The Russian French Swiss American Stravinsky

April 26, 2010

Over at Avery Fisher Hall, they’re wallowing in Stravinsky — under the title “The Russian Stravinsky.” Is there any other Stravinsky, you might ask? Well, yes, it seems so. Richard Taruskin, as usual contrarian but right, tells us all about it.

I was able to hear Les Noces, The Symphony of Psalms, and Firebird after the Icelandic volcano let St. Petersburg’s Mariinsky Theater Chorus get through, and I’m certainly glad that I did — and that it did.

Coming up is one of my favorite Stravinsky works, which happens to have been commissioned by the Philharmonic. The main point of this post is to point out that they have taken the extraordinary step of posting online a free recording of the composer conducting the Symphony in Three Movements at the time of the premiere. Though I’ve certainly heard more fetching performances of it, it’s always a privilege to hear what the composer was able to get out of the orchestra when the piece was spanking new.

(And, by the way, I here register a rare disagreement with my colleague La Cieca, who spoke on Facebook of the work’s title as the “least palatable opus name.” I always found “Symphony in Three Movements” particularly elegant in a neo-classical sort of way.)

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