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The Apollonian Clockwork

The Apollonian Clockwork: On Stravinsky

Louis Andriessen
Elmer Schönberger
Copyright Date: 2006
Pages: 314
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  • Book Info
    The Apollonian Clockwork
    Book Description:

    'I think my music deserves to be considered as a whole', Igor Stravinsky remarked at the end of a long and restless career, and that is exactly what the authors of The Apollonian Clockwork do. In 1982, convinced that there is no essential difference between 'early' and 'late' Stravinsky, Louis Andriessen and Elmer Schönberger were the first to write a monograph on the composer which radically breaks with the habit of dividing his works into 'Russian', 'neoclassical' and 'serial'. In an essay which continually shifts in its approach, style and perspective, the authors elaborate on their insight that a single, immutable compositional attitude underlies the whole of Stravinsky's oeuvre. By this token the book not only offers an analysis of the composer's protean work and artistry but takes example by it as well.

    eISBN: 978-90-485-0412-1
    Subjects: Music

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Preface to the AAA-edition
    (pp. None)
    Jonathan Cross
  3. Acknowledgements
    (pp. v-viii)
  4. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. Translator's Note
    (pp. xi-xii)
  6. Preface
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
    L.A. and E.S.
  7. I

    • The New Renewed
      (pp. 3-6)

      In 1981 a gramophone record appeared-Stravinsky'sChanson russeeight times over, nothing else. There are several reasons why this recording can be called revealing.

      In 1981, things had gone so far Ihat a fashionable bar in Amsterdam where tasteful backgroundmusic(the worst kind) was played, altcrnatcd soft Thad Joncs md soft Morricone Wilh soft (hut intended 10 be loud) fragments from Stravinsky'sPulcinelfaand soft (but intended to be loud) fragments from Sieve Rcich'sFour Organs. In another five years, Webern'sBagatelles, and in another ten years, Schocnbcrg'sPierrot lunairewill get their turns.

      Chanson russeis an arrangement...

    • 1966-Requiem Canticles
      (pp. 7-10)

      On 6 April 1971 Stravinsky died in a house in New York where he had lived for a week.

      On 15 April he was buried in Venice.

      Before the burial, a service was performed in the basilica of Santi Giovanni c Puo]o--a requiem according to the Greek Orthodox liturgy. This service began with a concert. Besides Scarlatti and Gabricli,Requiem Canticleswas performcd-Stravinsky's last large work, dating from 1966. Unlike theMass, this work is not suitable for liturgical use as only one-tenth of the liturgical text is set; it is not suitable for a church either as it does...

    • America on Sunday
      (pp. 11-16)

      San Diego, 6 August 1979

      First time in the United States! No, the first time in America. Enjoying it all, without shame or reservation. To his dismay and disillusionment, this is exactly what he read in an article by a fussy columnist once home again in Holland: America is back in fashion 'not even tcn years after Vietnam'. Travelling through desert nights in a Greyhound bus in which the air-conditioning consists of opening a window; trying to win the trip back in Las Vegas; visions of hostages and shoot-outs in a dubious bus station in which he (terrorized by the...

    • Ars Imitatio Artis
      (pp. 17-21)

      Just as the heroes of Sebastian Knight's novelThe Prismatic Bezelare neither 'inner conflict', nor 'faith in the future', nor 'rage over a lost penny', nor simply 'self-conscious first theme', neither afc these the heroes of Stravinsky's music. Stravinsky's heroes arc, rather, methods of composition. The frugality of this concept contrasts sharply with the excitement that it can generate. The music of Stravinsky sounds 'as if a painter said: look, here I'm going to show you not the painting of a landscape, hut the painting of different ways of painting a certain landscape, and I trust their harmonious fusion...

    • No Copyright Problem Here
      (pp. 22-27)

      In 1941, having just arrived in America, Stravinsky arrangedThe Star-Spangled Bannerfor chorus and orchestra. The composer himself regarded this arrangement as superior to every other versiun that he had ever heard. However, when, after the premiere which had gone smoothly, he sent a manuscript to Mrs Roosevclt to be auctioned for charity, she refused the gift. According to the arranger, 'my major seventh chord in the second strain of the piece, the part patriotic ladics like best, must have embarrassed some high official'. In the setting of national anthems, major seventh chords arc not allowed (Ex. 1).


