scripture in "Abraham and Isaac".

Patronage was never far away. In the early 1920s, Leopold Stokowski gave Stravinsky regular support through a pseudonymous "benefactor".Fact|date=June 2007 The composer was also able to attract commissions: most of his work from "The Firebird" onwards was written for specific occasions and was paid for generously.

Stravinsky proved adept at playing the part of "man of the world", acquiring a keen instinct for business matters and appearing relaxed and comfortable in many of the world's major cities. Paris, Venice, Berlin, London and New York City all hosted successful appearances as pianist and conductor. Most people who knew him through dealings connected with performances spoke of him as polite, courteous and helpful. For example, Otto Klemperer, who knew Arnold Schoenberg well, said that he always found Stravinsky much more co-operative and easy to deal with.Fact|date=June 2007 At the same time, he had a marked disregard for those he perceived to be his social inferiors: Robert Craft was embarrassed by his habit of tapping a glass with a fork and loudly demanding attention in restaurants.Fact|date=June 2007

Although a notorious philanderer (who was rumoured to have affairs with high-profile partners such as Coco ChanelFact|date=November 2007), Stravinsky was also a family man who devoted considerable amounts of his time and expenditure to his sons and daughters.

tylistic periods

Stravinsky's career may be divided roughly into three stylistic periods.

'Russian' Period (c.1908-1919)

The first period (excluding some early minor works) began with "Feu d'artifice" and achieved prominence with the three ballets composed for Diaghilev. These three works have several characteristics in common: they are scored for an extremely large orchestra; they use Russian folk themes and motifs; and they are influenced by Rimsky-Korsakov's imaginative scoring and instrumentation. They also exhibit considerable stylistic development: from the _fr. "L'oiseau de feu", which emphasizes certain tendencies in Rimsky-Korsakov and features pandiatonicism conspicuously in the third movement, to the use of polytonality in "Petrushka", and the intentionally brutal polyrhythms and dissonances of _fr. "Le Sacre du printemps".

The first of the ballets, _fr. "L'Oiseau de feu", is noted for its imaginative orchestration, evident at the outset from the introduction in 12/8 meter, which exploits the low register of the double bass. "Petrushka", the first of Stravinsky's ballets to draw on folk mythology, is also distinctively scored. In the third ballet, "The Rite of Spring", the composer attempted to depict musically the brutality of pagan Russia, which inspired the violent motifs that recur throughout the work. To this day its vision of pagan rituals, enacted in an imaginary ancient Russia continues to dazzle and overwhelm audiences. Once again, Stravinsky's originality is evident: the opening theme, played on a bassoon at the very top of its register, has become one of the most famous passages in Western art music, as has the pulsing syncopated eighth-note motif in the strings, its accents marked by horn.Fact|date=November 2007

If Stravinsky's stated intention was "to send them all to hell", [Wenborn 1985, 17, alludes to this comment, without giving a specific source.] then he may have rated the 1913 premiere of _fr. "Le sacre du printemps" as a success: it is among the most famous classical music riots, and Stravinsky referred to it frequently as a "scandale" in his autobiography. [Stravinsky 1936Fact|date=October 2007 ] There were reports of fistfights among the audience, and the need for a police presence during the second act. The real extent of the tumult, however, is open to debate, and these reports may be apocryphal. [See Eksteins 1989, 10–16, for an overview of contradictory reportage of the event by participants and the press.]

Stravinsky later commented about the première of "The Rite": "As for the actual performance, I am not in a position to judge, as I left the auditorium at the first bars of the prelude, which had at once evoked derisive laughter. I was disgusted. These demonstrations, at first isolated, soon became general, provoking counter-demonstrations and very quickly developing into a terrific uproar. During the whole performance I was at Nijinsky's side in the wings. He was standing on a chair, screaming 'Sixteen, seventeen, eighteen'--they had their own method of counting to keep time. Naturally the poor dancers could hear nothing by reason of the row in the auditorium and the sound of their own dance-steps. I had to hold Nijinsky by his clothes, for he was furious, and ready to dash on to the stage at any moment and create a scandal. Diaghilev kept ordering the electricians to turn the lights on or off, hoping in that way to put a stop to the noise. That is all I can remember about that first performance." [Stravinsky 1936,Fact|date=November 2007 cited in Siegmeister 1943,Fact|date=November 2007 )]

Other pieces from this period include: _fr. "Le Rossignol" ("The Nightingale"); "Renard" (1916); _fr. "Histoire du soldat" ( _fr. "The Soldier's Tale") (1918); and _fr. "Les Noces" ("The Wedding") (1923).

