A night of music, specifically one infused of Stravinsky

Cited Source: Music: Philadelphians Play Stravinsky’s ‘Rite of Spring’.” Published February 5th, 1981 By The New York Times.

Source of Article: https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy3.library.arizona.edu/docview/121488543/59D4C2B6455A45C6PQ/5?accountid=8360

When reading this article, I was intrigued to not only know Stravinsky from a different perspective, but how the music was displayed as a whole with the orchestra that had premiered it in this article that I had found. The article itself is named, “Music: Philadelphians Play Stravinsky’s ‘Rite of Spring’.” Published By the New York Times, February 5th, 1981. The title of the article was very bold and confident on the cover of the article, and it sparked my interest as a whole as a reader. The article firstly speaks upon the idea and or perspective that Stravinsky had himself, and how he easily compared himself to the self renowned, Mozart. With that being said, I felt he was very confident with this piece that he had created, and some sense, was trying to emulate someone who he looked up to like Mozart. Which is extremely interesting and was said that he truly represented that through the 1940s, or more specifically, his “high Neo-Classical period”.

During the time of the premiere, the composer Riccardo Muti tried to represent both composers when he had presented the Rite of Spring with the Philadelphia Orchestra in Carnegie hall on a Tuesday night. He had stated and or expressed that he very much so in some way admired Stravinsky, and his style of music and or dynamic of it was “very much to his taste and in tune with his temperament.” In reading this, I was content to see that many composers that prepare famous pieces like the Rite of Spring usually have knowledge of not only the music itself, but also find admiration and love for it, which is amazing.

Picture of article displayed

In explaining Muti’s perspective of the piece and performance, it is said that it was “unfurled, while the passages of chamber-music delicacy bespoke a genuine sensitivity for the “Rite’s” subtle interplay of instrumental colors and jagged rhythmic complexities. As a reader, when this was expressed, I truly felt as though I was in the audience and was able to feel every small detail that was said of the performance itself. As a whole, many had stated that the performance itself was not equal to the recording of the Rite of Spring that they he had conducted prior, but the performance in 1981 still distinguished itself as being as musically ethical.

It was said in the article that during the night of the premiere, he had first opened the performance with Mozart’s “infrequently heard” Symphony №34 in C, and was said that Muti himself made all the correct cues to perform the performance efficiently and with a “festive spirit”. But, in the end with normal perfection, there was only a really “ graceless, lumpy, and perfuntory” outcome. It is also expressed that the composer Muti himself was not able to really execute Mozart’s style, and it said that his style is “an elusive commodity”, which is eye opening to learn about. In this, the article suggests that Muti himself has still “not yet found his way to this composer”, or Mozart, more specifically.

As I finished reading the article, many questions were raised for me. Did Muti feel as though he could properly execute his passion through Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring, but not through Mozart’s №34 Symphony in C? In him being a composer, I wonder how he had felt about that. It is said in the article that Stravinsky himself had so much in common with Mozart, but that persepctive can and is probably unpredictable. Every composer is unique in their own sense, and music is created in a complexity of different ways that it is almost inevitable for a composer to be alike to another. Maybe Muti and Stravinsky himself needed to realize that. And in this, Muti was only really able to give meaning to Stravinsky’s piece in comparison to Mozart’s. Which is not surprising.

I wonder if he was able to execute Mozart’s elusive way of music as he progressed as a composer, and perform it in the way that it was needed to be heard. In conclusion, his prediction was right. He admired Stravinsky because he was and again, “very much to his taste and in tune with his temperament.”

By Ethan Encinas

He/Him Cello Performance at the Fred Fox School Of Music