Stravinsky Compare And Contrast Essay

Words: 1580
Pages: 7

In as many ways as Igor Stravinsky and Sergei Rachmaninoff are distinct, they are similar. As giants of Russian music and contemporaries, these men forged new paths in the world of composition and blended musical ideas of the Romantic period with fresh paradigms of the 20th century. Both were distinguished composers, conductors, and pianists in their own right. Both strived to perfect a certain aesthetic ideal and capture a sense of the human experience in their music. However, there is a stark contrast drawn between the philosophies that guided these composers’ work. Stravinsky’s body of work evinces a continuous effort toward the absolute perfection of his craft, toward some higher spiritual concept of musical expression. It is daring and complex in a way that the world of music had never before seen. Stravinsky possessed an innate compulsion that drove him to compose. Rachmaninoff, on the other hand, did not have the same sense of artistic urgency. He held more tightly to the musical traditions of the Romantic period than did Stravinsky, and he aimed to impact the emotions of his listeners through these more customary means. The music of Rachmaninoff and Stravinsky represents a tug-of-war between the primacy of old and new ideas that has been waged for centuries. Through a comparison of the …show more content…
The composer often incorporated polytonality (the use of several overlapping and simultaneous tonal centers) into his work. This can be seen in the opening of his early ballet Petrushka (Figure 3). The first clarinet presents a melodic figure in C major, while the second clarinet plays an opposing melody in the distant key of F-sharp major. This superimposition of multiple tonal centers created a sound that was grating and unexpected to the audiences of Stravinsky’s day (Levitz 114). Figure 3: Bitonality in Stravinsky’s