Igor Fyodorovich Stravinsky ComSE ( // ; Russian :И́горь Фёдорович Страви́нский,IPA: [ˈiɡərʲ ˈfʲɵdərəvʲɪtɕ strɐˈvʲinskʲɪj] ; 17 June [ O.S. 5 June] 1882 –6 April 1971) was a Russian-born composer, pianist, and conductor. He is widely considered one of the most important and influential composers of the 20th century.
Russian is an East Slavic language, which is official in the Russian Federation, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, as well as being widely used throughout Eastern Europe, the Baltic states, the Caucasus and Central Asia. It was the de facto language of the Soviet Union until its dissolution on 25 December 1991. Although nearly three decades have passed since the breakup of the Soviet Union, Russian is used in official capacity or in public life in all the post-Soviet nation-states, as well as in Israel and Mongolia.
Old Style (O.S.) and New Style (N.S.) are terms sometimes used with dates to indicate that the calendar convention used at the time described is different from that in use at the time the document was being written. There were two calendar changes in Great Britain and its colonies, which may sometimes complicate matters: the first was to change the start of the year from Lady Day to 1 January; the second was to discard the Julian calendar in favour of the Gregorian calendar. Closely related is the custom of dual dating, where writers gave two consecutive years to reflect differences in the starting date of the year, or to include both the Julian and Gregorian dates.
20th-century classical music describes art music that was written nominally from 1901 to 2000. This century was without a dominant style and composers created highly diverse kinds of music. Modernism, impressionism, and post-romanticism can all be traced to the decades before the turn of the century, but can be included because they evolved beyond the musical boundaries of the 19th-century styles that were part of the earlier common practice period. Neoclassicism, and expressionism, came mostly after 1900. Minimalism started much later in the century and can be seen as a change from the modern to post-modern era, although some date post-modernism from as early as ca. 1930. Atonality, serialism, musique concrète and electronic music were all developed during this century. Jazz and folk music were important influences on many composers at this time.
Stravinsky's compositional career was notable for its stylistic diversity. He first achieved international fame with three ballets commissioned by the impresario Serge Diaghilev and first performed in Paris by Diaghilev's Ballets Russes: The Firebird (1910), Petrushka (1911), and The Rite of Spring (1913). The latter 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. His "Russian phase" which continued with works such as Renard , the Soldier's Tale and Les Noces , 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), drawing on earlier styles, especially from the 18th century. 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, and of instrumentation.
An impresario is a person who organizes and often finances concerts, plays, or operas, performing a role similar to that of an artist manager or a film or television producer.
The Ballets Russes was an itinerant ballet company based in Paris that performed between 1909 and 1929 throughout Europe and on tours to North and South America. The company never performed in Russia, where the Revolution disrupted society. After its initial Paris season, the company had no formal ties there.
The Firebird is a ballet and orchestral concert work by the Russian composer Igor Stravinsky. It was written for the 1910 Paris season of Sergei Diaghilev's Ballets Russes company; the original choreography was by Michel Fokine, with a scenario by Alexandre Benois and Fokine based on the Russian fairy tales of the Firebird and the blessing and curse it possesses for its owner. When first performed at the Opéra de Paris on 25 June 1910, the work was an instant success with both audience and critics.
Stravinsky was born on 17 June 1882 in Oranienbaum, a suburb of Saint Petersburg, the Russian imperial capital, [ clarification needed ] [ page needed ]and was brought up in Saint Petersburg. His parents were Fyodor Stravinsky (1843–1902), a well-known bass at the Kiev opera house and the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, and Anna (née Kholodovskaya; 1854–1939), a native of Kiev, one of four daughters of a high-ranking official in the Kiev Ministry of Estates. Fyodor, who was born into a mixed Polish-Russian family, was "descended from a long line of Polish grandees, senators and landowners." It is believed that Stravinsky’s ancestry is traceable back to the 17th and 18th centuries, to the bearers of the Soulima and Strawinski Coat of Arms. Stravinsky's family branch most likely came from Stravinskas, polonized Lithuanian (or Belarussian) land owners, and nobles of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. According to Stravinsky himself, his family originally had a Soulima-Stravinsky surname, and the name "Stravinsky" originated from the word "Strava", which is one of the variants of the Streva River in Lithuania (Trakai and Kaunas District).
Lomonosov is a municipal town in Petrodvortsovy District of the federal city of Saint Petersburg, Russia, located on the southern coast of the Gulf of Finland, 40 kilometers (25 mi) west of Saint Petersburg proper. Population: 42,505 (2010 Census); 37,776 (2002 Census). Lomonosov is the site of the 18th-century royal Oranienbaum park and palace complex, notable as being the only palace in the vicinity of Saint Petersburg that was not captured by Nazi Germany during World War II.
Saint Petersburg is Russia's second-largest city after Moscow, with 5 million inhabitants in 2012, part of the Saint Petersburg agglomeration with a population of 6.2 million (2015). An important Russian port on the Baltic Sea, it has a status of a federal subject.
The Russian Empire, also known as Imperial Russia or simply Russia, was an empire that existed across Eurasia and North America from 1721, following the end of the Great Northern War, until the Republic was proclaimed by the Provisional Government that took power after the February Revolution of 1917.
