One of the best composers ever. Firebird is an all-time favorite.
Obit of the Day (Historical): Igor Stravinsky (1972)
There is far too much info about Stravinsky to include it in this post so we’ll give some highlights and interesting facts about the Russian composer, who many consider the father of modern classical music.
• Born in 1882 in St. Petersburg, Russia on St. Igor’s Day (June 17). His childhood was not pleasant and he referred to it as “a period waiting for the moment when I could send everyone and everything connected with it to hell.”
• He lived in Russia until 1914 and then moved every few years. His countries of residence include Switzerland, France, and the U.S. He lived in America from 1939 until his death.
• His first major it was the music for the ballet Firebird, followed by Petrushka. Both works were commissioned by famed Russian ballet owner, Serge Diaghliev. The latter ballet had two significant moments: 1) It featured legendary dancer Vaslav Nijinsky and 2) was the first major use of bitonal music.
• The first performance of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring in May 1913 caused the Paris audience to boo and angrily yell at the performers. It was performed again a year later and he received a standing ovation.
• Stravinsky was also quite the capitalist. He often sold his own memorabilia, including offering all documentation for Rite of Spring including notes and sheet music for $3.5 million. At the time of his death he had not sold it.
• He composed the “Circus Polka for a Young Elephant” for Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.
• He was once voted, in 1965, the composer born after 1870 to most likely be honored in the future by the American Musicological Society. (You read that right.)
• His last words were reported to be, “How lovely. This belongs to me, it is my home.” He is buried in Venice, Italy.
Note: OOTD could not fit he entire Rite in the post, so it’s the part that will remind you of Jaws.