Author Topic: Chez Stravinsky  (Read 136992 times)

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Offline Abuelo Igor

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Re: Chez Stravinsky
« Reply #680 on: April 04, 2015, 04:00:41 AM »
I've always been dissatisfied with PB's Chicago remake, which I seem to find somewhat lacking in atmosphere. I usually like Boulez's Stravinsky, but in my opinion that one was kind of a misstep.
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Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Chez Stravinsky
« Reply #681 on: April 04, 2015, 06:43:38 AM »
Hmm, Stravinsky is a much more interesting composer than I had ever imagined. I think I was Le "sacrified" at an early age and steered clear...   :P    So much to catch up on!

I am really enjoying Boulez's performances!



He certainly is an interesting composer no question about it. I love his music. Those first ballets: The Firebird, Petrouchka, and Le sacre du printemps kind of helped lay the foundation for his early reputation, but then suddenly he does a 360 and starts writing in a Neoclassical idiom and then later his own take on Serialism. No matter how many 360s he did, he always remained himself with a unique musical persona and bless him for it.
“It must be beautiful, or it wouldn't be worth the effort.” - Bohuslav Martinů

Offline NJ Joe

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Re: Chez Stravinsky
« Reply #682 on: April 04, 2015, 07:09:26 AM »
I've always been dissatisfied with PB's Chicago remake, which I seem to find somewhat lacking in atmosphere. I usually like Boulez's Stravinsky, but in my opinion that one was kind of a misstep.

Yes, that one has always been kind of hit or miss for me.  I want to like it and sometimes I really do, but other times I'll come away with mixed feelings.

I find this one to be consistently enjoyable:

"Music can inspire love, religious ecstasy, cathartic release, social bonding, and a glimpse of another dimension. A sense that there is another time, another space and another, better universe."
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Offline Moonfish

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Re: Chez Stravinsky
« Reply #683 on: April 04, 2015, 10:20:15 AM »
He certainly is an interesting composer no question about it. I love his music. Those first ballets: The Firebird, Petrouchka, and Le sacre du printemps kind of helped lay the foundation for his early reputation, but then suddenly he does a 360 and starts writing in a Neoclassical idiom and then later his own take on Serialism. No matter how many 360s he did, he always remained himself with a unique musical persona and bless him for it.

Definitely! I think I have had some preconceived notions about Stravinsky's music, but I am now discovering a multifaceted array of works. Very unique, like you so aptly stated in your response.  I have this temptation to jump into one of the mega rite of spring sets, but perhaps I would never be able to recover after such a intensive session?  :laugh:

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Offline Moonfish

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Re: Chez Stravinsky
« Reply #684 on: April 04, 2015, 10:21:15 AM »
Seconded by me as well.

Ok! Now I have to read them!   0:)  ;)
Besides, it seems like he lived an interesting life!
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Offline Moonfish

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Re: Chez Stravinsky
« Reply #685 on: April 04, 2015, 11:36:11 AM »
Stravinsky:
L'Oiseau de feu
Feu d'artifice
Quatre Etudes pour orchestre

Chicago SO/Boulez


A fantastic L'Oiseau de feu!!!  I understand that Boulez here performed the longer original 1910 version (45 rather than 30 min). I am curious about his earlier recording with NYP (1975). How does it compare?   In this recording Boulez weaves a dreamscape that makes me think about Debussy, hazy forests with drifting fog and countless creatures moving about in an unfolding fairytale drama. A keeper! What is your own favored rendition of L'Oiseau de feu

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Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Chez Stravinsky
« Reply #686 on: April 04, 2015, 06:21:54 PM »
Definitely! I think I have had some preconceived notions about Stravinsky's music, but I am now discovering a multifaceted array of works. Very unique, like you so aptly stated in your response.  I have this temptation to jump into one of the mega rite of spring sets, but perhaps I would never be able to recover after such a intensive session?  :laugh:



Have you given any of his symphonies a listen yet, Peter? All of them are great works. I also recommend Dumbarton Oaks which is a work that never fails to put a smile on my face.
“It must be beautiful, or it wouldn't be worth the effort.” - Bohuslav Martinů

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Re: Chez Stravinsky
« Reply #687 on: April 04, 2015, 07:13:22 PM »
Have you given any of his symphonies a listen yet, Peter? All of them are great works. I also recommend Dumbarton Oaks which is a work that never fails to put a smile on my face.

