Tag Archives: Stravinsky

“The Russian Essence”

This is Igor Stravinsky. He spent the first 28 years in Russia, next 29 in Switzerland and France, and last 32 in the United States.

flickr photo

In case you don’t know who Stravinsky is (and you probably do if not only for his prolific music), he was a prominent composer in the twentieth century (you probably know his Firebird suite clips from Fantasia 2000).

In the article, Just How Russian Was Stravinsky?, Taruskin ponders the use of Russian as an apt title for Stravinsky. To illustrate, it is pointed out that the Russian maestro is not Russian, conductor Gergiev is Ossetian. Stravinsky himself fought the Russian reputation most fervently of anyone else. Why would folks continue to praise the Russian composer?

There’s Russian influence in his earliest periods of course–listeners cannot deny. When he moved to Paris, he capitalized on the Russian culture craze (exotic!) and created 3 great “Russian” ballet scores. They were never performed in Russia.

Stravinsky was in pursuit of the argument that Russian music didn’t have to sound Russian–and yet he used folk songs (as Russian as could be!) in his pieces. After the Bolshevik coup and his first flop, Stravinsky decided that he would never go home, and would furthermore stop the Russian reputation.

There’s more of course, but I’ll read on and encourage you to do the same.

Ah, love of music history!



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