    • 1919-La Marseillaise
      (pp. 28-35)

      On the first of January 1919, Stravinsky made an arrangement of theMarseillaise, for one violin. For whom or for what occasion is not known. Maybe it was, like theCanons for Two Horns(1917), to pay the doctor. (Because the doctor wanted it, not out of poverty. The large financial worries that tortured the composer his whole life were the worries of someone who could yet afford to travel first class.) The arrangement of theMarseillaisewas never published. The piece has been performed-mostly as a curiosity-a couple of times in the last few years.

      There is nothing amiss...

    • A Motto
      (pp. 36-38)

      The most prominent difference between the (double) fugue from theSymphony of Psalmsand all other fugues is that bars 1-5-the fugue theme unaccompanied-arc not the trigger for the following eighty-three bars of counterpoint, but rather the following eighty-three bars of counterpoint are a footnote to bars 1-5. A long, ingenious and, now and {hen, even a brilliant footnote, but none the less a footnote.

      The theme can be presented as a paradigm:

      1. In particular for the 'neoclassical' Stravinsky since it is a paradox in sound: it sounds like something, but primarily like itself (it reminds us of something familiar,...

    • Ordeals of the Memory
      (pp. 39-44)

      A thirteen-year-old is capable, while lying in bed ready for sleep, of playing the Schumann Piano Concerto (in A minor) on the record-player of his memory. During the second movement, he will probably fall asleep. If, tcn years later, in another bedroom, he tries the same thing with the StravinskyConcerto for Piano and Wind('in A minor'), he will, at the very most, if he even gets that far, get stuck at the cadenza of the first movement; or worse, get trapped in a vicious circle of dove-tailing rhythms and snake-like motifs biting at their own tails. There is...

    • Forma Formans
      (pp. 45-49)

      Stravinsky's music sounds improvised. A musical subject is introduced, but the thought is broken off and the composer changes to another subject-like a witty speaker during a pleasant lunch, flowing with good white wine, who, after a quip pulls another anecdote out of his hat. 'Oh, yes, now I want to tell you what Misia Sert said, when she stepped into her box at the Gaieté Lyrique theatre.' (In 1921 Diaghilev decided to make his contribution to the socializing of the arts. He rented the Gaiete Lyriquc, a small theatre in the workers' district of Paris and managed-through publicity in...

    • Zoonology
      (pp. 50-54)

      It is rather useless to speculate what somebody would have become if he had not become what he became; in Stravinsky's case, it is at least no more useless than usuaL His biography is so rich in detail that morc than one answer springs to mind. Such as investment manager (or blackmarketeer), bank director (or forger), lexicographer (specializing in etymology), stationer, devil's advocate, or-most likely of all-zoologist. His first autobiographical writings, the very businesslikeChroniques de ma vie, offer evidence to support this last conjecture when the writer remembers how he spent hours in 'the famous Aquarium' of Naples together...

    • 1947-Orpheus
      (pp. 55-62)

      There is scarcely any other piece of music whose beauty is as mysterious as that ofOrpheus. And there is scarcely any other episode whose beauty is as mysterious as that of the introductory Lento 50StCouto. Even the most mediocre pianist can play it on the piano. If he were to, he would notice that he actually only needs half of his instrument---even less than half. Since, except for that one augmented chord in the winds and that onc C# in the cello, everything is white. White keys: a white ballet. Five-part, slowly sliding chords in the strings in which...

  8. II

    • Purcell, Pergolesi and the others
      (pp. 65-67)

      'Since I have never liked excessive uniformity in composition and taste. since I have heard such a quanlity and vanely of good fthingsJ. since I have always been of the opinion Ihat onc could derive some good, whalcver it may be. even if i' is only a maller of minute details in a piece. probably from such Iconsiderations] and my natural. God-given ability arises the variety that has been observed in my works.'

      Stravinsky was not the only Slravinsky in history. The quoted statement is borrowed from the autobiography of Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach (1714–88), (he composer who vies...

