Stravinsky: Oedipus Rex (Cambridge Music Handbooks) by Stephen Walsh

By Stephen Walsh

Stravinsky's Oedipus Rex is greatly said as some of the most unique musical theater works of the 20th century. This transparent and concise advisor, the 1st ever written at the paintings, describes the plot, the tune and the staging in shut element and gives a completely documented dialogue of the origins of Oedipus Rex in Stravinsky's personal paintings and pondering. through putting the paintings in its social context, the writer paints a brilliant photo of Parisian inventive politics within the twenties, from which emerged one of many richest and such a lot suggestive works of contemporary instances. the complete libretto is supplied, with a parallel translation.

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Extra info for Stravinsky: Oedipus Rex (Cambridge Music Handbooks)

Sample text

19 One wonders how much later. In Orphee Eurydice's disappearance, when Orpheus looks back at her, is achieved slowly through an elaborate trick of lighting, which Cocteau insists on even in theatres with trapdoors. But in Cocteau's notes of March 1926 for Oedipus the only comparable use of lighting accompanies the appearance of Tiresias, at which the stage lights dim and the seer is picked out by a spotlight, exactly like the head of Orpheus when it is thrown on to the stage in the play. But even the preface in the score adds nothing more on lighting.

But we do not, in actual fact, know exactly how it arose. 16 One senses in all this a certain tension between the different sources of Stravinsky's inspiration. Meyerhold's idea of a statuesque, tableau-style treatment of Sophocles certainly would not have precluded stylistic collisions of the Cocteau type. But nor does it instantly suggest the modish boulevardier quips by which the author of Orphee may well have felt tempted. A chorus without a face Except possibly in The Soldier's Tale, with its intrusion of telephones and stock market reports into the fairytale world of Afanassiev, Stravinsky had always avoided anachronism within the frame of his stage works.

The text itself is based on Pushkin, and the music is self-consciously modelled on Glinka and Tchaikovsky. Mavra may not be one of Stravinsky's best works, but it is one of his most self-revealing. It suggests that in 1921 he was thinking hard about what it meant to be a Russian exile in western Europe. 5 Above all, it shows an already well-developed tendency to treat such models as a source not just of inspiration but of actual musical material. Strictly speaking, Stravinsky had been 'borrowing' material in this way for more than a decade.

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