Stravinsky 50th Anniversary: Performances, Publishing, Recordings
The 50th anniversary of Igor Stravinsky’s death on 6 April 1971 is honoured over the coming month with performances – many streamed due to the pandemic, new publications including his Two Sketches for a Sonata, and an array of recordings in newly compiled box sets.
Many large-scale celebrations of Stravinsky scheduled around the 6 April anniversary have sadly had to be cancelled due to the COVID pandemic, but some are going ahead in reduced form or as streamed or broadcast events. Here are a selection of performance and radio highlights:
3-6 April, Mariinsky in St Petersburg and Moscow, Days of Stravinsky
St Petersburg pays tribute to one of its most famous sons with a major series of Stravinsky anniversary events. On 4 April all Mariinsky venues will focus on Stravinsky repertoire including stagings of the three early ballets, Apollo and Pulcinella, plus an evening concert of Oedipus Rex and Capriccio conducted by Valery Gergiev with pianist Denis Matsuev. On 5 April the Mariinsky travels to the Zaryadye Hall in Moscow for two concerts containing the three early ballets and on 6 April the orchestra returns to St Petersburg for an anniversary performance of Symphony of Psalms conducted by Gergiev.
> More info
6 April, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, streamed anniversary concert
Vasily Petrenko conducts an all-Stravinsky celebration on the anniversary itself, featuring Apollo and the Concerto for Piano and Winds with soloist Steven Osborne. The concert is available streamed on demand for 30 days from 6 April, and on the evening there is a pre-concert introduction and a post-concert session on Zoom.
> More info
6 April, Cologne Gürzenich Orchestra, streamed Stravinsky Marathon
François-Xavier Roth has curated a three-concert marathon event streamed from three venues, the Cologne Philharmonie, the Museum Ludwig and Papa Joe’s Klimperkasten jazz bar. Repertoire includes Symphonies of Wind Instruments, Capriccio for piano and orchestra, Divertimento from The Fairy’s Kiss, Octet and Ragtime.
> More info
6 April, Deutsches Symphonie Orchester Berlin, anniversary broadcast
Deutschlandfunk Kultur presents a live broadcast with players from the Deutsches Symphonie Orchester exploring Stravinsky’s connections with composers at the Ecole de Paris. The programme in collaboration with EDA Records includes Stravinsky’s Octet and music by Antheil, Ibert, Laks, and Mihalovici.
> More info
6-11 April, Elbphilharmonie Hamburg, NDR Stravinsky Online Festival
The week-long Hamburg festival celebrating Stravinsky’s association with the NDR Orchestra has been reshaped into a sequence of livestreams. Events are launched on 6 April with a programme conducted by Philipp Ahmann with choral works include Gesualdo and Monteverdi arrangements and Symphony of Psalms. On 10 April Alan Gilbert conducts Apollo and the Concerto for Piano and Winds with soloist Kirill Gerstein and events are rounded off by a jazz concert with the NDR Bigband.
> More info
10 April, BBC Radio 3, Stravinsky Day Please note Stravinsky broadcasts on 10 April are postponed and will be broadcast at a later date
BBC Radio 3 broadcasts a week of Stravinsky features culminating in a complete day devoted to his music on Saturday 10 April. Highlights include a curated five-and-a-half-hour River of Music Stravinsky sequence presented by Sarah Walker, together with features on Record Review and Music Matters and a broadcast of The Rake's Progress. Building up to the day is Composer of the Week running daily between 5 and 9 April with Donald Mcleod. All programmes included in Radio 3's Stravinsky 50 will be available on BBC Sounds for 30 days after initial broadcast.
> More info
30 April and 14 May, Minnesota Orchestra, Stravinsky livestreams
The Minnesota Orchestra’s Friday livestream series includes two Stravinsky works: Pulcinella Suite conducted by Fabien Gabel and Symphonies of Wind Instruments with Osmo Vänskä on the rostrum.
> More info (30 April)
> More info (14 May)
Publication of Two Sketches for a Sonata
Boosey & Hawkes is pleased to publish for the first time Stravinsky’s Two Sketches for a Sonata dating from 1966. This digital publication, containing a facsimile of the manuscript housed in the Paul Sacher Foundation in Basel, a modern note-set version of the two piano fragments, and a preface by Jonathan Cross, is released in honour of the composer’s 50th.
> Further information on Two Sketches for a Sonata
Recordings and Podcasts
To mark the anniversary, record companies have been mining their archives to issue new box sets of the composer’s music. The recorded legacy covers Stravinsky’s complete output and the centrality of the repertoire over the past century is emphasised by the starry list of conductors, including Claudio Abbado, Leonard Bernstein, Pierre Boulez, Riccardo Chailly, Simon Rattle and the composer himself. As well as the new boxes from Deutsche Grammophon, Warner Classics, Decca and Sony, Tony Palmer is reissuing his classic Stravinsky documentary Once at a Border in a new presentation set produced for the anniversary.
> Information on new recording releases
Also in honour of the 50th anniversary, Boosey & Hawkes has produced a series of audio podcasts entitled Stravinsky Connections. The five episodes, released in January and February, are hosted by Jonathan Cross, Professor of Musicology at the University of Oxford and a respected authority on Stravinsky, who invites listeners to explore this colossus of modern creativity.
> Listen to the Stravinsky Connections podcasts
Photo: Wikimedia Commons