Exeter Orchestra plays 'correct Stravinsky after 44 years'

image captionIgor Stravinsky was a Russian-born composer, pianist and conductor

An Exeter orchestra is to perform the original version of a Stravinsky symphony, claiming it has not been played as intended since 1967.

EMG Symphony Orchestra's conductor Marion Wood said The Rite of Spring score differed from the timpani part.

She said she was confused about why one timpani was usually played when it should be a "tennis match" between two.

Publishers Boosey and Hawkes said the music was printed during the composer's lifetime, but pledged to look into it.

'Stereo ping pong'

Ms Wood of EMG (Exeter Music Group) said she noticed the "error" in the 1967 edition of the Glorification of the Chosen One which appears in the second movement of the piece.

"The Rite of Spring uses a huge orchestra and you've got to have two timpanists and you get this fantastic moment where they kind of have this tennis match," she said.

"The idea is one player plays one note and the other player plays the other one and it goes backwards and forwards in this kind of stereo ping pong game.

"For some reason somebody, perhaps a timpanist who wanted all the notes for himself, has rearranged the part and put most of the notes into one part.

"It's all muddy and mushy and if you've got two timpanists you can be much clearer."

Boosey and Hawkes said The Rite of Spring was the most performed work on its catalogue.

Janis Susskind, its publishing director, said: "The published full score was re-engraved in 1967, during Stravinsky's lifetime, and is therefore the performing edition that captures Stravinsky's final intentions most authoritatively.

"It has been brought to our attention that there do appear to be some differences between the full score and the timpani parts in terms of the distribution of music between the players.

"My guess at this stage is that the timpani parts were adjusted by our specialist Stravinsky editor decades ago for practical performance reasons and that this custom and practice has served players well since then."

EMG said it would be performing the symphony as printed in the original score on Thursday.

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