That's my favorite. Also Jeu de Cartes. Symphony in C. Look for the Karajan recording of that!
Igor has been, after Bach and Mozart, my favourite composer over the years (decades).

*grumble grumble* Ravel wrote some good music.

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Chez Stravinsky
« Reply #688 on: April 04, 2015, 08:02:00 PM »
That's my favorite. Also Jeu de Cartes. Symphony in C. Look for the Karajan recording of that!
Igor has been, after Bach and Mozart, my favourite composer over the years (decades).

*grumble grumble* Ravel wrote some good music.

Honestly, I haven't heard a work by Stravinsky that I didn't at the very least enjoy. Don't think I've heard HvK in Symphony in C. I'll have to try it out at some point. A work I feel is rather neglected is The Fairy's Kiss (Le baiser de la fée). It's a rather oddly structured work, but I don't mean this as a negative of course. There seems to always be a logic and purpose in Stravinsky's music, which I admire greatly.
« Last Edit: April 04, 2015, 08:12:03 PM by Mirror Image »
“It must be beautiful, or it wouldn't be worth the effort.” - Bohuslav Martinů

Offline NJ Joe

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Re: Chez Stravinsky
« Reply #689 on: April 05, 2015, 06:04:15 AM »
I also recommend Dumbarton Oaks which is a work that never fails to put a smile on my face.

That's my favorite. Also Jeu de Cartes. Symphony in C. Look for the Karajan recording of that!

What they said. Same for The Fairy's Kiss.
I haven't heard HvK in Symphony in C, either.

I have Dutoit for Dumbarton Oaks, Chailly for Jeu de Cartes, and Neeme Jarvi for The Fairy's Kiss.
"Music can inspire love, religious ecstasy, cathartic release, social bonding, and a glimpse of another dimension. A sense that there is another time, another space and another, better universe."
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Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Chez Stravinsky
« Reply #690 on: April 27, 2015, 05:16:01 AM »
Watched The Final Chorale again last night.  Wonderful that they perform that discarded sketch with the two string instruments!

Karl Henning, Ph.D.
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Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Chez Stravinsky
« Reply #691 on: April 27, 2015, 05:44:48 AM »
More and more it is the late works that I listen to the most.  I recently watched a performance of Requiem Canticles on one of the BPO digital concerts and found the work very engaging. 

Aye.
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
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[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

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Re: Chez Stravinsky
« Reply #692 on: April 27, 2015, 01:04:50 PM »
Aye.

No crypto-voting! March back over there and show James!
 :laugh:

Offline Abuelo Igor

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Re: Chez Stravinsky
« Reply #693 on: April 27, 2015, 02:39:52 PM »
More and more it is the late works that I listen to the most.  I recently watched a performance of Requiem Canticles on one of the BPO digital concerts and found the work very engaging.

I've always wondered why Boulez paid so little attention to Stravinsky's late period. I mean, as a young man he notoriously heckled performances of Igor's neoclassical pieces, but he seemed to have no time for the works written once he'd adopted a "historically relevant" idiom. I know there is a recording of "A sermon, a narrative and a prayer" from the Domaine Musical days, but I would have expected Pierre to champion the twelve-tone Stravinsky more assiduously, especially since it is a part of his work that remains underappreciated. Perhaps someone more knowledgeable than me could enlighten me as to the reasons behind this phenomenon.
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ZauberdrachenNr.7

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Re: Chez Stravinsky
« Reply #694 on: May 15, 2015, 07:14:00 AM »
Must reading : Igor's final interview, uncompleted, appropriately enough, in the NY Review of Books.