Neoclassical Period (c.1920-1954)

The next phase of Stravinsky's compositional style extended from roughly 1920 to about 1954, when he began using serial techniques. "Pulcinella" (1920) and the "Octet" (1923) for wind instruments are Stravinsky's first compositions to feature his re-examination of the classical music of Mozart and Bach and their contemporaries. For this "neo-classical" style Stravinsky abandoned the large orchestras demanded by the ballets, and turned instead largely to wind instruments, the piano, and choral and chamber works.

Other works such as _la. "Oedipus Rex" (1927), _fr. "Apollon musagète" (1928, for the Russian Ballet) and the "Dumbarton Oaks" Concerto (1937–38) continued this re-thinking of eighteenth-century musical styles.

Works from this period include the three symphonies: the _fr. "Symphonie des Psaumes" ("Symphony of Psalms") (1930), "Symphony in C" (1940) and "Symphony in Three Movements" (1945). "Apollon", "Persephone" (1933) and "Orpheus" (1947) exemplify not only Stravinsky's return to music of the Classical period, but also his exploration of themes from the ancient Classical world such as Greek mythology.

Stravinsky completed his last neo-classical work, the opera "The Rake's Progress", in 1951, to a libretto by W. H. Auden based on the etchings of Hogarth. It was almost ignoredFact|date=November 2007 after it was staged by the Metropolitan Opera in 1953. It was presented by the Santa Fe Opera in its first season in 1957 with Stravinsky in attendance, and this marked the beginning of his long association with the company. The music is direct but quirky; it borrows from classic tonal harmony but also interjects surprising dissonances; it features Stravinsky's trademark off-rhythms; and it harks back to the operas and themes of Monteverdi, Gluck and Mozart. The opera was revived by the Metropolitan Opera in 1997.

erial Period (1954-1968)

Stravinsky began using serial compositional techniques, including dodecaphony, the twelve-tone technique originally devised by Arnold Schoenberg, in the early 1950s (after Schoenberg's death). Robert Craft encouraged this undertaking. [NPR show, under External links]

He first experimented with non-twelve-tone serial technique in small-scale vocal and chamber works such as the "Cantata" (1952), Septet (1953), and "Three Songs from Shakespeare" (1953), and his first composition to be fully based on these non-twelve-tone serial techniques is "In Memoriam Dylan Thomas" (1954). "Agon" (1954–57) is his first work to include a twelve-tone series, and _la. "Canticum Sacrum" (1955) is his first piece to contain a movement entirely based on a tone row ("Surge, aquilo"). [Straus 2001, 4.] Stravinsky later expanded his use of dodecaphony in works including "Threni" (1958), "A Sermon, a Narrative, and a Prayer" (1961), and "The Flood" (1962), which are based on biblical texts.

"Agon", written from 1954 to 1957, is a ballet choreographed for twelve dancers. It is an important transitional composition between Stravinsky's neo-classical period and his serial style. Some numbers of "Agon" are reminiscent of the "white-note" tonality of the his neo-classic period, while others (for example "Bransle Gay") display his re-interpretation of serial methods.

Innovation and influence

"One of music's truly epochal innovators"AMG (2008). [http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=41:8016~T1 "Igor Stravinsky" biography] , "AllMusic".] , the most important aspect of Stravinsky's work aside from his technical innovations, including in rhythm and harmony, is the, "changing face," of his compositional style while always, "retaining a distinctive, essential identity". He himself was inspired by different cultures, languages and literatures. As a consequence, his influence on composers both during his lifetime and after his death was, and remains, considerable. "No other composer of the twentieth century exerted such a pervasive influence or dominated his art in the way that Stravinsky did during his five-decade musical career".


