Bartók and Stravinsky

Richard Taruskin

in The Danger of Music and Other Anti-Utopian Essays

Published by University of California Press

Published in print December 2008 | ISBN: 9780520249776
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520942790 | DOI:
Bartók and Stravinsky

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Igor Stravinsky's declaration about Bartók wasn't made under oath, so it may not rise to the level of an impeachable offense. But it was a half-truth at best. By 1959, a dozen years into the cold war, Stravinsky was following the herd and trying to establish credentials as a twelve-tone composer. This chapter discusses works of Stravinsky and Bartók as music composers. Stravinsky originally made his name as a staff composer for Sergey Diaghilev's Ballets Russes, purveying music that positively dripped with native folklore. He continued to write in this vein until the early 1920s, when it became clear that the Bolsheviks were there to stay and he could never go home again. His extraordinary knack for blending folklore and modernism was an inspiration to many composers Bartók most of all. Bartók's legacy, which drew its authenticity in his own eyes from its seamless Stravinskian blend of folklore and modernism, was ruthlessly partitioned, like Europe itself, into Eastern and Western zones. In his homeland, the works in which folklore was perceived to predominate were touted by the culture politicians as obligatory models, and the rest was anathematized or, in some cases, banned.

Keywords: Igor Stravinsky; Bartók; music composer; cold war; folklore; modernism

Chapter.  2125 words. 

Subjects: Music Theory and Analysis

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