Stravinsky recalled his schooldays as being lonely, later saying that "I never came across anyone who had any real attraction for me".Stravinsky began piano lessons as a young boy, studying music theory and attempting composition. In 1890, he saw a performance of Tchaikovsky's ballet The Sleeping Beauty at the Mariinsky Theatre. By age fifteen, he had mastered Mendelssohn's Piano Concerto in G minor and finished a piano reduction of a string quartet by Glazunov, who reportedly considered Stravinsky unmusical and thought little of his skills.
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, was a Russian composer of the romantic period, whose works are among the most popular music in the classical repertoire. He was the first Russian composer whose music made a lasting impression internationally, bolstered by his appearances as a guest conductor in Europe and the United States. He was honored in 1884 by Emperor Alexander III, and awarded a lifetime pension.
The Sleeping Beauty is a ballet in a prologue and three acts, first performed in 1890. The music was composed by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. The score was completed in 1889, and is the second of his three ballets. The original scenario was conceived by Ivan Vsevolozhsky, and is based on Charles Perrault's La Belle au bois dormant. The choreographer of the original production was Marius Petipa.
Jakob Ludwig Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy, born and widely known as Felix Mendelssohn, was a German composer, pianist, organist and conductor of the early Romantic period. Mendelssohn's compositions include symphonies, concertos, piano music and chamber music. His best-known works include his Overture and incidental music for A Midsummer Night's Dream, the Italian Symphony, the Scottish Symphony, the oratorio Elijah, the overture The Hebrides, his mature Violin Concerto, and his String Octet. The melody for the Christmas carol "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing" is also his. Mendelssohn's Songs Without Words are his most famous solo piano compositions.
Despite his enthusiasm for music, his parents expected him to study law. Stravinsky enrolled at the University of Saint Petersburg in 1901, but he attended fewer than fifty class sessions during his four years of study.In the summer of 1902, Stravinsky stayed with composer Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov and his family in the German city of Heidelberg, where Rimsky-Korsakov, arguably the leading Russian composer at that time, suggested to Stravinsky that he should not enter the Saint Petersburg Conservatoire but instead study composing by taking private lessons, in large part because of his age. Stravinsky's father died of cancer that year, by which time his son had already begun spending more time on his musical studies than on law. The university was closed for two months in 1905 in the aftermath of Bloody Sunday: Stravinsky was prevented from taking his final law examinations and later received a half-course diploma in April 1906. Thereafter, he concentrated on studying music. In 1905, he began to take twice-weekly private lessons from Rimsky-Korsakov, whom he came to regard as a second father. These lessons continued until Rimsky-Korsakov's death in 1908.
Nikolai Andreyevich Rimsky-Korsakov was a Russian composer, and a member of the group of composers known as The Five. He was a master of orchestration. His best-known orchestral compositions—Capriccio Espagnol, the Russian Easter Festival Overture, and the symphonic suite Scheherazade—are staples of the classical music repertoire, along with suites and excerpts from some of his 15 operas. Scheherazade is an example of his frequent use of fairy-tale and folk subjects.
Heidelberg is a university town in Baden-Württemberg situated on the river Neckar in south-west Germany. In the 2016 census, its population was 159,914, with roughly a quarter of its population being students.
The N. A. Rimsky-Korsakov Saint Petersburg State Conservatory is a music school in Saint Petersburg, Russia. In 2004, the conservatory had around 275 faculty members and 1,400 students.
In 1905, Stravinsky was engaged to his cousin Katherine Gavrylivna Nosenko (called "Katya"), whom he had known since early childhood.In spite of the Orthodox Church's opposition to marriage between first cousins, the couple married on 23 January 1906: their first two children, Fyodor (Theodore) and Ludmila, were born in 1907 and 1908, respectively.
The Eastern Orthodox Church, officially the Orthodox Catholic Church, is the second-largest Christian church, with approximately 200–260 million members. It operates as a communion of autocephalous churches, each governed by its bishops in local synods, although roughly half of Eastern Orthodox Christians live in Russia. The church has no central doctrinal or governmental authority analogous to the Bishop of Rome, but the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople is recognised by all as primus inter pares of the bishops. As one of the oldest religious institutions in the world, the Eastern Orthodox Church has played a prominent role in the history and culture of Eastern and Southeastern Europe, the Caucasus, and the Near East.
In February 1909, two of Stravinsky's orchestral works, the Scherzo fantastique and Feu d'artifice (Fireworks) were performed at a concert in Saint Petersburg, where they were heard by Serge Diaghilev, who was at that time involved in planning to present Russian opera and ballet in Paris. Diaghilev was sufficiently impressed by Fireworks to commission Stravinsky to carry out some orchestrations and then to compose a full-length ballet score, The Firebird.
From approximately 1890 until 1914 the composer frequently visited Ustilug, a town in the modern Volyn Oblast, Ukraine. [ citation needed ]He spent most of his summers there, where his father-in-law had an estate. In 1907, Stravinsky designed and built his own house in Ustilug, which he called "my heavenly place". In this house, Stravinsky worked on seventeen of his early compositions, among them Feu d'artifice, The Firebird, Petrushka , and The Rite of Spring. Recently renovated, the house is now a Stravinsky house-museum open to the public. Many documents, letters, and photographs are on display there, and a Stravinsky Festival is held annually in the nearby town of Lutsk.
