Donald Macleod explores the life and work of Igor Stravinsky.
Donald Macleod explores the life and work of Igor Stravinsky, today focusing on Stravinsky's late move towards serialist methods of composition.
It’s not clear whether Stravinsky’s move in this direction was directly attributable to the influence of his musical assistant Robert Craft, but the younger man regularly conducted concerts which included works by Schoenberg, and Stravinsky seems to have set about a re-appraisal of his own technique.
In his record of conversations he had with Stravinsky over the years, Robert Craft recalls an occasion when he challenged the composer to 'draw' his recent music. Craft led the way by illustrating plainchant with a single straight line, polyphony with four parallel lines, Bach with a grid, Wagner with what looks like a diagram of an interior-sprung mattress, Webern with a spiral, and the New Serialists with what looks like a sketch for a painting by Piet Mondrian - overlapping quadrangles. What Stravinsky came up with to depict his own music of the time - the late 1950s - looks like a simplified version of Harry Beck’s brilliant schematic map of the London Underground system, with a series of points connected by straight lines. 'This', the composer said, 'is my music.'
In Memoriam Dylan Thomas
Pierre Boulez, conductor
Movements for Piano and Orchestra
Oli Mustonen, piano
Deutsche Symphonie-Orchester Berlin
Vladimir Ashkenazy, conductor
Agon: Act IV
London Symphony Orchestra
Orchestra of St Luke's
Robert Craft, conductor
The dove descending breaks the air
Collegium Vocale Gent
Philippe Herreweghe, conductor
SWR Baden-Baden and Freiburg Symphony Orchestra
SWR Vokalensemble Stuttgart
Michael Gielen, conductor
Produced in Cardiff by Martin Williams