1st Edition

The Music of Stravinsky Collected Essays

By Pieter C. van den Toorn Copyright 2023
    514 Pages 205 B/W Illustrations
    by Jenny Stanford Publishing

    514 Pages 205 B/W Illustrations
    by Jenny Stanford Publishing

    The most celebrated of Western composers in the twentieth century, Igor Stravinsky may have been the greatest as well. Stretching across forty or so years, the essays in this volume address the dynamics of Igor Stravinsky’s music from a variety of analytical, critical, and aesthetic angles. Underscored are the features of melody, harmony, rhythm, and form that would remain consistently a part of Stravinsky’s oeuvre regardless of the changes in orientation from the Russian period to the neoclassical and the early serial. The Rite of Spring (1913), Les Noces (1917–23), the Symphony of Psalms (1930), and the Symphony in Three Movements (1945) are discussed in detail, as are many of the circumstances attending their conception. Other concerns include the composer’s "formalist" aesthetics and the strict performing style he pursued as an interpreter and conductor of his music.

    1. Some Characteristics of Stravinsky’s Diatonic Music

    2. Taruskin’s Angle

    3. Stravinsky Re-barred

    4. What’s in a Motive?

    5. Neoclassism and Its Definitions

    6. Will Stravinsky Survive Postmodernism?

    7. Stravinsky, Les Noces (Svadebka), and the Prohibition against Expressive Timing

    8. The Sounds of Stravinsky

    9. Stravinsky, Adorno, and the Art of Displacement

    10. The Rite of Spring Briefly Revisited: Thoughts on Stravinsky’s Stratifications, the Psychology of Meter, and African Polyrhythm

    11. Individual and ‘Class Generality’: Reflections on the Post-War Years of Babbitt, Schoenberg, and Stravinsky


    Pieter C. van den Toorn is professor of music emeritus at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Born in Montclair, New Jersey, in1938, he attended Amherst College and Harvard University before studying for several years with Nadia Boulanger in Paris, France. Subsequently, in 1986, he recieved his phD in music from University of California, at Berkeley. His books include The music of Igor Stravinsky (1983), Stravisnky and "The Rite of Spring" (1987), Music, Politics, and the Academy (1995), Stravinsky and the Russian Period (2012), with John McGinness, and Simply Stravinsky (2020). Stravisnsky and "The Rite of Spting" won the ASCAP Foundation Deems Taylor Award and the outstanding of the Society for Music Theory.