In the past, we’ve chosen five minutes or so we’ll play for our friends to love classical music, the piano, Opera, cello, mozart, 21st century musicians, violin, baroque music, sopranos, Beethoven, flute, string Quartet, Duration, brahmus, choral music, Collision And symphonic.
We now want to persuade those curious friends to love Igor Stravinsky, possibly the most widespread and most influential composer of the 20th century, and an inspiration for some of George Balanchine’s ballet works. We hope you find much to discover and enjoy here; Leave your favorites in the comments.
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Jian Zhang, conductor
Thinking of Stravinsky, the first thing that comes to my mind is “The Right of Spring” – the beginning of the second part of “The Sacrifice”. i miss Movies That Leonard Bernstein rehearsed it, and its powerful use in Disney’s “Fantasia,” as dinosaurs roam the Earth. It’s a quiet, tense moment before and after all the decibels. Watching Bernstein rehearse, and hear him conduct the passage, highlights what’s special and vivid about this part of the score. To my ears, this is the best example of how primitive, spontaneous and wild music can be in the early 20th century.
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Mikhail Baryshnikov, dancer
I was 12 years old in 1960 when I first heard this music. Ballet scores by Tchaikovsky, Glazunov, Delibes and many others were already in my bones, but it was everything I knew turned upside down and inside out. The rhythms were fresh, exciting and completely foreign. The Cuban National Ballet was in Riga, Latvia, my hometown, dancing to Balanchine’s “Apollon Musaget”, his first collaboration with Stravinsky, and the ballet he later called “his artistic coming-of-age”. He was 24, and Stravinsky was 46. From these two Russian modernists and a cast of gorgeous Cuban dancers, came my first heady smell of the West.
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Stephen Walsh, Stravinsky biographer
Stravinsky’s Concerto in E flat for 15 instruments—always known as “Dumbarton Oaks” after the Washington mansion where it was first exhibited in 1938—is surprisingly typical of his so-called Neo-Classicism. Yes, it’s not classical at all. : the model is Bach, and in any case that model is left after the grand opening, a clear cradle from the Third Brandenburg Concerto. Stravinsky soon picks up his own mini-objectives, plays with them, monkeys with the rhythm and bar lines, and generally teases the expectations. The first movement is one of the most joyous pieces of modern music. The other two movements are great too, but one cannot have everything.
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Anthony Tomasini, Times Chief Classical Music Critic
Leading to collapse and ruin, young Tom Rakewell, the protagonist of Stravinsky’s 1951 opera “The Rake’s Progress”, is committed to an asylum and is visited by the ever-loyal Anne Trulov. She sings him a lullaby, “Slowly, Little Boat,” with words from WH Auden and Chester Kalman—the music is deceptive in its simplicity, designed for soprano and just two flutes. Between its verses, the other prisoners, listening from their cells, sing chorale refrains, comforting their “suffering minds”, wondering what these “heavenly strains” are. Finally, Anne’s father joins her in a short, solemn duet, a farewell blessing for Tom that appears on steady, baroque-like bass lines.
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Wendy Whelan, New York City Ballet Associate Artistic Director
“Scherzo la Russe” is a treasure trove of great rhythms that, like Stravinsky’s music, inspire me to move my body. This miniature masterpiece is full of color, flavor and refreshing mix. I first heard it as a young dancer at the School of American Ballet, where I learned how Balanchine sculpted music in three-dimensional form. Like his choreography, this music is complementary but based on opposing forces. Elegant and powerful, witty and lively, the music crafts a perfect jumble of ideas. To me, it’s part music box and part marching band, played with the precision of a Swiss watch and the flavor of a delicious Russian hors d’oeuvre. This is one gem that will make you want more.
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Zachary Woolf, Times Classical Music Editor
The premise of this ballet-oratorio is hardly domestic: everyone is getting ready for a provincial Russian wedding. Yet Stravinsky also endowed village life with the mysterious, barbaric beauty of “The Right of Spring,” which he had written a few years earlier. Although he considered a huge “Rite”-size orchestra for “Les Noses”, he ended the score with only vocals and percussion, including four pianos. The result is both rich and rigorous, primitive and complex. Tapping into folklore, Stravinsky portrayed timelessness at the heart of modernism.
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Seth Coulter Walls, Times writer
Stravinsky made references to early jazz in 1918 in works such as “Ragtime” and “L’Histoire du Soldat”. But it was in his “Ebony Concerto”—written in 1945 for the group by clarinetist Woody Herman—that he most effectively incorporated American elements. Without pretending to be jazz, he respects the modernism inherent in that style.
