“In the course of his long, and abundantly creative life, Igor Stravinsky produced a highly personal body of work, which seems paradoxically enough, to sum up and embrace all of music itself. From primitive folk art to highly sophisticated serialism, from rarefied church music to outspoken jazz. His textures go from the richest to the leanest. His spirit was both devout and irreverent. His music is, at once, tender and spiky, emotional but anti-romantic. It can be popular and esoteric, nationalistic or intercontinental. In this sense he was probably the most universal composer who ever lived.” Leonard Bernstein
In 1944 Stravinsky met 20-year old music student Robert Craft, forging a deep friendship and creative partnership that would prove to be decisive in determining the composer’s musical direction. With his career at an impasse, Craft encouraged Stravinsky to re- evaluate the possibilities of 12-tone writing; introducing him to works by Schoenberg and Webern and to a generation of young composers with which he was scarcely familiar.
Stravinsky warmed to this new language and wondered if it might be applied it to something of his own. His serial pieces are as Stravinskyan as ‘The Rite of Spring’ or ‘The Firebird’; the brilliant hallmark so admired by Frank Zappa, Ennio Morricone, Ornette Coleman, Miles Davis, Syd Barrett and The Pink Floyd. This edition focusses on the system to which, to a greater or lesser degree, Stravinsky would devote the rest of his life; from the enchanting ‘Septet’ to the last great ballet, ‘Agon’; compositions that both touch the heart and ravish the ear.