Stravinsky's use of motivic development (the use of musical figures that are repeated in different guises throughout a composition or section of a composition) included additive motivic development. This is where notes are subtracted or added to a motif without regard to the consequent changes in meter. A similar technique may be found as early as the sixteenth century, for example in the music of Cipriano de Rore, Orlandus Lassus, Carlo Gesualdo, and Giovanni de Macque, music with which Stravinsky exhibited considerable familiarity. [Stravinsky and Craft 1960, 116–17.]

"The Rite of Spring" is also notable for its relentless use of ostinati; for example, in the eighth note ostinato on strings accented by eight horns in the section "Auguries of Spring (Dances of the Young Girls)". The work also contains passages where several ostinati clash against one another.


Stravinsky was noted for his distinctive use of rhythm, especially in "The Rite of Spring". [ [http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=9041627 The Primitive Pulse of Stravinsky's 'Rite of Spring' : NPR Music ] ]

According to Philip Glass: [Simeone, Craft, and Glass [n.d.] (External links, below).]

the idea of pushing the rhythms across the bar lines [...] led the way [...] the rhythmic structure of music became much more fluid and in a certain way spontaneous

Glass also praises Stravinsky's "primitive, offbeat rhythmic drive". [Time Magazine Profile, under External links]

According to Andrew J. Browne, "Stravinsky is perhaps the only composer who has raised rhythm in itself to the dignity of art." [Browne 1930, 360]

Stravinsky's rhythm and vitality greatly influenced composer Aaron Copland. [ [http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio3/discoveringmusic/ram/cdm0408appalach.ram BBC Radio 3 programme, "Discovering Music"] near 33:30]


Stravinsky's first neo-classical works were the ballet "Pulcinella" of 1920, and the stripped-down and delicately scored "Octet" for winds of 1923. Stravinsky may have been preceded in his use of neoclassical devices by earlier composers (such as Erik Satie).

By the late 1920s and 1930s, the use by composers of neoclassicism had become widespread.


Stravinsky continued a long tradition, stretching back at least to the fifteenth century in the form of the quodlibet and parody mass, by composing pieces which elaborate on individual works by earlier composers. An early example of this is his "Pulcinella" of 1920, in which he used music which at the time was attributed to Giovanni Pergolesi as source material, at times quoting it directly and at other times reinventing it. He developed the technique further in the ballet "The Fairy's Kiss" of 1928, based on the music—mostly piano pieces—of Tchaikovsky. Later examples of comparable musical transformations include Stravinsky's use of Schubert in "Circus Polka" (1942) and Happy Birthday to You in "Greeting Prelude" (1955).

Folk material

In _fr. "Le Sacre du Printemps" Stravinsky stripped folk themes to their most basic melodic outlines, and often contorted them beyond recognition with added notes, and other techniques including inversion and diminution. Only in recent scholarship, such as described in Richard Taruskin's "Stravinsky and the Russian Traditions",Fact|date=June 2007 have analysts uncovered the original source material for some of the music in "The Rite".


Like many of the late romantic composers, Stravinsky often called for huge orchestral forces, especially in the early ballets. His first breakthrough "The Firebird" proved him the equal of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov and lit the "fuse under the instrumental make up of the 19th century orchestra". In "The Firebird" he took the orchestra apart and analyzed it. [Hazlewood n.d. (External links, below).] "The Rite of Spring" on the other hand has been characterized by Aaron Copland as the foremost orchestral achievement in 20th century. [Copland 1952, 37]

Stravinsky also wrote for unique combinations of instruments in smaller ensembles, chosen for their precise tone colours. For example, "Histoire du soldat" ("The Soldier's Tale") is scored for clarinet, bassoon, cornet, trombone, violin, double bass and percussion, a strikingly unusual combination for 1918.

Stravinsky occasionally exploited the extreme ranges of instruments, most famously at the opening of the "Rite of Spring" where Stravinsky uses the extreme upper reaches of the bassoon to simulate the symbolic "awakening" of a spring morning.


