The Modern Age

twentieth century

(Classical Music Map)


I. History of Classical Music  (by John Stanley)
The great composers and their masterworks in MP3 format
Albeniz Borodin Donizetti Hindemith Prokofiev Schutz
Albinoni Brahms Dowland Janacek Puccini Scriabin
Allegri Britten Dvorak Kodaly Purcell Sibelius
Arne Bruckner Falla Leoncavallo Rachmaninov Smetana
Auber Busoni Field Liszt Rameau Strauss J.S.
Bach Byrd Gabrieli Lully Ravel Strauss R.
Barber Carissimi Gershwin Mahler Respighi Stravinsky
Bartok Charpentier Gesualdo Mendelssohn Rimsky-Korsakov Tallis
Beethoven Cherubini Glinka Meyerbeer Rossini Tchaikovsky
Bellini Chopin Gluck Monteverdi Saint-Saens Telemann
Bernstein Clementi Gounod Mozart Scarlatti Verdi
Berwald Corelli Grieg Mussorgsky Schoenberg Victoria
Berlioz Couperin Handel Pachelbel Shostakovich Villa-Lobos
Bizet Debussy Haydn Paganini Schubert Vivaldi
Boccherini Delibes Hildegard Palestrina Schumann Wagner
Orff  "Carmina Burana"
II. History of Jazz

Igor Stravinsky



Stravinsky's long, varied life is mirrored by a rich and diverse musical output, whose inner strength and consistency survived extreme outward changes of style. He was born at Oranienbaum in Russia, the son of a bass singer at the St Petersburg Opera: Russian opera and ballet were the musical backdrop to his childhood. He read law at St Petersburg University from 1901 to 1905, but focused his main attention on composing, taking private lessons from Rimsky-Korsakov. In 1906 he married his cousin, Katerina, and over the next couple of years they had a son and daughter.

Two works from this period, Scherzo fantastique and Fireworks, impressed the impresario Diaghilev, who commissioned a large-scale ballet, The firebird, premiered in Paris in 1910. Although Stravinsky's score for this Russian fairy tale is a direct descendant of the music familiar from his early years, especially Rimsky-Korsakov, its unmistakable brilliance and authority won the composer international renown. Stravinsky brought his family to Western Europe and enhanced his reputation "with two further ballets for Diaghilev. In the first, Petrushka, set during St Petersburg's Shrovetide Fair, the composer brought to the misfortunes of the central character, a puppet, a new acerbic brittleness that he pushed further still in The rite of spring. One of the most momentous and uncompromising works of the twentieth century, this portrayal of sacrificial rituals of pagan Russia introduced a level of dissonance and rhythmic innovation that outraged the first-night audience in Paris in 1913, provoking wild protest and disorder.

Switzerland, which had been a frequent haunt of the Stravinskys, became their home during World War I. Russian folk material continued to inspire Stravinsky in such works as Les noces (The wedding) and Renard (Fox), but an increasing leanness and economy of style appear in The soldier's tale of 1918, echoing the straitened circumstances of the time. The work uses only a handful of performers.

After the war Diaghilev was again the catalyst for a major change in Stravinsky's style. He suggested that Stravinsky adapt some short pieces by die Baroque composer Pergolesi, and Stravinsky's enthusiasm for the project not only produced a sparkling masterpiece in the ballet Pulcinella, but initiated a long period of "neoclassical" works that revived musical models and precepts from the past, often in a spirit of ironic affection — Bach's Brandenburg concertos m the concerto Dumbarton Oaks, Mozartian comic opera in The rake's progress, and the oratorios of Handel in Oedipus Rex.

From 1920 to 1939 Stravinsky lived in France. Russian themes still influenced such works as the short opera Mavra (1921-2), based on Pushkin, and the Symphony of psalms (1930), with its echoes of Russian Orthodox ritual. Meanwhile Stravinsky's growing careers as conductor and pianist were reflected in works such as the Concerto for piano and wind instruments and the Capriccio for piano and orchestra, both written for himself to play.

Oedipus Rex and Persephone, both novel variations on the cantata form, were premiered in Paris in 1927 and 1934, but commissions increasingly came from America. Following the deaths of his wife and mother in 1939 Stravinsky embarked for New York, and the United States became his home for the rest of his life. He was joined in 1940 by his longtime mistress, Vera Sudeikina; they married and settled in Hollywood.

Apart from such bizarre initial commissions as a ballet for young elephants (Circus polka), the 1940s saw the magisterial Symphony in three movements, the ballet Orpheus, and the opera The rake's progress. In the 1950s Stravinsky's style underwent a final transformation, precipitated by the rediscovery of Webern's music and the techniques of Schoenberg: Agon, Canticum sacrum, and Threni show this change of direction. His last works are short and austere, culminating in the Requiem Canticles of 1966. Stravinsky's health eventually failed; he died in New York in 1971 and was buried in Venice, near the grave of his collaborator and the commissioner of some of his greatest works, Diaghilev.


Igor Stravinsky



Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971)



Chad Twedt
Russian Dance
Irina Vasilieva
Aria of Parasha
Symphonies of Wind Instruments
Columbia University Orchestra

"The Firebird"
Peabody Symphony Orchestra

"The Rake’s Progress"
Peabody Symphony Orchestra
No Word from Tom 


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