Stravinsky became an overnight sensation following the success of the Firebird's premiere in Paris on 25 June 1910. The composer had travelled from his estate in Ustilug to Paris in early June to attend the final rehearsals and the premiere of The Firebird. His family joined him before the end of the ballet season and they decided to remain in the West for a time, as his wife was expecting their third child. After spending the summer in La Baule, Brittany, they moved to Switzerland in early September. On 23 September, their second son, Sviatoslav Soulima, was born at a maternity clinic in Lausanne; at the end of the month, they took up residence in Clarens.
Over the next four years, Stravinsky and his family lived in Russia during the summer months and spent each winter in Switzerland.During this period, Stravinsky composed two further works for the Ballets Russes: Petrushka (1911), and The Rite of Spring (1913). Shortly following the premiere of The Rite of Spring on 29 May 1913, Stravinsky contracted typhoid from eating bad oysters, and was confined to a Paris nursing home, unable to depart for Ustilug until 11 July.
During the remainder of the summer, Stravinsky turned his attention to completing his first opera, the Nightingale (usually known by its French title Le Rossignol), which he had begun in 1908 (that is, before his association with the Ballets Russes).The work had been commissioned by the Moscow Free Theatre for the handsome fee of 10,000 rubles.
The Stravinsky family returned to Switzerland (as usual) in the fall of 1913. On 15 January 1914, a fourth child, Marie Milène (or Maria Milena), was born in Lausanne. After her delivery, Katya was discovered to have tuberculosis and was confined to the sanatorium at Leysin, high in the Alps. Igor and the family took up residence nearby,and he completed Le Rossignol there on 28 March.
In April, they were finally able to return to Clarens.By then, the Moscow Free Theatre had gone bankrupt. As a result, Le Rossignol was first performed under Diaghilev's auspices at the Paris Opéra on 26 May 1914, with sets and costumes designed by Alexandre Benois. Le Rossignol enjoyed only lukewarm success with the public and the critics, apparently because its delicacy did not meet their expectations of the composer of The Riteof Spring. However, composers including Maurice Ravel, Béla Bartók, and Reynaldo Hahn found much to admire in the score's craftsmanship, even alleging to detect the influence of Arnold Schoenberg.
In July, with war looming, Stravinsky made a quick trip to Ustilug to retrieve personal effects including his reference works on Russian folk music. He returned to Switzerland just before national borders closed following the outbreak of World War I.The war and subsequent Russian Revolution made it impossible for Stravinsky to return to his homeland, and he did not set foot upon Russian soil again until October 1962.
In June 1915, Stravinsky and his family moved from Clarens to Morges, a town six miles south-west of Lausanne on the shore of Lake Geneva. The family lived there (at three different addresses) until 1920.
Stravinsky struggled financially during this period. Russia (and its successor, the USSR) did not adhere to the Berne Convention and this created problems for Stravinsky when collecting royalties for the performances of all his Ballets Russes compositions.Stravinsky blamed Diaghilev for his financial troubles, accusing him of failing to live up to the terms of a contract they had signed. He approached the Swiss philanthropist Werner Reinhart for financial assistance while he was writing L'Histoire du soldat (The Soldier's Tale). Reinhart sponsored and largely underwrote its first performance, conducted by Ernest Ansermet on 28 September 1918 at the Théâtre Municipal de Lausanne. In gratitude, Stravinsky dedicated the work to Reinhart and gave him the original manuscript. Reinhart supported Stravinsky further when he funded a series of concerts of his chamber music in 1919: included was a suite from L'Histoire du soldat arranged for violin, piano and clarinet, which was first performed on 8 November 1919, in Lausanne. In gratitude to his benefactor, Stravinsky also dedicated his Three Pieces for Clarinet (October–November 1918) to Reinhart, who was an excellent amateur clarinetist.
Following the premiere of Pulcinella by the Ballets Russes in Paris on 15 May 1920, Stravinsky returned to Switzerland.On 8 June, the entire family left Morges for the last time, and moved to the fishing village of Carantec in Brittany for the summer while also seeking a new home in Paris. On hearing of their dilemma, couturière Coco Chanel invited Stravinsky and his family to reside at her new mansion "Bel Respiro" in the Paris suburb of Garches until they could find a more suitable residence; they arrived during the second week of September. At the same time, Chanel also guaranteed the new (December 1920) Ballets Russes production of Stravinsky's The Riteof Spring with an anonymous gift to Diaghilev, said to have been 300,000 francs.
Stravinsky formed a business and musical relationship with the French piano manufacturing company Pleyel. Pleyel essentially acted as his agent in collecting mechanical royalties for his works and provided him with a monthly income and a studio space at its headquarters in which he could work and entertain friends and business acquaintances.Under the terms of his contract with the company, Stravinsky agreed to arrange (and to some extent re-compose) many of his early works for the Pleyela, Pleyel's brand of player piano. He did so in a way that made full use of all of the piano's eighty-eight notes, without regard for human fingers or hands. The rolls were not recorded, but were instead marked up from a combination of manuscript fragments and handwritten notes by Jacques Larmanjat, musical director of Pleyel's roll department. Among the compositions that were issued on the Pleyela piano rolls are The Rite of Spring, Petrushka, The Firebird, and Song of the Nightingale. During the 1920s, Stravinsky recorded Duo-Art rolls for the Aeolian Company in both London and New York, not all of which have survived.