Erik Satie wrote an article about Igor Stravinsky that was published in "Vanity Fair" (1922). Satie had met Stravinsky for the first time in 1910. Satie's attitude towards the Russian composer is marked by deference, as can be seen from the letters he wrote him in 1922, preparing for the "Vanity Fair" article. With a touch of irony, he concluded one of these letters "I admire you: are you not the Great Stravinsky? I am but little Erik Satie." In the published article, Satie argued that measuring the "greatness" of an artist by comparing him to other artists, as if speaking about some "truth", is illusory: every piece of music should be judged on its own merits, not by comparing it to the standards of other composers. That was exactly what Jean Cocteau had done, when commenting deprecatingly on Stravinsky in his 1918 book _fr. "Le Coq et l'Arlequin". [Volta, Ornella. "Satie seen through his letters". London : Boyars, 1989, ISBN 0-7145-2980-X, first pages of chapter on contemporaries.]

According to the "Musical Times" in 1923:

All the signs indicate a strong reaction against the nightmare of noise and eccentricity that was one of the legacies of the war.... What has become of the works that made up the program of the Stravinsky concert which created such a stir a few years ago? Practically the whole lot are already on the shelf, and they will remain there until a few jaded neurotics once more feel a desire to eat ashes and fill their belly with the east wind. ["Musical Times". London, October 1923. Quoted in: Slonimsky, 1953citequote ]

In 1935, American composer Marc Blitzstein compared Stravinsky to Jacopo Peri and C. P. E. Bach, conceding that "There is no denying the greatness of Stravinsky. It is just that he is not great enough". [Blitzstein 1935, 330.] Blitzstein's Marxist position is that Stravinsky's wish was to "divorce music from other streams of life," which is "symptomatic of an escape from reality", resulting in a "loss of stamina his new works show", naming specifically "Apollo", the "Capriccio", and "Le Baiser de la fée". [Blitzstein 1935, 346–47.]

Composer Constant Lambert described pieces such as _fr. "Histoire du soldat" ("The Soldier's Tale") as containing "essentially cold-blooded abstraction". [ Lambert 1936, 94. ] Lambert continued, "melodic fragments in _fr. "Histoire du Soldat" are completely meaningless themselves. They are merely successions of notes that can conveniently be divided into groups of three, five, and seven and set against other mathematical groups", and he described the cadenza for solo drums as "musical purity...achieved by a species of musical castration". He compared Stravinsky's choice of "the drabbest and least significant phrases" to Gertrude Stein's: "Everyday they were gay there, they were regularly gay there everyday" ("Helen Furr and Georgine Skeene", 1922), "whose effect would be equally appreciated by someone with no knowledge of English whatsoever". [ Lambert 1936, 101–105. ]

In his book "Philosophy of Modern Music" (1949), Theodor Adorno called Stravinsky an acrobat, a civil servant, a tailor's dummy, hebephrenic, psychotic, infantile, fascist, and devoted to making money.citequote Part of the composer's error, in Adorno's view, was his neo-classicism, [Adorno 1973, 206–9.] but more important was his music's "pseudomorphism of painting," playing off _fr. "le temps espace" (time-space) rather than _fr. "le temps durée" (time-duration) of Henri Bergson. [Adorno 1973, 191–93.] "One trick characterizes all of Stravinsky's formal endeavors: the effort of his music to portray time as in a circus tableau and to present time complexes as though they were spatial. This trick, however, soon exhausts itself." [Adorno 1973, 195.] His "rhythmic procedures closely resemble the schema of catatonic conditions. In certain schizophrenics, the process by which the motor apparatus becomes independent leads to infinite repetition of gestures or words, following the decay of the ego." [Adorno 1973, 178.]

Stravinsky's reception in Russia and the USSR went back and forth. Performances of his music stopped from around 1933 until the early 1960s, at which point the official position became that one must appreciate Stravinsky [Review: "Searching for Stravinskii's Essence", p.282. Author(s): Simon Karlinsky. Source: "Russian Review", Vol. 44, No. 3, (Jul., 1985), pp. 281-287. Published by: Blackwell Publishing on behalf of The Editors and Board of Trustees of the Russian Review.] .