    • Concocted Reality
      (pp. 68-70)

      In the seventies the Dutch composer Dick Raaijmakers¹ made several pieces on the theme of China. Onc of those wasMao leve! (Mao Live!,1977). Next toMao leve!even Andy Warhol"s colour portraits of Mao pale and shriveL The piece consists of a series of slides showing Chinese children, cut out of one of those sugar-coated illustrations which seem to have been patented by the People's Republic. The projected children observe the Long March through a Chinese teething-ring as if looking into a magic lantern. The Long March itself consists of seven sections of a map. From the loudspeakers,...

    • The Inverted Metaphor
      (pp. 71-74)

      In 1920, Yevgeny Zamyatin, a Russian of Stravinsky's generation who later fell into disfavour, wrote a short story entitled 'The Cave'. The occupant of the cave is Martin Martinych. He is accompanied by his Masha. Their scarce possessions include books, stone-age pancakes, a flat-iron, five potatoes, scrubbed lovingly to gleaming whiteness, an axe, and Scriabin, Opus 74. 'Hot as the scorched desert¹ is the title Scriabin gave the second prelude from this cycle; but the cold Zamyatin left his cave-dwellers in remains none the less just as bitter. Martin Martinych has to sink to stealing a few logs of wood...

    • The Utopian Unison
      (pp. 75-80)

      Polyphony, harmony, unison, homophony, one-part writing, two-part writing, doublings-for centuries, these notions were sufficient to describe musical compositions. They unambiguously classified unambiguous musical structures. Twentieth-century music has forced theoreticians to redefine some of them. Polyphony now no longer means only a fabric of independent voices, but can also mean a fabric of independent chord sequences. Harmony has lost its general meaning and has become a special case of 'density' or ‘ficld’. But when redefinition proved insufficient, because of excessive generality, entirely new notions had to be introduced.

      Stravinsky's music, too, has left general music theory in disarray, not only because...

    • Poétique musicale
      (pp. 81-96)

      Two images of the 'neoclassical' Stravinsky have long competed for the honour of being the one and only true image. The first is that of the petit bourgeois, revanchist composer, recognizable in a scornfully ironical characterization by Simon Vcstdijk:¹ 'Stravinsky the person, the respectable husband and the hard worker, good Christian and neo-Thomist, officially recognized celehrity, who dedicated his compositions to God'. The other is already hinted at in 1924 in the magazineComoedia:'. . I was able to ask the young Russian maestro several questions without giving him the fecling of being submitted to an interview. He answered...

    • On Influence
      (pp. 97-101)

      If ever a Stravinsky school existed, it was in Boston around 1950. It was there that a group of composers was formed, discussed in 1951 by Aaran Copland in an article for Minna Ledcrman's bookStravinsky in the Thea/re.

      Copland and Waiter Piston were the first American composers to whom Nadia Boulangcr revealed the secrets of European music in Chateau Fontaineblcau. This luxurious chateau, surrounded by woods, was the setting of the American Conservatory, founded in 1921, where the then thirty-four-year-old Nadia Boulanger was lord and mistress. She had abandoned her own career in composition in 1918, the year her...

    • 1952-Cantata
      (pp. 102-114)

      TheCantata on Anonymous XVth-XVlth Century Lyricswas composed in 1951-2. It calls for soprano, tenor, female chomus, and a small instrumental ensemble consisting of two flutes, oboe, cor anglais (doubling the second oboe), and cello. Duration: about half an hour. The piece is rarely performed. Perhaps that has something to do with the closed character and modest lyricism of these Lyrics. TheCantatais the antithesis of a spectacular composition. Its beauty is difficult to discover. After one hearing the music seems simple and languid: simple because of the diatonic melodies. and languid because of the regular rhythms in...

    • Philosophie der neuen Musik
      (pp. 115-119)

      Stravinsky entertained a lively interest in death. He loved death-masks. He called Beethoven’s 'more human' Ihan the portraits of the living Beethoven. His own father 'impressed (him) in his death more than he had ever done in his life'. Stravinsky practised the musicalIn MemQriamwith more than jus, average devotion. The deaths of Debussy, Nalalie Kussevilzky, Dylan Thomas, and Aldous Huxley each yielded a musical masterpiece. Perhaps theChant funèbre, composed in 190R in remembrance of Rimsky-Korsakov, is also a masterpiece. Half a century latcr, Stravinsk), would remember the wOJk as his best and most advanccd prior toThe...