Patronage was never far away. In the early 1920s, Leopold Stokowski gave Stravinsky regular support through a pseudonymous 'benefactor'.
Stravinsky met Vera de Bosset in Paris in February 1921,while she was married to the painter and stage designer Serge Sudeikin, and they began an affair that led to Vera leaving her husband.
In May 1921, Stravinsky and his family moved to Anglet, near Biarritz, southwestern France.From then until his wife's death in 1939, Stravinsky led a double life, dividing his time between his family in Anglet, and Vera in Paris and on tour. Katya reportedly bore her husband's infidelity "with a mixture of magnanimity, bitterness, and compassion".
In September 1924, Stravinsky bought "an expensive house" in Nice: the Villa des Roses.
From 1931 to 1933, the Stravinskys lived in Voreppe, near Grenoble, southeastern France.
The Stravinskys became French citizens in 1934 and moved to the rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré in Paris.Stravinsky later remembered this last European address as his unhappiest, as his wife's tuberculosis infected both himself and his eldest daughter Ludmila, who died in 1938. Katya, to whom he had been married for 33 years, died of tuberculosis three months later, in March 1939. Stravinsky himself spent five months in hospital, during which time his mother died. During his later years in Paris, Stravinsky had developed professional relationships with key people in the United States: he was already working on his Symphony in C for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and he had agreed to deliver the prestigious Charles Eliot Norton Lectures at Harvard University during the 1939–40 academic year.
Despite the outbreak of World War II on 1 September 1939, the widowed Stravinsky sailed (alone) for the United States at the end of the month, arriving in New York City and thence to Cambridge, Massachusetts, to fulfill his engagement at Harvard. [ page needed ] Vera followed him in January, and they were married in Bedford, Massachusetts, on 9 March 1940.
Stravinsky settled in West Hollywood.He spent more time living in Los Angeles than any other city. He became a naturalized United States citizen in 1945.
Stravinsky had adapted to life in France, but moving to America at the age of 57 was a very different prospect. For a while, he maintained a circle of contacts and émigré friends from Russia, but he 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. Bernard Holland claimed Stravinsky was especially fond of British writers, who visited him in Beverly Hills, "like W.H. Auden, Christopher Isherwood, Dylan Thomas. They shared the composer's taste for hard spirits – especially Aldous Huxley, with whom Stravinsky spoke in French".Stravinsky and Huxley had a tradition of Saturday lunches for west coast avant-garde and luminaries.
Stravinsky's unconventional dominant seventh chord in his arrangement of the "Star-Spangled Banner" led to an incident with the Boston police on 15 January 1944, and he was warned that the authorities could impose a $100 fine upon any "re-arrangement of the national anthem in whole or in part".The police, as it turned out, were wrong. The law in question merely forbade using the national anthem "as dance music, as an exit march, or as a part of a medley of any kind", but the incident soon established itself as a myth, in which Stravinsky was supposedly arrested, held in custody for several nights, and photographed for police records.
Stravinsky's professional life encompassed most of the 20th century, including many of its modern classical music styles, and he influenced composers both during and after his lifetime. Included among his students in the 1940s was the American composer and music educator Robert Strassburg.In 1959, he was awarded the Sonning Award, Denmark's highest musical honour. In the early 1960s his students included Robert Craft and Warren Zevon.
In September 1962, Stravinsky returned to Russia for the first time since 1914, accepting an invitation from the Union of Soviet Composers to conduct six performances in Moscow and Leningrad. During the three-week visit he met with Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev and several leading Soviet composers, including Dmitri Shostakovich and Aram Khachaturian.
In October 1969, Stravinsky relocated to an apartment in Essex House in New York City. Among Stravinsky's final projects was orchestrating two preludes from The Well-Tempered Clavier by Bach, but it was never completed.
On 18 March 1971, Stravinsky was taken to Lenox Hill Hospital with pulmonary edema where he stayed for ten days. On 29 March, he moved into a newly furbished apartment at 920 Fifth Avenue, his first city apartment since living in Paris in 1939. After a period of well being, the edema returned on 4 April and Vera insisted for medical equipment to be installed in the apartment. a.m. on 6 April at the age of 88. The cause on his death certificate is heart failure. A funeral service was held three days later at Frank E. Campbell Funeral Chapel. As per his wishes, he was buried in the Russian corner of the cemetery island of San Michele in northern Italy, several yards from the tomb of Sergei Diaghilev.Stravinsky soon stopped eating and drinking and died at 5:20
He has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and in 1987 he was posthumously awarded the Grammy Award for Lifetime Achievement. He was posthumously inducted into the National Museum of Dance's Mr. & Mrs. Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney Hall of Fame in 2004.
Stravinsky's output is typically divided into three general style periods: a Russian period, a neoclassical period, and a serial period.