According to Paul Griffith's "The Rake's Progress" "gives justification in terms of human psychology, and of the realities of the world, for that obsessional need to repeat and return" [Griffith, Paul (1982). "Igor Stravinsky: The Rake's Progress". ISBN 0521281997. Quoted in Pasler (1983), p.608.] .

While Stravinsky's music has been criticized for its range of styles scholars had, "gradually begun to perceive unifying elements in Stravinsky's music," by the 1980s including a, "'seriousness' of 'tone' or of 'purpose'" [Review: "Stravinsky and His Craft: Trends in Stravinsky Criticism and Research", p.608. Author(s): Jann Pasler. Source: "The Musical Times", Vol. 124, No. 1688, Russian Music, (Oct., 1983), pp. 605-609. Published by: Musical Times Publications Ltd.] .


Igor Stravinsky found recordings a practical and useful tool in preserving his own thoughts on the interpretation of his music. As a conductor of his own music, he recorded primarily for Columbia Records, beginning in 1928 with a performance of the original suite from "The Firebird" and concluding in 1967 with the 1945 suite from the same ballet. In the late 1940s, he made several recordings for RCA Victor at the Republic Studios in Los Angeles. Although most of his recordings were made with studio musicians, he also worked with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Cleveland Orchestra, the CBC Symphony Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.




