Classical from the Beethovenfest - Stravinsky: Pulcinella | BTHVN2020 | DW | 27.09.2012
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Classical from the Beethovenfest - Stravinsky: Pulcinella

Deja-vu? Russian composer Igor Stravinsky needed to revisit the past before further developing his style. The impetus was his music for the ballet "Pulcinella" and it's one that will get the audience dancing too.

American Songs 2

Igor Stravinsky:
Suite from the ballet "Pulcinella" for chamber orchestra
Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin (DSO)
Conductor: Tugan Sokhiev

MP3 recorded by Deutsche Welle (DW) in the Beethoven Hall in Bonn on September 10, 2012

After shocking the world with "The Rite of Spring" in 1913, Stravinsky took a light and charming step back in time with "Pulcinella" in 1920. This more delicately orchestrated work is based on music by the 18th-century Neapolitan composer Pergolesi. The idea for the composition came from Sergei Diaghilev, the great Russian impresario with whom Stravinsky had collaborated on various projects.

The ballet music to "Pulcinella" marks a turning point for Stravinsky and the beginning of his interest in neoclassicism. He retained the baselines from the 18th-century scores Diaghilev gave him and gave the harmonies a modern, personal touch.

Portraying a bumbling protagonist in the Italian "commedia dell'arte" tradition of improvised theater, the ballet was successfully premiered in Paris by Diaghilev's Ballet Russes with stage scenery by Pablo Picasso.

Two years later, Stravinsky pared down the ballet score to create a suite for chamber orchestra, replacing the singing roles with instrumental passages - presented in this recording by concert master Wei Lu with a warm, voice-like touch.

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