Stravinsky ballet dating from 1911 Melbourne cam to cam chat
A Russian émigré who held the Soviet Union in fathomless contempt, he spent most of his adult life in France and the U.
S., cultivating an image of stylistic statelessness and claiming to be a citizen of the musical world; in return, composers throughout the West adopted his “international style” of tonal modernism.
Accordingly, his next collaboration with Fokine, (1911), in which Vaslav Nijinsky danced the title role of a melancholy puppet that comes to life, was a far more adventurous production, fusing Russian folk and popular tunes and cracklingly bitonal harmonies into an arrestingly fresh, unambiguously modern whole.
Stravinsky was hardly the only composer of his generation longing to escape from the claustrophobic cul-de-sac of post-Wagnerian romanticism, with its congested orchestral palette, ultrasaturated chromatic harmonies, and hyperelaborate formal structures.
The group’s aesthetic, as Walsh explains, was sharply at odds with the cultural orthodoxies of late Czarist Russia: embodied what amounted to a radical conservatism in its attitude to art and design; it sought to restore the “old” ideal of beauty to its place at the very center of artistic consideration. that the world could be changed for the better by right-minded art.
It concerned itself exclusively with questions of design, color, and form, and had no truck with social or political goals, did not bother its head about the psychology of perception or the existentialist agony, and did not believe . A born impresario who found in the Ballets Russes the ideal outlet for his creative energies, Diaghilev was looking for a young composer to supply “advanced” music for an all-Russian ballet to be choreographed by Michel Fokine.
Although Stravinsky’s conversion in the late 50’s to Schoenbergian serialism kept his avant-garde stock high for a little longer, by the time of his death in 1971 the plaudits of the mass media were out of sync with the opinions of musical tastemakers in Europe and America; these dismissed him as a diehard reactionary who had waited too long to acknowledge the historical inevitability of atonality.His early activities in prerevolutionary Russia, obscured by the inaccessibility of primary source materials and by his subsequent status as a Soviet “unperson,” had left Western researchers with little choice but to take his own statements at face value.But with the publication in 1996 of Richard Taruskin’s , it became possible at last to see him not as the self-made cosmopolitan of his own wishful thinking but as a composer whose sensibility remained profoundly Russian his whole life long.It freed rhythm once and for all from the old regularities, the old four-bar schemes, and allowed it to react directly to variations in the melodic phrase. The fact that, for the time being, he was able to present them in so highly palatable a form, at a time when modern music was increasingly taking refuge in private worlds of agonized expression and opaque language, is not the least achievement of this dazzling score.In the same way, harmony, instead of obeying textbook grammatical rules, became simply a matter of sonority allied to melody. , Nijinsky’s ballet about a sacrificial virgin who dances herself to death to propitiate the ancient Russian gods of spring, Stravinsky would part company still more forcefully with romanticism.