*Adorno, Theodor. 1973. "Philosophy of Modern Music". Translated by Anne G. Mitchell and Wesley V. Blomster. New York: Continuum. ISBN 0-8264-0138-4 Original German edition, as _de. "Philosophie der neuen Musik". Tübingen: J. C. B. Mohr, 1949.
* Anonymous. 1940. "Musical Count". "Time Magazine" (Monday, March 11).
* Blitzstein, Marc. 1935. "The Phenomenon of Stravinsky". "Musical Quarterly" 21, no. 3 (July): 330–47. Reprinted 1991, "Musical Quarterly" 75, no. 4 (Winter): 51-69.
*Browne, Andrew J. 1930. "Aspects of Stravinsky's Work". "Music & Letters" 11, no. 4 (October): 360–66. [http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0027-4224(193010)11%3A4%3C360%3AAOSW%3E2.0.CO%3B2-B Online link] accessed 2007-11-19 (subscription access)
*Cocteau, Jean. 1918. "Le Coq et l'arlequin: notes de la musique". Paris: Éditions de la Sirène. Reprinted 1979, with a preface by Georges Auric. Paris: Stock. ISBN 2234010810 English edition, as "Cock and Harlequin: Notes Concerning Music", translated by Rollo H. Myers, London: Egoist Press, 1921.
*Cohen, Allen. 2004. "Howard Hanson in Theory and Practice". Westport, Conn.: Praeger Publishers. ISBN 0-313-32135-3
*Copland, Aaron. 1952. "Music and Imagination". Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press.
* Craft, Robert. 1993. "Stravinsky: Glimpses of a Life", St Martins Press.
* Craft, Robert. 1997. "Stravinsky: Chronicle of a Friendship". Vanderbilt University Press.
*Dubal, David. 2001. "The Essential Canon of Classical Music". New York: North Point Press.
*Eksteins, Modris. 1989. "Rites of Spring: The Great War and the Modern Era". Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company. ISBN 0-395-49856-2 (Reprinted 1990, New York: Anchor Books ISBN 0-385-41202-9; reprinted 2000, Boston: Mariner Books ISBN 0-395-93758-2)
*Glass, Philip. 1998. “Igor Stravinsky” "Time" (Monday, 8 June).
*Greene, David Mason (1985). "Biographical Encyclopaedia of Composers". New York: Doubleday.
* Holland , Bernard. 2001. "Stravinsky, a Rare Bird Amid the Palms: A Composer in California, at Ease if Not at Home", "The New York Times" (11 March).
*Lambert, Constant. 1936. "Music Ho! A Study of Music in Decline". New York: Charles Scribner's Sons.
*Lawson, Rex. 1986. "Stravinsky and the Pianola", in "Confronting Stravinsky", ed. Pasler. Los Angeles: University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-05403-2.
*Page, Tim. 2006. "Classical Music: Great Composers, a Less-Than-Great Poser and an Operatic Impresario". "Washington Post" (Sunday, 30 July): BW13.
*Robinson, Lisa. 2004. "Opera Double Bill Offers Insight into Stravinsky's Evolution". "The Juilliard Journal Online" 19, no. 7 (April). (No longer accessible as of March 2008.)
*Siegmeister, Elie (ed.). 1943. "The Music Lover's Handbook". New York:William Morrow and Company.
*Slonimsky, Nicolas. 1953. "Lexicon of Musical Invective: Critical Assaults on Composers Since Beethoven's Time". New York: Coleman-Ross. Second edition, New York: Coleman-Ross, 1965, reprinted Washington Paperbacks WP-52, Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1969, reprinted again Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1974 ISBN 0-295-78579-9, and New York: Norton, 2000 ISBN 039332009X (pbk).
*Straus, Joseph N. 2001. "Stravinsky's Late Music". Cambridge Studies in Music Theory and Analysis 16. Cambridge, New York, Port Melbourne, Madrid, and Cape Town: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-80220-2 (cloth) ISBN 0-521-60288-2 (pbk)
*Stravinsky, Igor. 1936. "Chronicle of My Life". London: Gollancz. Reprinted as "An Autobiography (1903-1934)". London: Marion Boyars, 1990. ISBN 0-714-51082-3. Reprinted, New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 1998. ISBN 0-393-31856-7.
*Stravinsky, Igor, and Robert Craft. 1959. "Conversations with Igor Stravinsky". Garden City, NY: Doubleday. OCLC 896750 Reprinted Berkeley: University of California Press, 1980. ISBN 0520040406
*Stravinsky, Igor, and Robert Craft. 1962. "Expositions and Developments". London: Faber & Faber.
*Stravinsky, Igor, and Robert Craft. 1960. "Memories and Commentaries". Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday. Reprinted 1981, Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-04402-9 Reprinted 2002, London: Faber and Faber. ISBN 0571212425
*Strawinsky, Théodore, and Denise Strawinsky. 2004. "Catherine and Igor Stravinsky: A Family Chronicle 1906–1940". New York: Schirmer Trade Books; London: Schirmer Books. ISBN 0825672902
*Taruskin, Richard. 1996. "Stravinsky and the Russian Traditions: A Biography of the Works Through Mavra". Two vols. Berkeley: University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-07099-2
*Volta, Ornella. 1989. "Satie Seen through His Letters". London: Boyars. ISBN 0-7145-2980-X.
*Walsh, Stephen. 2000. "Stravinsky. A Creative Spring: Russia and France 1882-1934". London: Jonathan Cape.
*Walsh, Stephen. 2001. "Stravinsky, Igor." "New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians", 2nd edition. London: MacMillian.
*Wenborn, Neil. 1985. "Stravinsky". London: Omnibus Press. ISBN 0711976511.
*Zappa, Frank, and Peter Occhiogrosso. 1989. "The Real Frank Zappa Book". New York: Poseidon Press. ISBN 067163870X (reprinted twice in 1990, New York: Fireside Books, ISBN 0671705725 and New York: Picador Books ISBN 0330316257)

Further reading

*cite book | last=Cross | first=Jonathan | coauthors= | title=The Stravinsky Legacy | location=Cambridge | publisher=Cambridge University Press | year=1999 | isbn=9780521563659
*cite book | last=Joseph | first=Charles M. | coauthors= | title=Stravinsky Inside Out | location=New Haven | publisher=Yale University Press | year=2001 | isbn=0300075375
*cite book | last=Joseph | first=Charles M. | coauthors= | title=Stravinsky and Balanchine, A Journey of Invention | location=New Haven | publisher=Yale University Press | year=2002 | isbn=0-300-08712-8
*cite journal |last= Kohl|first= Jerome |coauthors= |year= 1979–80|month= |title=Exposition in Stravinsky's Orchestral Variations |journal=Perspectives of New Music |volume=18|issue=1/2|pages=391–405|doi=10.2307/832991|id= |url= http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0031-6016(197923%2F198022)18%3A1%2F2%3C391%3AEISOV%3E2.0.CO%3B2-5|accessdate= 2007-11-19 |quote= (subscription access)
*cite book | last=Kundera | first=Milan | coauthors=Asher, Linda (translator) | title=Testaments Betrayed: An Essay in Nine Parts | location=New York | publisher=HarperCollins | year=1995 |isbn=0060171456
*cite book | last=Kuster | first=Andrew T. | coauthors= | title=Stravinsky's Topology |edition=Univ. of Colorado, Boulder D.M.A. Dissertation| location=Morrisville, NC| publisher=Lulu.com | year=2005 | isbn=1411664582
*cite book | last=Stravinsky | first=Igor | edition= | title=Poetics of Music in the Form of Six Lessons | location=Cambridge, MA | publisher=Harvard University Press | year=1947 | oclc=155726113
*cite book | last=White | first=Eric Walter | edition=Second edition | title=Stravinsky: The Composer and His Works | location=Berkeley and Los Angeles | publisher=University of California Press | year=1979 | isbn=0520039831

