Chapter

Stravinsky and Us

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: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520249776.003.0041
Stravinsky and Us

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This chapter presents Igor Stravinsky's ideas, which have been so influential that one could say that twentieth-century European and Euro-American musical culture has been created in the image of Stravinsky. By 1966 he did not merely represent the history of twentieth-century music but he practically constituted it. The first work of Stravinsky's to achieve mythical status was of course The Rite of Spring that is the ballet first performed under the title Le Sacre du printemps. The story of his career had been generalized into the story of twentieth-century music but in the process of that generalization it had been turned into a myth. The myth of The Rite of Spring incorporated at least two big truths at variance with the ascertainable facts. First, the music was “pure,” abstract, unbeholden to any specific time and place for its inspiration. Second, it represented a violent stylistic rupture with the past, when all the while it was conceived as an exuberantly maximalistic celebration of two pasts that include the remote past of its subject and the more recent past of its style.

Keywords: musical culture; twentieth-century music; mythical status; new mythological age; Stravinskian ideas

Chapter.  11411 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Music Theory and Analysis

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