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Igor Stravinsky: Understood Best by Children and Animals

'My music is best understood by children and animals,' said Igor Stravinsky. Undaunted, Tom Service seeks the essence of one of the 20th century's most elusive composers.

"My music is best understood by children and animals," pronounced Igor Stravinsky, no doubt with a twinkle in his eye. According to his critics (and jealous colleagues), Stravinsky's composing consisted of picking up any old second-hand musical baubles he fancied, like a restless musical magpie - sometimes he even had the effrontery to leave them virtually unchanged. Frustratingly, audiences seemed to lap it up. To make matters worse, when it came to explaining his music, Igor liked nothing better than to hide behind contradictory and gnomic statements, as bewildering and frequent as his changes of musical style.

Neither child nor animal, Tom Service nonetheless attempts to reveal the essence of Stravinsky, at once one of the greatest yet most elusive 20th Century composers. Including contributions from playwright Meredith Oakes and Stravinsky biographer Jonathan Cross.

David Papp (producer).

Available now

29 minutes

Music Played

  • John Adams

    Son of Chamber Symphony

    Performer: Alarm Will Sound. Performer: Alan Pierson.
    • Cantaloupe.
  • John Williams

    Main theme from 'Jaws'

    Performer: Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Performer: Nic Raine.
    • Sony.
  • Igor Stravinsky

    The Rite of Spring (Part 1: L'Adoration de la Terre)

    Performer: Cleveland Orchestra. Performer: Pierre Boulez.
    • DG.
  • Igor Stravinsky

    Movements for Piano and Orchestra (V. Eighth note = 104)

    Performer: Charles Rosen. Performer: Columbia Symphony Orchestra. Performer: Igor Stravinsky.
    • Sony.
  • Igor Stravinsky

    Apollon musagète (Naissance d'Apollon)

    Performer: Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. Performer: Riccardo Chailly.
    • Decca.
  • Igor Stravinsky

    Ebony Concerto

    Performer: Michel Arrignon. Performer: Ensemble intercontemporain. Performer: Pierre Boulez.
    • DG.
  • Igor Stravinsky

    Symphony No.1 in E flat, Op.1 (II. Scherzo)

    Performer: Leningrad Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra. Performer: Vladimir Ashkenazy.
    • Decca.
  • Igor Stravinsky

    3 Easy Pieces for Piano Duet (II. Waltz)

    Performer: Katia Labèque. Performer: Marielle Labèque.
    • Philips.
  • Igor Stravinsky

    Mavra (Chanson russe)

    Performer: Olli Mustonen. Performer: Isabelle van Keulen.
    • Philips.
  • Igor Stravinsky

    Pulcinella (I. Overture)

    Performer: Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra. Performer: Christopher Hogwood.
    • Decca.
  • Domenico Gallo

    Trio Sonata No.1 in G major (I. Moderato)

    Performer: Christopher Hogwood. Performer: Romuald Tecco. Performer: Thomas Kornacker. Performer: Peter Howard.
    • Decca.
  • Igor Stravinsky

    Pulcinella (XVII. Vivo)

    Performer: Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra. Performer: Christopher Hogwood.
    • Decca.
  • Giovanni Battista Pergolesi

    Sinfonia for cello and continuo (IV. Presto)

    Performer: Christopher Hogwood. Performer: Joshua Koestenbaum. Performer: Peter Howard.
    • Decca.
  • Domenico Gallo

    Trio Sonata No. 12 in E major (III. Allegro)

    Performer: Parnassi Musici.
    • CPO.
  • Igor Stravinsky

    Pulcinella (XIX. Allegro assai)

    Performer: Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra. Performer: Christopher Hogwood.
    • Decca.
  • Arnold Schoenberg

    3 Satiren, Op. 28 (II. Vielseitigkeit)

    Performer: London Sinfonietta. Performer: Simon Joly Chorale. Performer: Robert Craft.
    • Naxos.
  • Igor Stravinsky

    The Rite of Spring (Part 1: L'Adoration de la Terre)

    Performer: Cleveland Orchestra. Performer: Pierre Boulez.
    • DG.
  • Igor Stravinsky

    The Rake’s Progress (Act 1, Sc.2 Cavatina: Love, too frequently betrayed)

    Performer: Ian Bostridge. Performer: Monteverdi Choir. Performer: London Symphony Orchestra. Performer: Sir John Eliot Gardiner.
    • DG.
  • Igor Stravinsky

    Symphony of Psalms (II. Expectans expectavi, Dominum)

    Performer: Tenebrae. Performer: BBC Symphony Orchestra. Performer: Nigel Short.
    • Signum.
  • Igor Stravinsky

    Oedipus Rex (Act II: Oracula mentiuntur - Pavesco maxime)

    Performer: Anne Sofie von Otter. Performer: Sveriges Radios Symfoniorkester. Performer: Esa‐Pekka Salonen.
    • Sony.
  • Igor Stravinsky

    Variations 'Aldous Huxley in memoriam'

    Performer: London Philharmonic Orchestra. Performer: Robert Craft.
    • Naxos.
  • Igor Stravinsky

    The Fairy's Kiss (Allegretto grazioso (fig. 132))

    Performer: Cleveland Orchestra. Performer: Oliver Knussen.
    • DG.
  • Igor Stravinsky

    Symphony in C (IV. Largo - Tempo giusto, alla breve)

    Performer: London Symphony Orchestra. Performer: Michael Tilson Thomas.
    • Sony.
  • Igor Stravinsky

    The Firebird (Scene 2: Kastchei's spell is broken)

    Performer: City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. Performer: Andris Nelsons.
    • Orfeo.
  • Igor Stravinsky

    Symphonies of Wind Instruments

    Performer: Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra. Performer: Vladimir Ashkenazy.
    • Decca.
  • Igor Stravinsky

    Requiem Canticles (IX. Postludium)

    Performer: WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne. Performer: Michael Gielen.
    • Hänssler.
  • Igor Stravinsky

    Symphony of Psalms (III. Alleluia. Laudate Dominum)

    Performer: Tenebrae. Performer: BBC Symphony Orchestra. Performer: Nigel Short.
    • Signum.

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