24 Aug 2018

STRAVINSKY: Symphony in Three Movements

From Music Alive, 8:00 pm on 24 August 2018
Portrait of Stravinsky by Robert Delaunay

Portrait of Stravinsky by Robert Delaunay, in the Garman Ryan Collection Photo: Public Domain

'Symphony in Three Movements' by Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971) brings a neo-classical attitude to music of the past: the first movement is said to follow the shape of a Beethoven first movement, and the scampering woodwind duetting in the second movement suggests 19th-century opera. The title cleverly acknowledges deviation from the usual four movements of a classical symphony.

Stravinsky’s love of sound is always obvious, nowhere more so than in a neo-classical work which is bound to make the abstract nature of sound its business. But the combining of harp and piano in the third movement might actually have denoted a nostalgia for mother Russia.

'Symphony in Three Movements' was his first new work to be performed after his naturalisation as a US citizen in December 1945. It was premièred by the New York Philharmonic under his direction on 24 January 1946.

Recorded 24 August 2018, Michael Fowler Centre, Wellington by RNZ Concert

Sound engineer: Graham Kennedy