    • 1955-Greeting Prelude
      (pp. 120-122)

      Extremely small composition for extremely large orchestra.

      'Singing telegram.'

      45 sec.

      Happy Birthday to You;forwards, backwards, upside down, distorted, mixed up and all at once. Elaborate gaiety.

      Especially suitable for 'critics and children'.

      For critics: from melody to ahstract interval pattern, from tune to series.

      A lesson.

      For children: 'A Young Person's Guide to Serialism'.

      A game.

      Melody still recognizable as melody, though G is octave too low, B octavc too high-first step towards abstraction. B no longer B of melody but B of Webern. Scc: Pseudo-chromaticism.

      High B skips in the groove. Meanwhile same notes in low strings,...

    • New York: Robert Craft and Vera Stravinsky
      (pp. 123-132)

      New York, 15 July 1979

      Centrdl Park. A terrific view of a six-foot-four Nubian beauty, slcnder, in shimmering. red shorts, roller-skating past, walkman on her right hip.

      'He loved the view of Central Park, no matter how short it may have lasted for him,'

      Vera S. bought the luxurious mansion on the corner of 73rd and Fifth Avenue in December 1970. The composer lived there for seven days. The elderly couple moved into the house on 30 March 197J- Vera S. leaving behind a hotel suite, I.S. (even Robert Craft never used the familiar Igor) a hospital room. In accordance...

    • 1943-Ode
      (pp. 133-136)

      Odeis a piece that balances on the threshold of musical audibility. It is, despite the rather powerful middle movement, more the shadow of music than music. It seduces onc into senseless contemplation anout the music that lies behind the notes (even though what undoubtedly lics behind the notes is at most other notcs; encouraged to make connections by the sound of the notes, we can only draw on our remembrance of other notes). The opening of the Eulogy, the first movement of this 'Elcgiacal Chant', is just like the opening bars of Schubcrt's Fantasy in F minor for piano...

  9. III

    • Monsieur, le pauvre Satie
      (pp. 139-141)

      Seventy years after its creation.Le Sacre du printempsis still so potent that it can give someone who is hearing it for the first time the fee ling that his life is being changed, or at least that his ideas about music are being turned IOPSYIUrvy.

      It is highly unlikely that a young musician who, as an ex periment, lislens la Brinen'sWar Requiemafter a long night spent with a 101 of Talking Heads, David Bowic, the Police. and perhaps too much beer, will have the feeling that 'this is it'. If, instead of Brillen, he puts on...

    • Ragtime
      (pp. 142-144)

      Actually, ragtime was a boomerang. French and Spanish colonists brought polkas, quadrilles, cancans, galops, pasodobles, and habaneras 10Nouvelle Orléansand black pianists flung back ragtime. They gave the whites a laste of their Own medicine. They merely played galops, quadrilles, and cancans, imitating an entire orchestra of winds, hanjos. and basses on the piano, but added rhythms in the right hand which were new to Western cars, even shocking, and which had their origin in African musical culture. The whites thought the rhythms were syncopations (as if it were Brahms!), but the new rhythms were anything but syncopations and...

    • 1921-Les cinq doigts
      (pp. 145-149)

      Kur-daa, tang ka da dááa! Táng ka tang ka… etcetera.

      This and no other way is how theSymphony in Three Mm'ementsbegins. Orchestral violence results in such song. All music which is sounded is the outcome of a certain amount of physical energy. Even the better kind of electronic music allows the listener to hear that the cones of the speakers arc hard at work, and the best electronic music, like Dick Raaijrnakers'Canons, Ballade vaor luidsprekers rCanons, Ballade for Loudspeakers],makes a subject out of the cones.

      Stravinsky always sang his instrumental melodies monosyllabically. His singing of...