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/1971/jul/01/stravinsky-the-last-interview/

Online ritter

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Re: Chez Stravinsky
« Reply #695 on: May 15, 2015, 09:28:07 AM »
Must reading : Igor's final interview, uncompleted, appropriately enough, in the NY Review of Books.

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/1971/jul/01/stravinsky-the-last-interview/
Thanks for posting, ZauberdrachenNr.7. Interesting. I thought the remark on Pli selon pli was from an earlier occasion--and I recall reading in one of the conversation books that Igor Fyodorovich called the Boulez "a piece without balls", but can't for the life of me find that anywhere now  :(. But as always, one gets to wonder how much of this is Stravinsky, how much is Robert Craft  ???.

I've always wondered why Boulez paid so little attention to Stravinsky's late period. I mean, as a young man he notoriously heckled performances of Igor's neoclassical pieces, but he seemed to have no time for the works written once he'd adopted a "historically relevant" idiom. I know there is a recording of "A sermon, a narrative and a prayer" from the Domaine Musical days, but I would have expected Pierre to champion the twelve-tone Stravinsky more assiduously, especially since it is a part of his work that remains underappreciated. Perhaps someone more knowledgeable than me could enlighten me as to the reasons behind this phenomenon.
I missed this post by Abuelo Igor, but here is my (belated) two pennies worth.

The relationship between Stravinsky and Boulez must have been a very complex one, characterised I venture to say by mutual admiration and even love, but also mistrust, and a sort of father-son component (but also with Oedipical aspects  ::)). For instance, Jésus Aguila, in his book on the Domaine Musical, points out that the only composer Boulez called a "genius" in any of the program notes he wrote for that concert series over so many years was Igor Fyodorovich. But, Boulez has never hidden his preference for the early, Russian Stravinsky (up to Les Noces, I'd say) and his dislike for the neo-classical (with the exception perhaps of Pulcinella, about which he wrote some very touching words in the program notes for a Stravinsky memorial concert when he was at the helm of the NYPO). This dislike for middle-period Stravinsky came to the forefront when the Boulez groupies (he himself apparently was not in the audience) booed the Danses concertantes and the Four Norwegian moods at a concert led by Manuel Rosenthal in Paris right after WWII (well, I for one can't blame them for disliking the Four Norwegian moods  ;D ). But that is another story...

As far as the serial Stravinsky is concerned, Stephen Walsh (in the second volume, The Second Exile, of his wonderful biography of the Russian composer) sums it up quite cleverly: "It is not the least irony of these late pieces that they were generally rejected by that avant-garde which they seemed primarily designed to please. Fortunately, this is not necessarily any reflection on their intrinsic quality". This statement puts Boulez within the Zeitgeist of the post WW-II avant-garde, but perhaps since Boulez was an increasingly visible conductor from the 60s onwards, his relative  neglect of late Stravinsky was more noticeable. Anyway, it is strking that in the index to the third volume of his writings (Leçons de musique, i.e. the lectures over many years at the Collège de France) not one single late Stravinsky work is mentioned.

As for Boulez's thoughts on late Stravinsky, Walsh quotes a letter to Lawrence Morton in which Boulez says that he finds the "Variations for orchestra less aggravating than Abraham and Isaac", the story of which he found "repellent".  ;D. He then concludes that he "prefers Webern".

In concerts, Boulez did conduct or program late Stravinsky at the Domaine, sometimes triumphantly (the European première of Agon under the composer), sometimes disastrously (the famous Threni incident). There was also the Canticum Sacrum and the Vom Himmel hoch variations (under Robert Craft, I believe).  Jésus Aguila interestingly points out that Boulez was attacked both by the traditionalists and the avant-gardists for bringing Stravinsky to the Domaine. The conservative Bernard Gavoty wrote something to the effect that Stravisnky was being used to lure audiences to the Domaine concerts under false pretenses, while the notoriously fundamentalist Antoine Goléa on the other hand would say that offering these "bad" (late) Stravinsky works in the Salle Pleyel meant that better music could not be offered at the Salle Gaveau.  >:(. It thus cannot be ruled out that some musical Realpolitik had an influence in Boulez's attitude. Yet, even after the Threni fiasco, in his 80th birthday tribute to Stravinsky in 1961--one year early  ::)--, Boulez conducted (along with earlier music) the Three Songs from Shakespeare and In memoriam Dylan Thomas.

