Igor Stravinsky

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Igor Stravinsky (June 17, 1882, Oranienbaum, Russia - April 6, 1971, New York, NY) was a Russian composer, who is regarded as an important and influential composer of the 20th century. Stravinsky is famous for his ballets, The Firebird (1910), Petrushka (1911) and The Rite Of Spring (1913). The works were noted for their innovative rhythms, composition techniques and brutal and noisy deconstruction of traditional Western harmony. "The Rite Of Spring" made Stravinsky world famous and notorious because the audience started to riot during the premiere of the piece. (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/cultureshock/flashpoints/music/riteofspring_at.html)

Throughout his career Stravinsky proved to be an original and versatile composer, reinventing traditional classical music in his neo-classicism works and also later as a composer of serialism.

Zappa and Stravinsky

Together with Edgard Varèse Stravinsky was a major influence on Zappa's music. He is included in the list of names on the cover of "Freak Out!". He is also mentioned in "The Real Frank Zappa Book" (1989).

Stravinsky quotes in Zappa's music

  • Amnesia Vivace musically quotes "The Rite Of Spring" and "The Firebird".
  • Zappa said in an interview that his decision to parody 1950s doo-wop and rock 'n roll on Cruising With Ruben & The Jets was inspired by Stravinsky's neoclassicistic works which parodied 17th and 18th century classical music: "It wasn't really a parody. If you are familiar with the development of the music of Igor Stravinsky; at one point he started writing a whole series of compositions that were in a style grossly unpopular at the time.He styled his own ideas in the old-style classicism; the rigid and certain type of harmony and certain type of scale structure. Basically that was what was happening with Ruben and the Jets. It was a neo-classic album. It uses all the structural elements of those type of songs. And it adhered to that form, except it was a modern-day thing, a modern day production." (FZ in Mother In Lore)
  • Titties 'n Beer tells how a Devil tries to make a deal with a biker. In Stravinsky's "L' Histoire Du Soldat" the Devil tries to make a deal with a soldier. At one point the Devil in "Titties & Beer" namedrops Stravinsky when Zappa makes him guess what his two main interests are.

Zappa about Stravinsky

  • Zappa played Stravinsky's "Greeting Prelude" as a guest on Dr. Demento.
  • Stravinsky is mentioned in "My Favorite Records", a FZ penned article in Hit Parader (1967): "Also, buy everything that you can by Igor Stravinsky and dance to it - especially "L'Histoire Du Soldat", which means "Soldier's Tale", and the "Agon" ballet, which is a beautiful thing."

See Also