    • 1917-Les Noces (Svadebka)
      (pp. 150-159)

      In 1926 the Viennese avant-garde magazineMlIsikbliitter des Anhmchdedicated a special number to the subject of 'Musik uDd Maschine'. 'Maschine' in this case meant, in particular, the player piano. or pianola, an automatic or semi-automatic piano that replaced the ten fingers of the pianist with eighty-eight artificial fingers, programmed on rolls of perforated paper. According to H. H. Stuckenschmidt, onc of Germany's most prominent advocates of new music, the 'last two years have been crucial. The first compositions for mechanical instruments have alrcldy been composed, the first performances have already taken place.' The writer had the Donaueschingcr Musiktage in...

    • On Montage Technique
      (pp. 160-164)

      TheSymphonies of Wind Instrumentsis an aloof composition. That may explain the vicissitudes of the piece. It began with the first performance. The piece must have sounded like a brass band tuning up, coming as it did after a big orchestral work. In 1921. within sophisticated concert life, winds were still associated with military and brass bands, with banality. with fat men wearing caps, playing in the town square. And the sight seen during the premiere of theSymphoniesdid not do much to contradict this. After the performance of the Marches from Rimsky-Korsakov'sLe Coq d'Or, almost the...

    • A Kind of Brecht
      (pp. 165-168)

      Brecht was a confirmed communist. Reactionary critics who, when writing on Brecht, speak of 'the pitfall of dogmatism into which many an artist stumbles when finding himself in a creative crisis', are knocking at the wrong door. If ever Brecht was dogmatic (as in, perhaps, the radicalLehrstiicke), it was for political and not for artistic reasons. The form Brccllt gave to his works was, in the first place, a result of a political attitude. It was a question of life or death for an anarchistic anti-bourgeois like Brecht to fight the onset of Fascism in the Germany of the...

    • 1918-L'Histoire du soldat
      (pp. 169-173)

      When, in the seventies,Rolling Stoneeditor Jonathan Cott was in Amsterdam for a few days, he visited the harpsichordist and Bach specialist, Gustav Leonhardt. He had a chorale setting by Bach with him and wanted Leonhardt's views on the peculiar harmonies and passing notes. Leonhardt looked at the chorale and asked: 'Do you have the text of the ch-orale with you?' No, he did not, even though Leonhardt’s question was rather obvious: the text could shed some light on why some of those extravagant notes were there.

      Still, Cott's quest for truth beyond the text made sense. Even if...

    • On Authenticating and on Making Current
      (pp. 174-177)

      Today, Bach is played better than he was eighty years ago. Bach has been authenticated. Performance practice today on historical instruments as developed by Nikolaus Harnoncourt and Gustav Lconhardt is not better because it is authentic, but is authentic because these musicians have a better insight into Bach's music. Their playing style not only differs from the romantic orchestral style, but also from the anti-romantic 'sewing-machine' interpretations that, though contrasting with the romantic style, none the less hardly elucidated Bach.

      Old instruments offer many advantages: the gut of baroque string instruments sounds more transparent and richer in high harmonics; the...

    • Ostinato Basses
      (pp. 178-181)

      In the salon of a Swiss villa—the starting-point for a search for Stravinsky’s residences circumscribing Lake Geneva- was a Steinway grand. It was blacker than most OIher Steinways, and also shinier. h was as if the thick carpet of snow outside had continued on indoors.

      " tricd out some basses. mostly repealed motifs. If you try to make Stravinsky-likc basses, you've got 10 continually shift the down-beat:

      'Not necessarily. You can just limit your choice of notes. Start with an ostinato bass of a minor third and you'll scc that Stravinsky often merely adds the upper octave of the...

    • A Visit to Lake Geneva
      (pp. 182-197)

      Geneva, 29 December 1979

      What our eyes first fell upon when entering Geneva were the large, crcamcoloured signs on both sides of the Boulevard. On the posters, in large lcUcrs-STRAVINSKY. Only not Igor but Theodorc. Thcodorc was the oldest of four children; a quick calculation showed that he was at present just as old as his father was when he composedCanlicum Sacrum(ad honorcm Sancti Mafci nominis). Evangelium secundum Marcurn XVI.15: 'And he said unto them, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature" '. Just before the Second World War Theodore wroteLe...

