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Haydn vs. StravinskyA thought...


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#1 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 07 November 2010 - 09:08 AM

So yesterday I went with my friend to a mini-concert night-(three 45 minutes short compositions at three consecutive hours; 7:30, 8:30 and 9:30 PM, in which the concert hall clears off every time...each of them at the great price of $2.50 a pice... :lightbulb: , another of Michael Tilson's great marketing ideas). We chose 8:30 and 9:30. Now, the first one was Haydn and the second one...Stravinsky. I was a little apprehensive, for which Stravinsky has always been somehow stranger to my harmonic-sounds driven ears. My friend, on the other side, is a neophyte who has told me several times that he's loving Stravinsky more and more. (He went with me to Petroushka and loved the score...ditto with the "Le Sacre..." fragments from the Chanel and Mao's films and the Ananiashvilli's Firebird DVD we saw together). So when Haydn starts-(his Symphony No. 96 in D major..."The Miracle" )- I'm in heaven...all perfectly placed, well-balanced, a beautifully, formally concentrated rendition of the sonata form in simple musical motifs to a happy-(and in the past well fed :thumbsup: )- audience, with the occasional use of a minor key here and there. You know...the works.

And then Stravinsky comes along...with his Suites No. 1 and 2 for Small Orchestra, and now I'm in trouble. At some point during the number two, with its mini-movements-(March, Waltz, Polka and Gallop)-I swear that I was in the circus! I didn't know how to place it. The Suite No. 1 takes the first four movements of the Five Easy Pieces of 1916/1917 and turns them into the four movements of the Suite. He simply changed the order to Andante, Napolitana, Española, and Balalaika. He used two flutes, one oboe, two clarinets, two bassoons, one horn, one trumpet, one trombone, and one tuba with percussion and strings. The whole thing was very short and when it was done, I saw my friend clapping enthusiastically. I didn't get the piece, I'm sorry to say. The dissonant sounds are totally out of my scope.

When we were getting out, he said to me..."I loved it!"...
Oh well...I guess Mr. Stravinsky is certainly not for everyone. Now I think my friend would had loved B's "Symphony in three movements".

I'm tempted to do an anonymous survey here at some point about the likeness of this composer. I'm very curious.

#2 papeetepatrick

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Posted 07 November 2010 - 09:49 AM

http://www.newstates...usic-art-rothko

This might have something in it, I haven't had a chance to read it yet, but I will. But Stravinsky is much less obviously removed from the old traditions than is Stockhausen and Boulez. If 'Sacre' shocked people, it certainly wasn't because it wasn't essentially romantic--unless primitive sensuality is considered 'unromantic', which might be an important distinction to some. Of course, it doesn't have anything to do with Haydn, but neither does Debussy. Even Schoenberg, except for very early like Gurre-Lieder and Verklaerte Nacht, which might be crudely comparable in certain ways to the general audience ear for some Stravinsky, is later on much less 'easy listening' than most Stravinsky, as I hear it. Without reading the linked article, I'd have my own ideas on one general idea: with the most extreme, and even unpleasant, painting, or sculpture or construction, you can remember it in your mind's eye after you've seen it, just as you can Leonardo or Caravaggio; you can't remember anything but a general atmosphere of some of the atonal and dodecaphonic composers and beyond--no tunes and motifs to remember and hum, but that's an interesting development. It might be, sometimes, not that you 'don't get a piece', but that you just 'don't like it'. I think the 'Five Easy Pieces' are pretty forgettable, but I don't find Pulcinella, l'Histoire Soldat, or many other Stravinsky pieces forgettable. For the less repetitive music of High Modernism, you really do have to listen to them a lot more times to enjoy them, so that, for example you know that you'd rather hear 'Le marteau sans maitre' than 'In Memoriam: Bruno Maderna', etc., of Boulez.


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