Aside from a very few surviving earlier works, Stravinsky's Russian period, sometimes called primitive period, began with compositions undertaken under the tutelage of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, with whom he studied from 1905 until Rimsky's death in 1908, including the orchestral works Symphony in E♭ major (1907), Faun and Shepherdess (for mezzo-soprano and orchestra; 1907), Scherzo fantastique (1908), and Feu d'artifice (1908/9). These works clearly reveal the influence of Rimsky-Korsakov, but as Richard Taruskin has shown, they also reveal Stravinsky's knowledge of music by Glazunov, Taneyev, Tchaikovsky, Wagner, Dvořák, and Debussy, among others.
In 1908, Stravinsky composed Funeral Song (Погребальная песня), Op. 5 to commemorate the death of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov. The piece premiered 17 January 1909 in the Grand Hall of the Saint Petersburg Conservatory but was then lost until September 2015, when it resurfaced in a back room of the city's Conservatoire.It was played again for the first time in over a century on 2 December 2016. The rediscovery generated much enthusiasm and, as a result, over 25 performances are scheduled in 2017 and beyond.
Performances in St. Petersburg of Scherzo fantastique and Feu d'artifice attracted the attention of Serge Diaghilev, who commissioned Stravinsky to orchestrate two piano works of Chopin for the ballet Les Sylphides to be presented in the 1909 debut "Saison Russe" of his new ballet company.
The Firebird was first performed at the Paris Opéra on 25 June 1910 by Diaghilev's Ballets Russes. Like Stravinsky's earlier student works, The Firebird continued to look backward to Rimsky-Korsakov not only in its orchestration, but also in its overall structure, harmonic organization, and melodic content.
According to Taruskin, Stravinsky's second ballet for the Ballet Russes, Petrushka, is where "Stravinsky at last became Stravinsky."
The music itself makes significant use of a number of Russian folk tunes in addition to two waltzes by Viennese composer Joseph Lanner and a French music hall tune (La Jambe en bois or The Wooden Leg).
In April 1915, Stravinsky received a commission from Winnaretta Singer (Princesse Edmond de Polignac) for a small-scale theatrical work to be performed in her Paris salon. The result was Renard (1916), which he called "A burlesque in song and dance". [ citation needed ]Renard was Stravinsky's first venture into experimental theatre: the composer's preface to the score specifies a trestle stage on which all the performers (including the instrumentalists) were to appear simultaneously and continuously.
Apollon musagète (1928), Perséphone (1933) and Orpheus (1947) exemplify not only Stravinsky's return to the music of the Classical period but also his exploration of themes from the ancient Classical world, such as Greek mythology. Important works in this period include the Octet (1923), the Concerto for Piano and Winds (1924), the Serenade in A (1925), and Symphony of Psalms (1930).
In 1951, he completed his last neoclassical work, the opera The Rake's Progress to a libretto by W.H. Auden and Chester Kallman based on the etchings of William Hogarth. It premiered in Venice that year and was produced around Europe the following year before being staged in the New York Metropolitan Opera in 1953. [ citation needed ]It was staged by the Santa Fe Opera in a 1962 Stravinsky Festival in honor of the composer's 80th birthday and was revived by the Metropolitan Opera in 1997.
In the 1950s, Stravinsky began using serial compositional techniques such as dodecaphony, the twelve-tone technique originally devised by Arnold Schoenberg.He first experimented with non-twelve-tone serial techniques in small-scale vocal and chamber works such as the Cantata (1952), the Septet (1953) and Three Songs from Shakespeare (1953). The first of his compositions fully based on such techniques was In Memoriam Dylan Thomas (1954). Agon (1954–57) was the first of his works to include a twelve-tone series and Canticum Sacrum (1955) was the first piece to contain a movement entirely based on a tone row. Stravinsky expanded his use of dodecaphony in works such as Threni (1958) and A Sermon, a Narrative and a Prayer (1961), which are based on biblical texts, and The Flood (1962), which mixes brief biblical texts from the Book of Genesis with passages from the York and Chester Mystery Plays.
Stravinsky has been called "one of music's truly epochal innovators".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'.
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 metre. A similar technique can be found as early as the 16th 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.
The Rite of Spring is notable for its relentless use of ostinati, for example in the eighth-note ostinato on strings accented by eight horns in the section "Augurs 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 (1913).According to the composer Philip Glass, "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 mentions Stravinsky's "primitive, offbeat rhythmic drive". According to Andrew J. Browne, "Stravinsky is perhaps the only composer who has raised rhythm in itself to the dignity of art". Stravinsky's rhythm and vitality greatly influenced the composer Aaron Copland.
Over the course of his career, Stravinsky called for a wide variety of orchestral, instrumental, and vocal forces, ranging from single instruments in such works as Three Pieces for Clarinet (1918) or Elegy for Solo Viola (1944) to the enormous orchestra of TheRite of Spring (1913), which Aaron Copland characterized as "the foremost orchestral achievement of the 20th century."
