Monday, January 3, 2011

REMEMBERING STRAVINSKY







Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971) was a massive musical influence during my teen years. I was introduced to this brilliantly eccentric Russian composer by Duncan S. Catling - a Peace Corps Volunteer assigned to teach English literature in Batu Pahat High School from 1964 to 1965. I'll never forget the day I visited Duncan in his rented terrace house and he put on The Rite of Spring for me. I was never the same again. Stravinsky had the same transmutative effect on the young Frank Zappa.

The recording of Rite of Spring Duncan played for me was conducted by Ernest Ansermet, a Swiss colleague of Igor Stravinsky and only a year younger than the composer. Ansermet was a highly regarded academic conductor who could be relied upon to render technically consummate interpretations of any score.

Many years later I heard a recording of Rite of Spring conducted by Seiji Ozawa and was completely blown away by the raw, primal feel Ozawa succeeded in capturing, especially with the percussive sections. If you'd rather listen to an X-rated interpretation of Rite of Spring, go for the Ozawa recording!





1 comment:

masterwordsmith said...

Fantastic, Antares!!! Thanks so much for sharing these clips and the write-up. I am sure Nick will enjoy this tremendously when he gets back from school later!

Take care, my dear friend!

Hugs and much love