In his Poetics of Music (1942) Stravinsky says: "Summing up: What is important for the lucid ordering of the work – for its crystallization – is that all the Dionysian elements which set the imagination of the artist in motion and make the life-sap rise must be properly subjugated before they intoxicate us, and must finally be made to submit to the law: Apollo demands it." Stravinsky conceived Apollo as a ballet blanc – a "white ballet" with classical choreography and monochromatic attire. Envisioning the work in his mind's eye, he found that "the absence of many-colored hues and of all superfluities produced a wonderful freshness." Upon first hearing Apollo, Diaghilev found it "music somehow not of this world, but from somewhere else above." The ballet closes with an Apotheosis in which Apollo leads the Muses towards Parnassus. Here, the gravely beautiful music with which the work began is truly recapitulated "on high" – ceaselessly recycled, frozen in time.
This programme note can be reproduced free of charge in concert programmes with credit to Boosey & Hawkes/Joseph Horowitz.