External links

*Glass, Philip. 1999. [http://www.time.com/time/time100/artists/profile/stravinsky.html "Igor Stravinsky" ("Time Magazine" profile)]
* [http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F30F1EF93A5F127A93C5A9178FD85F458785F9 NY Times obituary by Donal Henahan, April 7, 1971]
* Hazlewood, Charles. [n.d.] [http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio3/discoveringmusic/ram/cdm0351stravfir.ram Discovering Music - The Firebird]
* [http://www.pianola.org/history/history_stravinsky.cfm Stravinsky and the Pianola]
* [http://www.keepingscore.org/flash/stravinsky/index.html Multimedia Web Site] Keeping Score: Revolutions in Music: Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring"
* [http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio3/classical/tchaikovsky/atoz/ Stravinsky A to Z]
* Simeone, Lisa, with Robert Craft and Philip Glass. [http://www.npr.org/programs/specials/milestones/990416.motm.stravinsky.html "Milestones of the Millennium" (NPR show)]
* van den Toorn, Pieter C. 1987. [http://content.cdlib.org/xtf/view?docId=ft967nb647&brand=eschol Stravinsky and the Rite of Spring]
* [http://radiom.org/detail.php?omid=C.1964.11.16.c1 An audio recording of Stravinsky rehearsing his “Symphonies of Wind Instruments in Memory of Debussy” in Los Angeles, 1947]
* [http://audiovisual.archives.govt.nz/wiki/index.php/IGOR_STRAVINSKY Stravinsky conducting the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra in 1961 (film)]
* [http://podcasts.sonybmgmasterworks.com/category/music-of-masterworks/stravinsky/ Stravinsky Podcast Series by Sony BMG Masterworks ]


* Piano works performed by Alberto Cobo:
** [http://www.superopera.com/mp3/therecital/therecital.htm Three Movements from Petrushka]
** [http://www.superopera.com/Stra/stra.htm Sonata in F-sharp minor]
** [http://www.superopera.com/mp3/pclassics/pclassics.htm Sonata (1924)]
** [http://www.superopera.com/Stra_Tango/Stra_Tango.htm Tango]

* Piano works performed by Felipe Martins:
** [http://www.agenciavitrae.com.br/felipemartins Le Sacre Du Printemps] Arr. for Piano Solo by Sam Raphling

* Three Pieces for Solo Clarinet, performed by Ted Gurch, clarinet:
* [http://www.lunanova.org/podcasts/stravclar1.mp3 No. 1]
* [http://www.lunanova.org/podcasts/stravclar2.mp3 No. 2]
* [http://www.lunanova.org/podcasts/stravclar3.mp3 No. 3]

* Les Noces performed on pianola by Rex Lawson
** [http://otherminds.org/shop/Rexcd.html The Virtuoso Pianolist]

NAME=Stavinsky, Igor Fyodorovich
ALTERNATIVE NAMES= Stravinskij, Igor Fëdorovič
SHORT DESCRIPTION=Russian composer
DATE OF BIRTH=Spring 17 June 1882]
PLACE OF BIRTH=Lomonosov, Russia, Russia
DATE OF DEATH= 6 April 1971
PLACE OF DEATH=New York City, New York, United States

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