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IGOR stravinsky _1882-1971_

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					IGOR STRAVINSKY (1882-1971)

I. Life
    A. Early life spent in St. Petersburg, Russia
    B. Russian ballet period (1910-1920)
        1. Achieved international fame through his early ballets
        2. Association with Sergei Diaghilev
                a. Diaghilev sought out the most progressive artists he could find to
                provide the choreography, sets, and music for his ballet company, the
                Ballets russes
                b. Stravinsky and his music came to Diaghilev’s attention in 1909
                c. The young musician quickly became the ballet company’s principal
                composer
                d. Ballets russes became the focus of his musical activity for ten years
        3. Three most important ballets are The Firebird (1910) Petrushka (1911)
        and The Rite of Spring (1913)
                a. All are based on Russian folk tales
                b. Employ the large, colorful orchestra inherited from the nineteenth
                century
                c. Emphasize the “primitive” or heavy, driving force of Russian folk
                dancing
    C. Russian Revolution of 1917 left him an expatriate
    D. Neo-classical period (1920-1951)
        1. Adapted classical forms to fit twentieth-century techniques
        2. Required a smaller orchestra than the one needed to perform for his
        ballets
    E. During his adult life he lived in Paris, Venice, Lausanne (Switzerland), New
    York, and Hollywood
        1. Became a French citizen in 1934
        2. Moved to the U. S. at the outbreak of World War II and became a citizen
        in 1945
    F. Twelve-tone period (1951-1971) used the serial style of composing
    G. Associated with the most significant and fashionable artistic circles
        1. Friends included Pablo Picasso, Aldous Huxley, Dylan Thomas, and T. S.
        Eliot
        2. In 1962 he was honored by President Kennedy at the White House and
        Premier Khrushchev at the Kremlin
    H. Died in New York
II. Reputation
    A. Because of his music and influence on other composers, he may be the
    century’s most significant composer
    B. Created masterpieces in many different genres
III. Le Sacre du Printemps (The Rite of Spring) (1913)
    A. Historical background
        1. Marks the beginning of “contemporary music”
        2. Premiered in Paris (May 29, 1913)
                a. This concert is among the most notorious in the history of music,
                causing a riot among the audience
                b. Members of the audience engaged in fist fights and cat-calls
                c. The disturbance from the audience was so loud that the dancers
                could hardly hear the rhythmic pulse
                d. A reaction to the modernist choreography of Vaslav Nijinsky as well
                as Stravinky’s score
   3. Stravinsky extracted the choreography and had it performed as an
   orchestral suite
   4. Fantasia, a 1940 film by Walt Disney, used this score for an important
   segment
B. Analysis
   1. Nationalistic elements
          a. Ballet’s plot intended to evoke the atmosphere and ritual of pagan
          Russia
          b. Based many of his themes and motivic gestures on Russian folk
          songs and fragments
   2. Revolutionary techniques
          a. Percussive orchestra
                  (1.) Percussion section enlarged
                  (2.) Strings play in an accented, rather than lyrical, manner
          b. Irregular accents
                  (1.) Explosive syncopations
                  (2.) Deliberately destroys any sense of metrical pulse
          c. Polyrhythms and polymeters
                  (1.) Superimposed two or more independent rhythms
                  simultaneously
                  (2.) Individual parts sometimes project distinctly different
                  meters, each with a different time signature
          d. Ostinato figures
                  (1.) The Rite of Spring is not the first to use rhythmic
                  ostinatos, but they are employed here with greater frequency
                  and length then earlier works
                  (2.) Gives the music its incessant, driving quality
          e. Dissonant polychords
                  (1.) Two chords (either two triads or a triad and a seventh
                  chord)) sound simultaneously
                  (2.) Especially apparent during the beginning of “Augurs of
                  Spring”

				
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posted:10/1/2011
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