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Igor Fydorovitch Stravinsky (1882-1971) A. Beginnings and First Period 1. Born in Oranienbaum, Russia near St. Petersburg 2. Father was a bass singer at the Mariinsky Theater, but Stravinsky was raised to be a lawyer 3. At the age of 20 (1902) Stravinsky became the student of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov 4. In 1906, he married his cousin Katerina Nossenko, with whom he had four children (Feodor, Ludmilla, and later a son Soulima and a 2nd daughter, Maria Milena). Katerina contracted tuberculosis and infected Ludmilla. Ludmilla died in 1938 and Katerina the following year. 5. His wedding gift to Rimsky’s daughter Nadezhda and the Russian composer Maximillian Steinberg in 1908 (an orchestral work titled “Fireworks”) came to the attention of Diaghelev. Initial assignments were simple orchestrations. Rimsky-Korsakov died just before the wedding. 6. Diaghelev assigned Stravinsky to compose L’oiseau de feu, taking the assignment away from Liadov, who had procrastinated for almost a year. 7. The three early ballets are: a. The Firebird (1910) i. Most indebted to Rimsky-Korsakov ii. Large orchestra iii. Stravinsky later extracted several suites, the most popular of which is the 1919 Suite. He lost control of this work with the advent of the Russian Revolution and loss of copyright. He compiled another suite in 1945 which is less successful. b. Petrushka (1911) i. ballet in four tableaux ii. some of the music was originally intended as a piano concerto iii. Like Firebird, Stravinsky lost control of the copyright and issued a new version in 1947 iv. Petrushka is a doll with human feelings. Petrushka loves The Ballerina. He affections are unrequited, as the Ballerina loves The Moor. v. vi. vii. viii. Sets by Benois Choreography by Mikhail Fokine The title role was created by Vaslav Njinsky (1890-1950) Famous for the bitonal “Petrushka chord” which is C major overlayed on F# Major. The two chords are contained within the octatonic scale which was first “discovered” by Rimsky-Korsakov (for example, the scale: c c# d# e f# g a a#) c. Le Sacre du printemps (1913) i. The most revolutionary of the three early ballets ii. Original idea conceived in 1910 while Stravinsky was working on The Firebird iii. Collaborated with folklorist Nikiolai Roerich to develop the scenario. Basic scenario is of an ancient pagan Russian tribe which propitiates Spring through the selection of a Chosen One (a virgin) who dances herself to death before the tribe. iv. Structured in two large parts. Part I has eight sections, Part II has six. Composed for the largest orchestra Stravinsky ever employed. v. Premiere conducted by Pierre Monteux provoked a riot vi. The choreography by Vaslav Nijinsky, departed from classical ballet. Nijinsky used circle dances, stamping dances and turned-in feet (as opposed to turn-out in ballet) to create the choreography. The orginal choreography is seldom performed, today. vii. Stravinsky received only $1,200 in royalties from Disney for the use of The Rite in the animated film Fantasia! Stravinsky detested the way the music was used, especially because of the large cuts. B. Style Periods—Stravinsky’s output can be divided into three distinct style-periods 1. Primitive, or Russian Period. These works are marked by Russian folk music or folk lore origins. a. Examples include the three ballets (see above) b. Renard c. A Soldier’s Tale d. Les Noce 2. Neo-Classical Period—this period overlaps somewhat with the Primitive or Russian Period, and in fact, so authors classify some of the works listed above as “Neoclassic”. Important works include: a. Pulcinella—based on the music of Pergolesi b. Octet c. Oedipus Rex— (1927) libretto by Jean Cocteau d. Concerto in E-Flat (Dumbarton Oaks)—this concerto was inspired by the Bach Brandenburg concerti. It was commissioned by Robert Woods Bliss and is named for his estate. The premiere was conducted by Nadia Boulanger. e. several ballets and symphonies f. The Rake’s Progress—opera, based on the series of etchings by Hogarth. 3. Serial Period—After the death of Arnold Schoenberg in 1951, Stravinsky began to experiment with serial composition. Works from this last period include “ a. The Flood b. Threni c. Agon (ballet) C. Personal Life and Collaborations 1. In 1906, when he was young, he married his cousin, Katerina Nossenko. The marriage lasted 33 years, but his true love, and partner, was Vera de Bosset. She was married to the stage designer Serge Sudeikin, but she left her husband for Stravinsky. Katerina was aware of the Stravinsky’s double life (she never left Russia), and Stravinsky divided his time between his first family in Russia and Vera until Katerina died. Then he married Vera in New York City, where they had gone to escape WWII. 2. Stravinsky collaborated with some of the greatest artistic names of the 20th century, including: a. Sergei Diaghilev (impresario of the Ballet Russe) b. Pablo Picasso (perhaps the greatest painter of the 20th c., who did the sets for Pulcinella) c. Jean Cocteau (the great author and film director who wrote the libretto for Oedipus Rex) d. George Balanchine (one of the greatest choreographers, who did the choreography for Apollon Musagete) e. W.H. Auden (the great English poet and the librettist for The Rake’s Progress) f. Wealthy philanthropist/conductors such as Leopold Stokowski and Serge Koussevitsky. 3. Stravinsky was Russian born, but he held French citizenship and later American citizenship 4. Stravinsky was an active conductor, mostly of his own music, as well as a composer. He was also a writer. His most famous theoretical work is Poetics in Music, which he wrote with the help of Alexis Roland-Manuel. In Poetics, he claimed that music was incapable of expressing anything but itself. Robert Craft, who introduced Stravinsky to serialism and was his assistant conductor, transcribed several interviews with Stravinsky into books. With Craft, he collaborated on Conversations with Stravinsky. 5. He lived most of his American years in Hollywood. He died in New York and was buried in Venice. D. Influence 1. Stravinsky’s life spanned much of the 20th century. He embraced many compositional styles, and his eclecticism made him influential in a number of style trends of the 20th c. He was a Nationalist. He revolutionized ballet, which he inherited as a romantic 19th century idiom and which he transformed in several ways. He pioneered new techniques in orchestration, extending the ideas he inherited from his teacher Rimsky-Korsakov. 2. He developed important compositional techniques such as: a. Bitonality (music in two keys simultaneously) b. Ostinati (even multiple ostinati) c. Stravinsky often reduced source material to its most basic melodic elements. By adding notes or using inversion and/or diminution, would disguise the material almost beyond recognition. d. pastiche (layering and/or quotation of musical ideas) which he pioneered as early Pulcinella (1920). In this work, he used quotation and parody of music by Pergolesi.