Week 2

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Romanticism and Modernism


from 34:28:


Stravinsky: The Rite of Spring (1913)

Rite of Spring performance at the BBC Proms (starts as 11:20): http://bobnational.net/record/218533


Riot at the Rite on Box of Broadcasts:


Stravinsky Petrouchka (1911)

In this session we learn about the iconic importance of The Rite of Spring, the third ballet which Stravinsky composed for Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes which famously caused a riot at its premiere. See below to watch Michael Tilson Thomas narrate (the first part of) an excellent eight part documentary about the Rite.

Students learn to navigate the full orchestral score of The Rite. They learn to recognise bitonal music (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FFPjFjUonX8#3m16s), and gain familiarity with the octatonic scale, its content of major, minor and diminished chords, its relationship with the diatonic modes, and how it naturally leads towards bitonality (http://dmitri.mycpanel.princeton.edu/files/publications/stravinsky.pdf).

“It is almost unimportant whether a work finds an understanding audience. One has to do it because one believes that it is the right thing to do. We are not only here to please, we cannot help challenging the spectator.”


Preparatory Listening


Preparatory Reading

  • Salzman, E., 2001. Twentieth Century Music 26-30
  • Hill, P., 2000. Stravinsky: The Rite of Spring, particularly pp.35-59 Cambridge: CUP
  • Taruskin, R., 1996. Stravinsky and the Russian TraditionsI, Oxford: OUP (pp. 849-966)
  • Cross, J., 1998. The Stravinsky Legacy, Cambridge: CUP
  • Edward Cone’s analysis of Symphonies of Winds


Questions to Consider

  • What is radical about Stravinsky’s use of metre in The Rite?
  • How does Stravinsky’s use of harmony in The Rite break with the Romantic tradition?
  • Can you provide a stylistic overview of Stravinsky’s entire output?
  • Why is Symphonies of Wind Instruments called this?
  • In what ways might you llnk Stravinsky with Stockhausen?


Indicative Seminar Activities


Follow-Up Work: Assessed Item 1

  • Students are asked to make a reduction into short score and analysis of a brief excerpt from The Rite of Spring, writing either by hand, or using notation software. You should submit paper versions.
  • We will have a run-through of piano arrangements during the class of week 4 . 
  • This assignment will be submitted to the tutor in class week 5,


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