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Igor Stravinsky

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Russian Federation (1882 – 1971)

Igor Fyodorovich Stravinsky (Russian: Игорь Фёдорович Стравинский) (17th June 1882 – 6th April 1971) was a Russian composer who first achieved international fame with three ballets commissioned by the impresario Serge Diaghilev and performed by Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes (Russian Ballet): L’Oiseau de feu (“The Firebird”) (1910), Petrushka (1911), and Le sacre du printemps (“The Rite of Spring”) (1913).

Stravinsky’s compositional career was notable for its stylistic diversity. After his first, Russian (expressionistic), phase he turned in the 1920s to neoclassicism. The works from this period tended to make use of traditional musical forms (concerto grosso, fugue, symphony), frequently concealed a vein of intense emotion beneath a surface appearance of detachment or austerity, and often paid tribute to the music of earlier masters, for example J.S. Bach, Verdi and Tchaikovsky.

In the 1950s he adopted serial procedures, using the new techniques over the final twenty years of his life to write works that were briefer and of greater rhythmic, harmonic, and textural complexity than his earlier music. Their intricacy notwithstanding, these pieces share traits with all of Stravinsky’s earlier output; rhythmic energy, the construction of extended melodic ideas out of a few cells comprising only two or three notes, and clarity of form, instrumentation, and of utterance.

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