Donald Macleod focuses on the Symphonies of Wind Instruments, which Stravinsky composed on his return to France after spending the First World War in exile in Switzerland.
Donald Macleod explores Igor Stravinsky's life through his five symphonies - from Russian folk melodies to American cool. Today: his Symphonies of Wind Instruments.
He's undisputedly one of the greatest musical geniuses of the 20th century. But Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971) isn't generally thought of a symphonist - compared, say, to his contemporaries Shostakovich, Prokofiev or Sibelius. Yet Stravinsky's five symphonies - which span most of his mature career, from his early life in St Petersburg, to his socialite days in 1920s Paris, to his years as an émigré in the USA - are unique, dazzling musical jewels. This week, Donald Macleod tells the story of Stravinsky's life with complete performances of each of his five symphonies.
The week begins with Stravinsky's return to France after spending the First World War in exile in Switzerland. As he dazzles and confuses Paris audiences with a succession of eclectic masterpieces, the composer's personal life takes a turbulent turn, as Stravinsky embarks on affairs with first the fashion designer Coco Chanel, then Vera Sudeikina, who would become his consort for the rest of his life.
Stravinsky: Symphonies of Wind Instruments
The Nash Ensemble
Simon Rattle, conductor
Stravinsky: Mavra (We've Never Had Such Perfect Weather; Days and Nights of Working)
Jona Carlye, soprano (Parasha)
Helen Watts, contralto (Her mother)
Monica Sinclair, contralto (Their neighbour)
Kenneth McDonald, tenor (Vassily)
Orchestra of the Suisse Romande
Ernest Ansermet, conductor
Eastman Wind Ensemble
Mark Scatterday, conductor
Stravinsky: Concerto for Piano and Wind Instruments
Steven Osborne, piano
BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra
Ilan Volkov, conductor.
You are at the first episode