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Chapter 20: The Twentieth Century: Early Modernism. Stravinsky: The Primacy of Rhythm. Ballet Fauve Ostinato. Key Terms. Stravinsky: The Primacy of Rhythm. Stravinsky began as Russian nationalist Influenced by his mentor, kuchka member Rimsky-Korsakov

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Chapter 20 the twentieth century early modernism l.jpg

Chapter 20:The Twentieth Century: Early Modernism

Stravinsky: The Primacy of Rhythm


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Ballet

Fauve

Ostinato

Key Terms


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Stravinsky: The Primacy of Rhythm

  • Stravinsky began as Russian nationalist

    • Influenced by his mentor, kuchka member Rimsky-Korsakov

  • Three famous early ballets for Paris

    • Steady progress from nationalism to a powerful, hard-edged avant-garde style

    • More & more abstract use of folk material

    • The Firebird – beautifully colored folk music

    • Petrushka – hard, satirical portrait of carnival barker & his puppets with folk & pop tunes

    • Rite of Spring – pagan rites brutally depicted


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Igor Stravinsky(1882-1971)

  • Influence of mentor Rimsky-Korsakov

  • First success with Ballets Russes in Paris

    • The Firebird, Petrushka, & Rite of Spring

    • Wrote many ballets – Pulcinella, Agon, etc.

  • Leading Neoclassical composer after 1920

    • Symphony of Psalms, Rake’s Progress, etc.

  • Moved to Los Angeles in the 1930s

    • Assisted by Robert Craft from 1950s to death

  • Remarkable group of late 12-tone works!

    • Requiem Canticles, Threni, etc.


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Stravinsky, The Rite of Spring

  • Used a deliberately barbaric style

    • To depict primitive rites & ritual sacrifice

    • Crude use of folk-tune fragments

    • “Unemotional,” grindingly dissonant music

    • Draws remarkable colors from huge orchestra

  • Rhythm is the lifeblood of this work

    • Visceral, unpredictable rhythms

  • First performance caused a riot

    • Provocative, non-balletic choreography

    • Violent, brutal, dissonant sounds


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The Rite of SpringIntroduction

  • “Fanfare” for bassoon in very high range

    • Extreme registers exploited for new tone colors

  • Many short melodic fragments

    • Fanfares for oboe, piccolo & bass clarinet

    • Frequently repeated, but never the same twice

    • Piled on top of each other to create dissonant climax of activity

  • Bassoon “fanfare” returns at the end


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The Rite of SpringDance of the Adolescents (1)

  • Dancers entered with accented chords

    • 32 repetitions of dissonant chord with heavy, irregular accents played by 8 French horns

    • 12 3 412 3 4 5121 2 3 4 5 61 2 31 2 3 412 3 4 5…

    • Chords alternate with 4-note ostinato


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The Rite of SpringDance of the Adolescents (2)

  • Folk song motives are laid over rhythm

    • Motives repeat, & new ones pile on top of old

    • Different length & rhythm for each repetition – an irregular ostinato

    • Creates climax by piling more & more motives, ostinatos, & rhythms on top of each other


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The Rite of SpringThe Game of Abduction

  • Brutal, violent rhythms here

    • Asymmetric, with frequently changing meter

    • LOUD – heavy brass, sliding horn calls, & frantic pounding on the timpani

    • Alternation between scurrying figures & heavy booming ones


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The Rite of SpringRound Dances of Spring (1)

  • Desolate, empty feeling in introduction

    • Piccolo clarinet & alto flute two octaves apart

  • Slow, dragging dance follows

    • Hypnotic meter created by heavy downbeat & added or skipped beats

    • Uses folk tune fragment from earlier section


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The Rite of SpringRound Dances of Spring (2)

  • Relentless buildup to overpowering climax

    • Trombone glissandos with gong, cymbals, & bass drum

    • Sudden, fast coda with violent interjections

    • Brief return of p bassoon fanfare


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Conclusions

  • New language based on rhythm

    • Exhilarating, irregular rhythms & meter

    • Complex textures pile up rhythms & motives

  • Strong reaction against Romanticism

    • Tough, precise, barbaric music with no Romantic sentiment or emotionalism

    • Melody reduced to motives & fragments

    • Frequent dissonance as motives pile up

    • Tonality anchored by ostinato & pedal tones, not by diatonic scales

  • Extraordinary ear for new colors


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