Stravinsky’s creation of unique and idiosyncratic ensembles arising from the specific musical nature of individual works is a basic element of his style.[ citation needed ]
Following the model of his teacher, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, Stravinsky’s student works such as the Symphony in E♭, Op. 1 (1907), Scherzo fantastique , Op. 3 (1908), and Fireworks (Feu d'artifice), Op. 4 (1908), call for large orchestral forces. This is not surprising, as the works were as much exercises in orchestration as in composition.[ citation needed ] The Symphony, for example, calls for 3 flutes (3rd doubles piccolo); 2 oboes; 3 clarinets in B♭; 2 bassoons; 4 horns in F; 3 trumpets in B♭; 3 trombones, tuba, timpani, bass drum, triangle, cymbals, and strings. The Scherzo fantastique calls for a slightly larger orchestra but completely omits trombones: this was Stravinsky’s response to Rimsky’s criticism of their overuse in the Symphony.
The three ballets composed for Diaghilev's Ballets Russes call for particularly large orchestras:
Stravinsky displayed a taste in literature that 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 W.H. Auden, T.S. Eliot, and medieval English verse.
He also had an inexhaustible desire to explore and learn about art, 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 Pablo Picasso ( Pulcinella , 1920), Jean Cocteau ( Oedipus Rex , 1927), and George Balanchine ( Apollon musagète , 1928). His interest in art propelled him to develop a strong relationship with Picasso, whom he met in 1917, announcing that in "a whirlpool of artistic enthusiasm and excitement I at last met Picasso." [ not in citation given ] From 1917 to 1920, the two engaged in an artistic dialogue in which they exchanged small-scale works of art to each other as a sign of intimacy, which included the famous portrait of Stravinsky by Picasso, and Stravinsky's "Sketch of Music for the Clarinet". This exchange was essential to establish how the artists would approach their collaborative space in Pulcinella. [ page needed ]
The young Stravinsky was sympathetic to bourgeois liberalism and the aims of the Constitutional Democratic Party, even composing an anthem for the Russian Provisional Government, before shifting heavily towards the right following the October Revolution. [ page needed ]In 1930, he remarked, "I don't believe that anyone venerates Mussolini more than I ... I know many exalted personages, and my artist's mind does not shrink from political and social issues. Well, after having seen so many events and so many more or less representative men, I have an overpowering urge to render homage to your Duce. He is the saviour of Italy and – let us hope – Europe". Later, after a private audience with Mussolini, he added, "Unless my ears deceive me, the voice of Rome is the voice of Il Duce. I told him that I felt like a fascist myself... In spite of being extremely busy, Mussolini did me the great honour of conversing with me for three-quarters of an hour. We talked about music, art and politics". When the Nazis placed Stravinsky's works on the list of "Entartete Musik", he lodged a formal appeal to establish his Russian genealogy and declared, "I loathe all communism, Marxism, the execrable Soviet monster, and also all liberalism, democratism, atheism, etc."
Upon relocating to America in the 1940s, Stravinsky again embraced the liberalism of his youth, remarking that Europeans "can have their generalissimos and Führers. Leave me Mr. Truman and I'm satisfied."Towards the end of his life, at Craft's behest, Stravinsky made a return visit to his native country and composed a cantata in Hebrew, travelling to Israel for its performance.
Stravinsky proved adept at playing the part of a 'man of the world', acquiring a keen instinct for business matters and appearing relaxed and comfortable in public. His successful career as a pianist and conductor took him to many of the world's major cities, including Paris, Venice, Berlin, London, Amsterdam and New York and he was known for his polite, courteous and helpful manner. Stravinsky was reputed to have been a philanderer and was rumoured to have had affairs with high-profile partners, such as Coco Chanel. He never referred to it himself, but Chanel spoke about the alleged affair at length to her biographer Paul Morand in 1946; the conversation was published thirty years later. [ page needed ]The accuracy of Chanel's claims has been disputed by both Stravinsky's widow, Vera, and by Craft. Chanel's fashion house avers there is no evidence that any affair between Chanel and Stravinsky ever occurred. A fictionalization of the supposed affair formed the basis of the novel Coco and Igor (2002) and a film, Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky (2009). Despite these alleged liaisons, Stravinsky was considered a family man and devoted to his children.
Stravinsky was a devout member of the Russian Orthodox Church during most of his life, remarking at one time that, "Music praises God. Music is well or better able to praise him than the building of the church and all its decoration; it is the Church's greatest ornament".
Although Stravinsky was not outspoken about his faith, he was a deeply religious man throughout some periods of his life. As a child, he was brought up by his parents in the Russian Orthodox Church. Baptized at birth, he later rebelled against the Church and abandoned it by the time he was fourteen or fifteen years old.Throughout the rise of his career he was estranged from Christianity and it was not until he reached his early forties that he experienced a spiritual crisis. After befriending a Russian Orthodox priest, Father Nicholas, after his move to Nice in 1924, he reconnected with his faith. He rejoined the Russian Orthodox Church and afterwards remained a committed Christian. Robert Craft noted that Stravinsky prayed daily, before and after composing, and also prayed when facing difficulty. Towards the end of his life, he was no longer able to attend church services. In his late seventies, Stravinsky said:
I cannot now evaluate the events that, at the end of those thirty years, made me discover the necessity of religious belief. I was not reasoned into my disposition. Though I admire the structured thought of theology (Anselm's proof in the Fides Quaerens Intellectum , for instance) it is to religion no more than counterpoint exercises are to music. I do not believe in bridges of reason or, indeed, in any form of extrapolation in religious matters. ... I can say, however, that for some years before my actual "conversion", a mood of acceptance had been cultivated in me by a reading of the Gospels and by other religious literature.
