Stravinsky Fest: Symphonic Blasts
With the 100th anniversary of Igor Stravinsky's riot-starting 1913 ballet The Rite of Spring now upon us, there's no better time to do a deep dive into the composer's glorious catalog. And so, every day this week we're offering a new playlist highlighting a different aspect of his enduring genius. Enjoy.
After completing his trilogy of hyperactive, Russian folk-tune-influenced ballets, Igor Stravinsky settled into a neoclassical phase that would dominate the next few decades of his output. Though he was paying some (abstract) tribute to the likes of Bach during these years, he didn't lose his innovative approach to rhythm or orchestration.
The first movement of his Symphony in Three Movements drives this point home especially well. The mid-movement feature for piano plus orchestra (originally intended as part of an uncompleted piano concerto) seems to look forward to some post-minimalist touches, with a powerful, chugging momentum. Other symphonic triumphs from this period of Stravinsky's output include the Symphony in C and the Symphony of Psalms. Listen to the composer conduct two of these works, with Pierre Boulez completing the trilogy, over in our appended playlist.