One work Boulez has conducted a couple of times at least (and as late as in 1996 with the LAPO, at the Ojai Festival IIRC) is Agon (but, alas, he's never recorded it).

Finally, as far as recordings are concerned, we have the late songs on DG, A Sermon, a narrative and a prayer live from the Théatre des Champs-Elysées on the defunct Montaigne label, The Flood (in German!  :( ) on a Col Legno issue from Munich (Musica Viva series) and then, on a long OOP Stradivarius CD, the "repellent"  ;) Abraham and Isaac (with Scipio Colombo, a well known Scarpia in his day) and the Elegy for J.F.K. with Cathy Berberian, live from Rome in 1965. That's all there is, AFAIK.

 

EDIT: Since writing this,  I've found out that Boulez did conduct Threni at least once (in Munich, in Karl Amadeus Hartmann's Musica Viva series, in 1959).

Un abrazo,
« Last Edit: July 15, 2016, 02:22:16 PM by ritter »
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Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Chez Stravinsky
« Reply #696 on: May 15, 2015, 09:58:00 AM »
As far as the serial Stravinsky is concerned, Stephen Walsh (in the second volume, The Second Exile, of his wonderful biography of the Russian composer) sums it up quite cleverly: "It is not the least irony of these late pieces that they were generally rejected by that avant-garde which they seemed primarily designed to please. Fortunately, this is not necessarily any reflection on their intrinsic quality". This statement puts Boulez within the Zeitgeist of the post WW-II avant-garde, but perhaps since Boulez was an increasingly visible conductor from the 60s onwards, his relative neglect of late Stravinsky was more noticeable. Anyway, it is strking that in the index to the third volume of his writings (Leçons de musique, i.e. the lectures over many years at the Collège de France) not one single late Stravinsky work is mentioned.

As for Boulez's thoughts on late Stravinsky, Walsh quotes a letter to Lawrence Morton in which Boulez says that he finds the "Variations for orchestra less aggravating than Abraham and Isaac", the story of which he found "repellent".  ;D. He the concludes that he "prefers Webern".

"Their relationship was complicated by the fact that Boulez tended to be an ass"  8)

Seriously, his quarrel with Abraham and Isaac is that he finds the story (an icon of Western civilization) "repellant";  but presumably he never conducted a Wagner opera whose story in any way offended his fastidious sensibilities.  And what bad tone, "You know, I just prefer Webern."

Sometimes I think the key to thinking the best of Boulez, is to know as little as possible about him apart from the music itself . . . .
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
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http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline North Star

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Re: Chez Stravinsky
« Reply #697 on: May 15, 2015, 10:09:45 AM »
I see it's time to mention again this quotation from Boulez I read in a comment of a review of the Boulez Complete Works box   8)

Quote from: A. Page
[Boulez] came to give a composer's workshop at the Conservatoire I studied at. I was pleasantly surprised by him.
The first question to him (asked by me) was: " You have been quoted as saying that the idea of a great English composer is a genetic impossibility, are we wasting our time?"

Hilarity and applause ensued. " The only time you seem to be wasting" he replied " is in reading my old interviews."
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Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Chez Stravinsky
« Reply #698 on: May 15, 2015, 10:13:32 AM »
Well . .. when they're posted afresh on GMG, you know . . . .
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
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[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline North Star

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Re: Chez Stravinsky
« Reply #699 on: May 15, 2015, 10:25:34 AM »
Well . .. when they're posted afresh on GMG, you know . . . .
It is too strong a temptation to resist, I know. :)

It's not the lack of Boulez recordings of the late works that bothers me, lamentable as it is, but it's the general disregard for these works.  There are not that many recordings of them, period. 

That's true, but it's not that surprising as the record companies just want to record the early ballets in perpetuum.
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