If Stravinsky's stated intention was "to send them all to hell",then he may have rated the 1913 premiere of The Riteof Spring as a success: it is a famous classical music riot and Stravinsky referred to it on several occasions in his autobiography as a scandale. There were reports of fistfights in the audience and the need for a police presence during the second act. The real extent of the tumult is open to debate and the reports may be apocryphal.
In 1998, Time magazine named Stavinsky as one of the 100 most influential people of the century. [ page needed ]In addition to the recognition he received for his compositions, he achieved fame as a pianist and a conductor, often at the premieres of his works. In 1923, Erik Satie wrote an article about Igor Stravinsky in Vanity Fair . Satie had met Stravinsky for the first time in 1910. 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 and that every piece of music should be judged on its own merits and not by comparing it to the standards of other composers. That was exactly what Jean Cocteau did when he commented deprecatingly on Stravinsky in his 1918 book, Le Coq et l'Arlequin.
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 (for example) 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.
In 1935, the 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's Marxist position was that Stravinsky's wish to "divorce music from other streams of life", which is "symptomatic of an escape from reality", resulted in a "loss of stamina", naming specifically Apollo , the Capriccio, and Le Baiser de la fée .
The composer Constant Lambert described pieces such as L'Histoire du soldat as containing "essentially cold-blooded abstraction".Lambert continued, "melodic fragments in 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".
In his 1949 book Philosophy of Modern Music, Theodor W. Adorno described Stravinsky as an acrobat and spoke of hebephrenic and psychotic traits in several of Stravinsky's works. Contrary to a common misconception, Adorno didn't believe the hebephrenic and psychotic imitations that the music was supposed to contain were its main fault, as he pointed out in a postscript that he added later to his book. Adorno's criticism of Stravinsky is more concerned with the "transition to positivity" Adorno found in his neoclassical works.Part of the composer's error, in Adorno's view, was his neoclassicism, but of greater importance was his music's "pseudomorphism of painting", playing off le temps espace (time-space) rather than le temps durée (time-duration) of Henri Bergson. According to Adorno, "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 maintained that the "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".
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, Yekaterina Furtseva, ordered Soviet musicians to "study and admire" Stravinsky's music and she made hostility toward it a potential offence.[ specify ] 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. Earlier writers, such as Aaron Copland, Elliott Carter, and Boris de Schloezer held somewhat unfavorable views of Stravinsky's works, and Virgil Thomson, writing in Modern Music (a quarterly review published between 1925 and 1946), could find only a common "'seriousness' of 'tone' or of 'purpose', 'the exact correlation between the goal and the means', or a dry 'ant-like neatness'".
Stravinsky was honored in 1982 by the United States Postal Service with a 2¢ postage stamp in the Great Americans series.
Igor Stravinsky found recordings a practical and useful tool in preserving his 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, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the Bavarian Broadcasting Symphony Orchestra.
During his lifetime, Stravinsky appeared on several telecasts, including the 1962 world premiere of The Flood on CBS Television. Although he made an appearance, the actual performance was conducted by Robert Craft.Numerous films and videos of the composer have been preserved.
Stravinsky published a number of books throughout his career, almost always with the aid of a (sometimes uncredited) collaborator. In his 1936 autobiography, Chronicle of My Life, which was written with the help of Walter Nouvel, Stravinsky included his well-known statement that "music is, by its very nature, essentially powerless to express anything at all".With Alexis Roland-Manuel and Pierre Souvtchinsky, he wrote his 1939–40 Harvard University Charles Eliot Norton Lectures, which were delivered in French and first collected under the title Poétique musicale in 1942 and then translated in 1947 as Poetics of Music. In 1959, several interviews between the composer and Robert Craft were published as Conversations with Igor Stravinsky, which was followed by a further five volumes over the following decade. A collection of Stravinsky's writings and interviews appears under the title Confidences sur la musique (Actes Sud, 2013).
The Stravinsky family, like the name, is Polish, a fact which needs to be stressed in view of recent and perfectly understandable attempts by Kiev scholars to claim Stravinsky as a Ukrainian of Cossack lineage. The so-called Soulima-Stravinskys are more accurately described as ‘Strawinscy Herbu Sulima,’ to adopt for the moment the old Polish spelling of the two names: that is, the Strawinscy family with the Sulima coat-of-arms. This simply means, for our purposes, that this branch of the Strawinscys claimed descent from the more ancient – probably German – house of Sulima. Stefan Strawinski traced the family tree back to the late sixteenth century, when the Strawinscys held high state office, in a kingdom where there were no hereditary titles and power was symbolized by honorific titles associated with purely ceremonial duties.
Sergei Sergeyevich Prokofiev was a Russian Soviet composer, pianist and conductor. As the creator of acknowledged masterpieces across numerous musical genres, he is regarded as one of the major composers of the 20th century. His works include such widely heard pieces as the March from The Love for Three Oranges, the suite Lieutenant Kijé, the ballet Romeo and Juliet—from which "Dance of the Knights" is taken—and Peter and the Wolf. Of the established forms and genres in which he worked, he created – excluding juvenilia – seven completed operas, seven symphonies, eight ballets, five piano concertos, two violin concertos, a cello concerto, a symphony-concerto for cello and orchestra, and nine completed piano sonatas.