    • Id est: Hermetic Music
      (pp. 198-201)

      Threni= 5 phonemes.

      'Id est Lamcntationcs Jcrcmiae Prophctac' = 5 words.

      Threnicontains, just like the Lamentations of Prophet Jeremiah, 5 movements.

      An introduction, consisting of an orchestral fragment of 5 hars and an explicatio tituli of alternately ¾ and${}^{2}\!\!\diagup\!\!{}_{4}\;$bars, precedes the 5 sections.

      The piece begins with a 3-note motif, repeated 5 times.

      From the Lamentations of Prophet Jeremiah, 3 parts are employed.

      The middle movement, 'Dc Elegia Tertia', consists of 3 sections. The 15 Hebrew letters (15 = 3 X 5) sung in that movement each occur 3 times.

      In 'De Elcgia Prima', 5 Hebrew...

  10. IV

    • Stravinsky
      (pp. 204-208)

      I think my music deserves to be considered as a whole.


      'Slravinsky' is an adjectival, not a nominative form in Russian, hence I am not Stravinsk but Stravinsky-y(an). Arc any consequences of this fact discernible in my music? Certainly it has been characterized as adjectival frequently enough, in the sense of a descriptive mode, Stravinsky the adjective modifying such nouns as Gesualdo, Pergolesi, Tchaikovsky, Wolf, Bach. A study of 'Stravinskyan' would also have to include a differential comparative analysis with English and French of the processes of my Russian thought-language-which lacks the pluperfect lense. the definite article and the...

    • 1957-Agon
      (pp. 209-215)

      Agongoes a step further.

      Prior toAgon,Stravinsk)' wrote ballet music and music resembling ballet. What for the most part was missing from early Russian ballets became one of the most important subjects of 'neoclassical' ballets(Apollon musagète, feu de cartes)- rcferencesto classical music and, especially, references to the rhythmic conventions of classical ballet. Prancing, curtsies, gambolling, stepping in place, springs. or. morc properly: arabesques, battements, jetcs, assembles, pirouettes, and pliés. The violin is a particularly good means of playing melodies dressed in lutus, both in ballet and on the concert platform.

      Classical ballet (which should actually be...

    • The World, a Comedy
      (pp. 216-220)

      Since every work of art is a kind of feigning, there arc two types of artists: those who are aware of their feigning and those who are not (or who do not want to be). The first type of artist has a choice: he can, by a sleight of hand, conceal his feigning, or, he can make a subject out of it. The onc who makes a subject out of feigning is, in the most general sense of the word, an ironist; of course this does not stop him from being able to do anything he wants: sing praise to...

    • '… песню пою' ('_ _ I sing my song')
      (pp. 221-224)

      Making folk music into works of art was very fashionable in the second half of the nineteenth century. And not only in Russia, even though the example of the Mighty Handful (Borodin, Cui, Mussorgsky, Balakircv, Rimsky-Korsakov) is rather obvious. In Austria, even Mahler was moved by folk tunes. Hungary, Spain, Norway, almost every country had its composers who strove for a 'national' music in which simple melodies gave expression to the ideals of the unspoiled countryside, the stalwart farmer and his healthy way of life. At least, that is the only thing the twentieth-century town dweller still hears in the...

    • The Metamorphosis of Misha
      (pp. 225-227)

      1. Mighty bear. Dreaded companion to man in vast Russia. According to legend, himself once a man. But love and friendship were denied him; he turned his hack on man, put on a new, fcar-provoking face and returned to the protection of the forest.

      Mighty, and invincible. And so he is portrayed on the coats of arms of prominent Russian families. A symbol of strength, but also gentle and cuddly-the animal that loves honey.

      Sometimes he was captured and taken along by showmen and pcddlars. He became Misha-as this is the bear's proper nickname-and he danced to the music of the...

    • Octotony
      (pp. 228-235)

      Two, or at most three, musical examples might be adequate to characterize the worrying state of Dutch composition in the years just after the Second World War. And half an hour of leafing through an overwhelming amount of piano sonatinas and symphonicttas is enough to gel a good idea of the Dutch spirit after the war: national unity. progress, positive mentality. anli-communism, keeping up with the Joneses, in shon, recOnstruction. Optimistic rhythms applied to lively melodies with here and there a dissonance: what was once caneden voguenow called ‘cool’. There was a future.