Before the clarinet had a chance to shine, Stravinsky shows a flair for dividing the work between trumpet and reed sections, a riff on the swing-era orchestra. The acceleration (and hints) in the first movement suggest an affinity with Charlie Parker’s bebop, who admired Stravinsky. The mix of sinuous melody and flamboyant composition recalls the danceable fervor of his ballet.
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Greg Tate, writer and musician
Trumpeter Lewis “Flip” Barnes first introduced us to Stravinsky’s messy, labyrinthine smorgasbord of “The Right of Spring.” But it was the video of a 1975 fever-dream adaptation of tanztheater hell-raising Pina Bosch, covered in drenched mud, that made us realize that “The Right” brought the violence of nature into bloom and sexual assault alike. presented from.
In 2004, Burnt Sugar the Orchestral Chamber asked Butch Morris to adapt the six worst motifs from the first movement of the work, then created a signature studio “Driving.” The result, “The Rights”, reveals Stravinsky’s darkest aspect: the internal friction between his mastery of the European form and his isolation in Hollywood as a non-Western exile. George Lewis once told us that jazz musicians love “The Right” because of how much “booty” it’s got, and Stravinsky was bootlegious with the outside blues at La La Land. Postmodern black people can relate—and, with guitars, cellos, farfees, and turntables, can reboot and regroove Bruh Igor’s funky symphonic mutha.
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Ethan Iverson, pianist
Stravinsky wrote critically of his octave: “In general, I believe that music is capable of solving only musical problems, and nothing else. Neither in literary nor in picturesque music has an interest in.” There’s no reason to agree, as the mid-movement of his first neo-classical masterpiece has one of his greatest melodic inspirations, a simple march that sounds mildly annoyed by an unspecified slight. As the variations pick up steam, the bassoon, a pair of most Stravinsky instruments in that range, lays out a unique bass line. It’s 1922, baby!
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Patricia Kopachinskaya, violinist
Hey, Petrushka! What’s up? Have you exchanged the elemental power of “Rite of Spring” for baroque dress? How did you get your soldier friend’s violin soul back, which Satan had won in a card game? Dhanush sternly gazes at the strings like a crazy tight dancer. babble! Wind players bark like chickens; Remember Russian Muzik: Your first musical impression in childhood, he sat on a tree trunk, making obscene sounds with his hands. Well, now he is laughing from heaven – dancing with Bach. Fools, find me a girl child in New York!
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Joshua Barron, Times Editor
Stravinsky was a Russian. Yet in his 88 years he was also a Parisian, an Angelino, a New Yorker. And he has an equally broad range of music – even within a niche form such as ballet, which includes the explosive “Rite of Spring”, the neo-classical “Apollo” and the serial “Aegon” among his outputs. However, he was not the only chameleon. Hear this movement from “Symphony of Hymns”: it is strongly neo-classical, an ingeniously crafted double fugue with vocal lines that layer in dense counterpoint and satisfying resolution. But Stravinsky’s sound is, as always, utterly distinctive and distinctly modern, recalling a much earlier period in music history.
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Javier C. Hernandez, Times classical music and dance reporter
“Suite Italiano” is a collection of themes from Stravinsky’s ballet “Pulcinella”, which was inspired by Italian baroque music. While “Suite Italiano” may sound deceptively traditional at first, the musician’s irreverent streak shines through. In this recording of his final movement by cellist Gregor Piatigorsky (who collaborated with Stravinsky on the arrangement) and violinist Jascha Heifetz, the music is at first sublime and restrained, before ending in rapturous fanfare.
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Beatrice Rana, pianist
The piano transcription of “Petrusca” represents a variant of Everest for a pianist. Not only does this require enormous challenges in terms of virtue, but it also demands a whole world of colorful dances and folk songs from the hands of a single musician. When I started learning it, I thought the orchestral score would be my main inspiration, but one day I found An excerpt from Nureyev’s dance Petrushka; Never before had I understood so well the musical picture of this puppet becoming human. These five minutes tell the timeless tragedy of the human soul in the most poignant way.
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David Allen, Times writer
May not be the most representative aspect of Stravinsky’s music, although he did have his moments. But there is something shocking about the ending of his neo-classical ballet “Apollone Mussaget”, which he finished in 1928. Scored to the strings, their distinctive edge sparkles in sound, but it is the music that seems to float high in the clouds, troubled but free, with the gods there. There are days when I can fly with it for hours, five minutes no matter what.