Sergei Pavlovich Diaghilev, usually referred to outside Russia as Serge Diaghilev, was a Russian art critic, patron, ballet impresario and founder of the Ballets Russes, from which many famous dancers and choreographers would arise.
Ernest Alexandre Ansermet was a Swiss conductor.
The Rite of Spring is a ballet and orchestral concert work by Russian composer Igor Stravinsky. It was written for the 1913 Paris season of Sergei Diaghilev's Ballets Russes company; the original choreography was by Vaslav Nijinsky with stage designs and costumes by Nicholas Roerich. When first performed at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées on 29 May 1913, the avant-garde nature of the music and choreography caused a sensation. Many have called the first-night reaction a "riot" or "near-riot," though this wording did not come about until reviews of later performances in 1924, over a decade later. Although designed as a work for the stage, with specific passages accompanying characters and action, the music achieved equal if not greater recognition as a concert piece and is widely considered to be one of the most influential musical works of the 20th century.
Petrushka is a ballet, or more exactly scènes burlesques, in four scenes. It was composed in 1910–11 and revised in 1946. Igor Stravinsky composed the music, and, with Alexandre Benois, fashioned the libretto. Michel Fokine choreographed the ballet; Benois designed the sets and costumes. Petrushka was first performed by Sergei Diaghilev's Ballets Russes at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris on 13 June 1911. Vaslav Nijinsky portrayed Petrushka with Tamara Karsavina as the Ballerina. Alexander Orlov portrayed the Moor, and Enrico Cecchetti the Charlatan.
Tamara Platonovna Karsavina was a Russian prima ballerina, renowned for her beauty, who was a principal artist of the Imperial Russian Ballet and later of the Ballets Russes of Serge Diaghilev. After settling in Britain at Hampstead in London, she began teaching ballet professionally and became recognised as one of the founders of modern British ballet. She assisted in the establishment of The Royal Ballet and was a founder member of the Royal Academy of Dance, which is now the world's largest dance-teaching organisation.
Les Noces is a ballet and orchestral concert work composed by Igor Stravinsky for percussion, pianists, chorus, and vocal soloists. The composer gave it the descriptive title "Choreographed Scenes with Music and Voices" and dedicated it to impresario Sergei Diaghilev. Though initially intended to serve as a ballet score, it is often performed without dance.
Renard, Histoire burlesque chantée et jouée is a one-act chamber opera-ballet by Igor Stravinsky, written in 1916. The Russian text by the composer was based on Russian folk tales from the collection by Alexander Afanasyev.
Les cinq doigts is a 1921 piano composition by Igor Stravinsky. Subtitled 8 mélodies très faciles sur 5 notes, the work comprises eight short pieces in which the right hand generally plays only five notes, remaining in essentially the same position at the keyboard throughout the work. The movements of the work have these tempo markings:
Trois mouvements de Petrouchka or Three Movements from Petrushka is an arrangement for piano of music from the ballet Petrushka by the composer Igor Stravinsky for the pianist Arthur Rubinstein.
The Nightingale is a Russian conte lyrique in three acts by Igor Stravinsky. The libretto, based on the tale of The Nightingale by Hans Christian Andersen, was written by the composer and Stepan Mitussov. It was first performed on 26 May 1914 by the Ballets Russes at the Palais Garnier in Paris.
Le chant du rossignol is a symphonic poem written by Igor Stravinsky in 1917. The score is adapted from his earlier work, Le rossignol, an opera from 1914. The opera, based on Hans Christian Andersen's tale The Nightingale, is set in three acts, told from the point of view of a Chinese fisherman. In the orchestral version, Stravinsky mostly uses music from acts two and three.
Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky is a 2009 French film directed by Jan Kounen. It was chosen as the Closing Film of the 2009 Cannes Film Festival, and was shown on 24 May 2009.
Coco and Igor is a 2002 novel by Chris Greenhalgh. Set mainly in Paris in 1920, it is based on a possible real-life affair between Coco Chanel and Igor Stravinsky.
Le pas d'acier, Op. 41, is a 1926 ballet in two scenes containing 11 dances composed by Sergei Prokofiev. Prokofiev also created an orchestral four movement suite from the ballet.
The Octet for wind instruments is a chamber-music composition by Igor Stravinsky, completed in 1923.
Scherzo fantastique, op. 3, composed in 1908, is the second orchestral work by Igor Stravinsky. It was inspired by Maurice Maeterlinck's 1901 essay "La Vie des Abeilles", which Stravinsky and his wife Catherine Nossenko read in 1907. Ten years later, Léo Staats adapted it as a ballet for the Opéra Garnier, with the title Les Abeilles.
Valse des fleurs is a short composition for two pianos by Russian composer Igor Stravinsky. It was completed in 1914.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Igor Stravinsky .|
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: Igor Stravinsky|
|Wikisource has the text of a 1922 Encyclopædia Britannica article about Igor Stravinsky .|
The Ekstrom Collection of the Diaghilev and Stravinsky Foundation is held by the Victoria and Albert Museum London, Department of Theatre and Performance. A full catalogue and details of access arrangements are available here.