Igor Fest


Well, the CBSO’s Igor Fest is over. There are no all-Stravinsky concerts on BBC Radio 3 now to look forward to, not even at this year’s Proms. Let’s hope we don’t have to wait for the next Stravinsky festival for this to happen. I notice Michael Tilson Thomas is doing an all-Stravinsky concert in London in June, should be good.

Charles Rosen considers that many of Stravinsky’s neo-classical works are connoisseur’s music and perhaps he is right. And if that is true, what about his output after The Rake’s Progress?

I got hooked on Stravinsky in my teens beginning with the Symphony in C (not L’Oiseau de Feu, which I did not at that time enjoy). I still love a great deal of his music. But how many pianists know the Concerto or the Capriccio – such rewarding pieces? How often is Persephone done? Is it too rarefied for most tastes? These are all pieces which deserve to be much better known.

When I was at university, ahem, 25 years ago, Stravinsky was very much to the fore as (arguably) one of the top five composers of the 20th century. Yet now he has almost fallen off the radar, and I wonder what the cause is for that? Perhaps it has to do with the great stylistic differences between his early, middle and late works?


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