Stravinsky Accomplishments

1166 Words 5 Pages
In comparison to other notable composers of Western art music, Stravinsky enjoyed one of the longest careers, actively composing for nearly seven decades. Having reached critical acclaim for his work in The Firebird in 1910, Stravinsky continued to compose for the next sixty-one years, during which numerous world-changing events took place. Also, throughout this time, Stravinsky was exposed to a variety of cultures, having migrated to multiple places around the globe in the interest of business. These various factors throughout Stravinsky’s life contributed to the evolution of his music, resulting in an eclectic output of compositional styles, typically divided by scholars into three main periods: Russian, Neoclassical, and Serial.
In 1882,
…show more content…
After the success of The Firebird, which effectively established Stravinsky as one of the greatest Russian composers of his time, Diaghilev resolved to continue his partnership with Stravinsky; first through Petrushka, then The Rite of Spring. While the first two ballets told fantastical tales of a fictional Russia, including mythical creatures and living puppets, The Rite of Spring was a more ambitious approach: attempting to tell the gritty reality of a pagan, more primitive Russia. In order to convey such an environment, Stravinsky opens the ballet with a bassoon playing in an impossibly high register, encapsulating the unrefined nature of the tribal setting. The bassoon plays a modal Lithuanian melody with an irregular meter, evoking the idea of a simpler less organized people. The solo melody soon transitions into a rhythmic dance, grounded in an eighth note ostinato on the static, bitonal chord “E-flat minor over F-flat.” This strikingly dissonant harmony creates a foreboding ambience, further compounded by the irregular use of accents, which only heighten the anticipation. In addition to the unsettling music, the expectations of ballet are completely subverted through the slumped postures and clunky, ungraceful movements of the dancers. These techniques …show more content…
Neoclassicism was a return to the elements of classical and Baroque music, specifically with respect to form and the limited use of chromaticism. This movement arose between the world wars as a response to negatively perceived aspects of the late Romantic and recent experimental genres, such as excessive expressivity and lack of organization. Also, the late Romantic Wagnerian style was associated with Germany, which most people viewed as an enemy at the time. The neoclassical solution for these issues involved the return to structing pieces with classical and baroque forms. Also, neoclassical music consisted mostly of diatonic tones, avoided melodramatic instruments such as the violin, and was largely unprogrammatic. However, neoclassical music was not a return to the classical; some aspects were new: tonality was exchanged for pandiatonicism, where modes were freely interchanged. Also, melody lines were no longer expected to be singable in instrumental works, as this could lead to overexpression.
Stravinsky was personally drawn to neoclassicism by Pulcinella, which Diaghilev asked him to compose music for using the themes of Pergolesi. However, Stravinsky became attached to the idea outside of the project as well, and moved to France shortly after its completion, where neoclassicism abounded. There, Stravinsky

Related Documents