Today is the birthday of Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971), popularly recognized as a leading founder of Modern music in the 20th century. Born in Russia, he lived in Switzerland and France before immigrating to the United States after World War II. He composed in a variety of styles over his lifetime but is best remembered for his dazzling, rhythmic music in the early years - 1910 to 1914 - of the Ballets Russes produced by Sergei Diaghilev in Paris.
|Photoportrait of Igor Stravinsky, c. 1920s - 1930s|
His work during that brief period included The Firebird (1910), Petrushka (1911), and The Rite of Spring (1913). One could say they are all signature pieces - experimental and revolutionary - that dazzled and in some cases infuriated their audiences. Regardless, they as well as other sounds from Stravinsky's imagination have had a huge impact on music and arts.
Here is Part 1 - all three available on YouTube - of a meticulous 1987 recreation by the Joffrey Ballet of The Rite of Spring. There's probably no better representation around of what audiences experienced a century ago.
Photos and Illustrations:
George Grantham Bain Collection, United States Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, Washington
Igor Stravinsky entry, wikipedia.org
title quote, Leonard Bernstein, Homage to Stravinsky, leonardbernstein.com