I concede. The 20th century did produce some very excellent ‘classical’ music.
This is a massive moment for me, and it is a long time coming. Bach, Mozart and Vivaldi were really the only composers I countenanced as a young girl. Gradually, and as I played their works, I grew to appreciate the Romantic Beethoven, the Spirited Mendelssohn and the Lyric Schubert. I got to college admitting music up to Chopin but utterly excluding Liszt. To wrap up this whirlwind journey of musical and self discovery, Shostakovich (Sym. #5) and Debussy (Violin Sonata) swept me off my feet and opened the door to all the rest of it.
Now I would like to lay the framework for helping you, Dear Reader, to come into the world of 20th c. music and learn to appreciate its art and discern genius invention from plagued drivel. I’m starting with Stravinsky because I want to. He’s not the first ‘modern’ composer. He’s not my favorite. But I feel like it, so here we go.
The first thing to do, and today’s job, is to establish an idea of the man himself. What better way than to show you things that Stravinsky himself said? Here is a man of the Race That Knows Joseph.
“The Church knew what the psalmist knew: Music praises God. Music is well or better able to praise him than the building of the church and all its decoration; it is the Church’s greatest ornament.”
“Just as appetite comes from eating, so work brings inspiration, if inspiration is not discernible at the beginning.”
“My God, so much I like to drink Scotch that sometimes I think my name is Igor Stra-whiskey.”
Now when we talk about his music, remember these things!