Tag Archives: Igor Stravinsky

What can I do to have nothing again?

Eric Bromberger wrote, in a program note for Stravinsky’s L’Histoire du Soldat:

Stravinsky spent the difficult period of World War I in Switzerland. The war prevented productions of Stravinsky’s music, halting his income, and the Russian Revolution cut him off from his homeland. Now Stravinsky became friends with the Swiss novelist C.F. Ramuz and suggested that they create a theater-piece based on two Russian folktales about the devil and a soldier. The version that Ramuz and Stravinsky created became L’Histoire du SoldatThe Soldier’s Tale–completed in 1918 . . . . Continue reading

The Rite of Spring in Concert

Nicholas Roerich, The Ritual Circle

The latest installment of David Nice’s splendid Russian Music course featured conductor Andrew Litton as the invited guest. After 35 years of conducting orchestral music, Litton has taken up the baton at the New York City Ballet, a staple of which is music of Stravinsky, choreographed by George Balanchine. Continue reading

In Sicilia: Chi pupu eri?

Marionette funeral ceremony (Korea)

In Puppet: An Essay on Uncanny Life, Kenneth Gross describes Sicilian puppeteer Mimmo Cuticchio’s L’urlo del mostro (The howl of the monster), a puppet theater based on the Odyssey. In one scene, Cuticchio

plays Odysseus himself, encountering the ghosts of puppets in the underworld, seeking his identity there among lost comrades and dead family members. Of one skeletal wooden figure he asks, in Sicilian, “Chi pupu eri?” (What puppet were you?).” Continue reading

My Year in Music 2015

The musicians of Contemporaneous

The musicians of Contemporaneous

Each year I realize yet again how impossible it is to choose among the highlights, let alone write about them with any intelligence. This year is likely to be the last time I make the attempt. Every musical experience is illuminating, above all live performances, but also, particularly with ongoing advances in camerawork and technology, watching and listening online. I’m grateful, too, for the opportunity to be part of communities who love classical music of all stripes and who are generous in sharing their own responses and knowledge. I’ve learned a great deal from so many, and I only hope I’ve been able to give something of value back. Continue reading