Donald Macleod explores Stravinsky's experiences in exile in Switzerland during the First World War, including a rare performance of his bizarre miniature cantata "The Starry-Faced One".
Igor Stravinsky was one of the most brilliant, daring and influential musical thinkers of the early 20th century - a composer who forged new musical horizons and scandalised high society. But it wasn't always that way... Stravinsky was, in fact, a relatively late starter - no musical prodigy here - and his earliest musical works show no hint of the coruscating modernism that was to make him the most famous composer in the world. Instead, we find charming, witty and delightful music in the great Russian tradition of Rimsky-Korsakov, Glazunov and Mussorgsky - compositions often sadly overlooked in the great swirl of publicity that surrounded his trio of great ballets, The Firebird, Petrushka and The Rite Of Spring. This week, Donald Macleod explores the world of "Young Igor", presenting a rare hearing of Stravinsky's fine early compositions and a selection of rarities as we follow the composer's development up to the end of the First World War. He also presents two rare and unusual versions of Stravinsky's iconic ballets: the Firebird in its original 1910 ballet suite, and an extraordinary - and acclaimed - new arrangement of Petrushka by the Mythos accordion duo.
You thought The Rite Of Spring was strange? Stravinsky's infamous ballet - which caused a riot on its debut in 1913 - has almost completely obscured a truly bizarre, and ferociously difficult, miniature cantata the composer composed around the same time. Roughly translated as "The Starry-Faced One", this four-minute tour-de-force for vast orchestra and chorus is rarely performed - today, Donald Macleod introduces the work, and explores Stravinsky's time in exile in Switzerland during the First World War. The programme ends with a complete performance of the suite from Stravinsky's theatrical collaboration with the writer CF Ramuz: The Soldier's Tale.