A feature by David H. Pickering
I met Stravinsky, I think it was, in the fall of 1915, which is to say just after the grape harvest had ended in the tiny hamlet of Treytorrens where I’d been living. Situated on the lake between Cully and Rivaz, Treytorrens consists of three or four grand white houses belonging to the landowners; while, just next door, there are three or four other colorless dwellings where the winemakers reside. I was in one of the landowners’ homes, the largest one and nearest to the water; it was here that Ansermet, then the conductor of the Kursaal Orchestra, escorted Stravinsky on a visit from Montreux. In the scarcely fifteen-kilometer ride from Montreux to Treytorrens, the train never once abandons the lakeshore, edging the water so closely in places that the tracks pass over a dyke in front of my house. The railroad is still there, but—I record this for the sake of the very young and to mark the passage of time—the locomotives still ran on steam back then. . .
A feature by Paul Grimstad
The interesting thing about a game is that it has rules, and in the game of music the stricter the rules, the freer the composer, no matter whether it is an ABABCBB song structure or the most diabolic contortions of serialism. This is, I take it, one way to understand what is meant by “Apollonian”: Apollo, god of rules, order, measure. Stravinsky, committed anti-Wagnerian, exacerbates a distinction made by that most famous (albeit belated) anti-Wagnerian, Nietzsche, who thought the great distinction of Greek theatre—tempering the truth of Dionysian chaos with just the right dose of Apollonian order—went south after Socrates arrived on the scene and replaced the mystique of tragedy with pedantic Q&A. Stravinsky’s rule-driven musical discoveries are importantly different from serialism, the latter of which takes Wagnerian chromaticism to extremes of tonal egalitarianism. Pandiatonicism is differently freeing: it levels the playing field so that any kind of chord can show up at any point, but it doesn’t liberate tonality so radically that the ear becomes unmoored. Stravinsky remained an instinctive composer, he never lost trust in his ear...