Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971)
The more constraints one imposes, the more one frees oneself. And the arbitrariness of the constraint serves only to obtain precision of execution.
Igor Stravinsky: Poetics of Music (1939-40)
Stravinsky’s output is so varied. Colourful, glistening, tight, precise, historically-informed. A great story-teller. His 12-note chamber music is crystalline in structure. There is so much to say about Stravinsky. A towering figure of 20th-century music. The Firebird (1910), Rite of Spring (1913/21), Song of the Nightingale (1917), Pulcinella (1920) and Agon (1957).
Aspects of Igor Stravinsky’s music that have influenced me are the transparency and colour of the Russian school of orchestration which he inherited. Much can be learned about this from his teacher Nikolai Rimsky Korsakov’s book: ‘Principles of Orchestration’. The complexity and originality of Stravinsky’s musical forms, the way he handled rhythm in continuously-varying cells, his incorporation of aspects of music from the past, the way he adopts bi-tonality and his imaginative fusion of traditional musical styles.
Igor Stravinsky (right) with Serge Diaghilev
Igor Stravinsky (right) with George Balanchine