The Musical Origins of Igor Stravinsky’s “Apollo”

in Experiment
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Abstract

Insights into the musical origins of Stravinsky’s Apollo are discerned in part by applying he principles of versification to phrase structure throughout the work, but most especially in the music that accompanies the “birth of Apollo” and the “Pas de deux” as danced by Apollo and Terpsichore. In keeping with his understanding of classical ballet, Stravinsky endeavored to create a diatonic framework at the surface level. Nevertheless, vestiges of his Russian past are evident at deeper levels of his compositional process. It is as though Stravinsky was using the Greek masks of Greek antiquity to serve as filters for his Russian thumbprint that we associate with his earlier works.

The Musical Origins of Igor Stravinsky’s “Apollo”

in Experiment

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References

3)

Igor Stravinsky and Robert CraftDialogues (Berkeley: University of California Press1982) p. 34.

4)

Ibid. p. 33.

6)

Stravinsky and CraftDialogues p. 26. As part of his discussion of Oedipus Rex Stravinsky writes: “Although I have been concerned with questions of musical manners all my life I am unable to say precisely what these manners are. That I think is because they are not precompositional but of the essence of the musical act: the manner of saying and the thing said are for me the same.”

9)

Arthur Lourié“Stravinsky’s ‘Apollo,’ ” The Dominant I no. 10 (Aug.-Sept. 1928): 21.

14)

See Reba Ann Adler“Apollo,” International Dictionary of Balleted. Martha Bremson I:96. See also Marie-Françoise Christout and Margaret M. McGowan “Ballet de Cour” International Encyclopedia of Dance (e-reference edition).

15)

Stravinsky and CraftDialogues p. 34.

24)

StravinskyAn Autobiography p. 134.

Figures

  • View in gallery
    A small sketch that likely predates the Stravinsky sketchbook for Apollo (reprinted with permission of the Stravinsky Collection, Paul Sacher Stiftung).
  • View in gallery
    The larger of two sketches likely to predate the Stravinsky’s sketchbook for Apollo (reprinted with permission of the Stravinsky Collection, Paul Sacher Stiftung).
  • View in gallery
    Opening measures from the piano score, p. 1 of Stravinsky’s Apollo (Reprinted with permission of Boosey & Hawkes, Inc.).
  • View in gallery
    Naissance d’Apollon. Alexandrine: trimètre, opening measures.
  • View in gallery
    Apollo (Peter Martins) gives Calliope (Maria Caligari) a tablet. Apollo, 4 October 1982. “Stravinsky and Balanchine: Genius Has a Birthday.” WNET-TV New York broadcast of New York City Ballet performance.
  • View in gallery
    Apollo (Peter Martins) gives Polymnie (Kyra Nichols) a mask Apollo, 4 October 1982. “Stravinsky and Balanchine: Genius Has a Birthday.” WNET-TV New York broadcast of New York City Ballet performance.
  • View in gallery
    Apollo (Peter Martins) gives Terpsichore (Susan Farrell) a lyre. Apollo, 4 October 1982. “Stravinsky and Balanchine: Genius Has a Birthday.” WNET-TV New York broadcast of New York City Ballet performance.
  • View in gallery
    Variation de Calliope. Alexandrine: tetrameter (iamb and anapest).
  • View in gallery View in gallery
    “Variation de Calliope,” R. 39-44, pp. 13-14 from the piano score of Stravinsky’s Apollo.
  • View in gallery
    Rhythmic reduction of excerpts from the Variation de Polymnie21))
  • View in gallery
    Apollon Musagète. 20 February 2008. Teatro dell’Opera di Roma. The Pas de deux with Igor Yebra as Apollo and Oksana Kucheruk as Terpsichore. Scenery by Giorgio de Chirico.

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