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Rod Franks

The son of a distinguished Russian singer, Stravinsky spent his earlier years in Russia, either in St. Petersburg or, in the summer, at the country estates of his relatives. He studied music briefly with Rimsky-Korsakov but made a name for himself first in Paris with commissions from the impresario Dyagilev, for whom he wrote a series of ballet scores. He spent the years after the Russian Revolution of 1917 in Western Europe and in 1939 moved to the United States of America. There in the post- war years he turned from a style of eclectic neo-classicism to composing in the twelve-note technique propounded by Schoenberg. A versatile composer, inventive in changing styles, he may be seen as the musical counterpart of the painter Picasso.

Stage Works

Stravinsky made an immediate impression in Paris with his score for L'oiseau de feu (The Firebird), for the Ballets Russes of Dyagilev. There followed the very Russian Petrushka, set in a Russian fair-ground, and the succès de scandale of Le sacre du printemps (The Rite of Spring). After works on a smaller scale in war-time, Stravinsky turned again to ballet for Dyagilev in Pulcinella, based on music wrongly attributed to Pergolesi. Later ballets include Apollon musagète, Le Baiser de la fée, Jeu de cartes and Agon. The Latin opera-oratorio, with a text translated from Cocteau, Oedipus Rex was first staged in 1928, while the opera The Rake's Progress, neo-classical in form and based on the engravings of Hogarth, with a libretto by W.H. Auden and Chester Kallman, was staged in Venice in




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