      And the future was in...

    • The Firebird as Magpie
      (pp. 236-242)

      Ravel's music is easily admired. At the beginning of this century, theRapsodie espagno/eleft a deep impression, not only in Paris but in St Pctcrshurg as well. 'ThedernieT cri… incredible as this seems now' is what Stravinsky wrote in 1962. But 'now' was nearly half a century after he almost literally borrowed rhe ending of theRapsodie espagnolefor the last twenty bars of the 'Infernal Dance' inThe Firebird.

      That was not quoting, nor was it paraphrasing. nor commcntating nor parodying; it was imitating. Imitating is something Ihal young composers do. 11 is a legitimate way...

    • 1912-Le Roi des étoiles (Zvezdoliki)
      (pp. 243-247)

      There is no more dangerous a spirit than the Zeitgeist. The Zeitgeist is a lazy, conceited, disporting despot. He sees nothing, he explains nothing, he simply is. Hc has free power of attorney and slouches llzily on his tattered chaiselongue conducting a chorus of fools, from carly morning to latc at night. He robs the people of their voice, but is democratically elected. The Zeitgeist reduces fertile ideas into paralysing formulas: civil disobedience is reduced to 'the sixties', an energetic avant-garde withers into 'you know'. It is no coincidence that the Zeitgeist is often a pseudonym for decadence. Amateurs of...

    • The Tradition of the New
      (pp. 248-249)

      In the summers of 1880, 1881, and 1882, Debussy accompanied the widow Nadezhda Fila rclovna 'Ion Meek and hcr children on their (ravels Ihrough Russia and Europe. The still very young composer (wil ll ulIsuspcclcd irony called Petrushka, that is. Parsley, by the Mccks) was in charge of Iht' musical IUforship of the family. Litlle more can be said with certainty of the musical impressions Debussy brought back with him from Russia than"that Glinka and Tchaikovsky were part of thell1. Even though there arc no first-hand accounts that Debussy came in contacl with the music of the Mighty Handful in...

    • Spirit in the Bottle of Cologne
      (pp. 250-251)

      The little man stands in front of the mirror. An ordinary fellow, perhaps somewhat moody and with a look that the unwary observer will interpret either as boredom or self-consciousness. (Of course, the presence of the mirror may cause the more naïve observer to consider narcissism.)

      The little man changes his clothes: black slacks of stylish Italian cut, a crimson red jacket according to the latest Moscow fashion, a saffron-yellow vest from a St Petersburg tailor, a top hat imported from South Germany. This outfit is completed by a pair of patent-leather shoes, size 10. The little fellow cuts his...

    • A Photomontage
      (pp. 252-254)

      Every portrait can be replaced by another.

      But no portrait can replace who is being portrayed. And yet, every portrait is more honest than the person being portrayed, although less true.

      The question is: does the difference between one portrait and ten portraits (between tcn and an infinite amount of portraits) result in a difference in the identity of the person being portrayed.

      Not only is every portrait merely one of an infinite series of (possible) portraits, it also amounts to the total of them all. The particular portrait is preceded by this series of portraits, just like every word...

  11. V

    • 1951-The Rake's Progress
      (pp. 257-276)

      In 1764 Bcrnard Oortkrass, of Dutch birth, hell-founder by trade, died in St Pctersburg, broken-hearted and bankrupt. The Empress Elizabeth, daughter of Peter the Great, in 1756, by way of her ambassador in The Hague, had commissioned him to build a new carillan. The original carillan was destroyed when lightning struck the spire of the Cathedral of the Peter and Paul Fortress. In July 1760 Oortkrass had set sail for St Pctcrsburg, accompanied by five assistants and thirty-eight bells. At the new Russian capital only disappointment awaited the bell-founder: work had yet to begin on the new spire; lodgings had...

  12. List of Sources
    (pp. 277-286)
  13. Index
    (pp. 287-294)
  14. Back Matter
    (pp. 295-296)