May 26, 2013
Written by Victoria Baker
Thursday, 10 February 2011 12:18
Perhaps you've heard about the movie "Coco Chanel and Igor Stravinsky.” It is a lavishly produced biopic with fantastic costumes and music, depicting the affair between the Russian composer and the famous fashion designer. In 1920's Paris, Coco Chanel was a newly wealthy and successful but grief-stricken woman after the love of her life's fatal car crash. Igor Stravinsky, following the Russian Revolution was a penniless refugee living in exile in Paris. Coco was introduced to Igor by Diaghilev, impresario of the Ballets Russes. The attraction between them was instant. Coco invited Igor along with his wife, who was sick with consumption, along with his four children and a menagerie of birds to stay at her new villa, Bel Respiro, in Garches. This interesting living arrangement has sparked the imagination of many a writer, filmmaker and composer.
After the deaths of his daughter, his wife, and his mother within a period of less than a year, Stravinsky immigrated to America settling in California with his second wife in 1940. His works between coming decades show a mixture of styles, but still seem centered on Russian or French traditions. Igor Stravinsky was one of music's truly epochal innovators. No other composer of the twentieth century has exerted such a pervasive influence or dominated his art in the way that Stravinsky did during his seven-decade musical career. Aside from purely technical considerations such as rhythm and harmony, the most important hallmark of Stravinsky's style is, indeed, its changing face. Emerging from the spirit of late Russian nationalism and ending his career with a thorny, individual language steeped in twelve-tone principles. Stravinsky assumed a number of aesthetic guises throughout the course of his development while always retaining a distinctive, essential identity.
The upcoming Greenwich Symphony performance promises audience members an interesting classical music experience, especially with the added pleasure of watching a husband and wife duo perform. It is up to you now to judge if Stravinsky's larger than life personality can be captured in their renditions of his music.
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