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Exploring Stravinsky’s Innovation and Experimentation in His Late Style Period

  Stravinsky is regarded as an important representative of modern music and one of the most influential composers of the 20th century. Stravinsky has always been committed to the music creation of ballets. His music style has undergone many changes, from the early nationalist style to the neoclassical style, and then to the twelve-tone sequence music style. The works show diversity and complexity, with a strong personal touch. In his long creative career, he never stuck to a specific artistic style. In his later period, he adopted different expression techniques from his early ones to create music, reflecting his unique musical style. This article aims to start from Stravinsky’s late experiences, aesthetic thoughts, characteristics of works, etc., combined with his late writings and musical works, to explore his late style and late ideological changes, as well as his influence on later music.
  1 The late period of Stravinsky
  Igor Feodorovich Stravinsky (1882-1971), a Russian-American musician. In the history of music, Stravinsky’s creation is generally divided into three periods: Russian period (1905-1920), neoclassical period (1920-1951), and serialism period (1951-1971) [1]. Stravinsky was born at the end of the 19th century when science and technology were developing rapidly. At that time, the international community was turbulent, and the Russian art world was also undergoing drastic changes. Stravinsky was born in such an era of rapid changes and spent his youth in Russia, during which he created representative dance drama music works such as “The Firebird”, “Petrushka” and “The Rite of Spring”. Since then, Stravinsky’s artistic concepts have been influenced by Western formal and artistic ideas, and he has created corresponding works. After going through historical changes such as World War I, the Russian October Revolution, and World War II, Stravinsky left Russia and came to the United States. Subsequently, his musical works turned to “serialism”, and there was an obvious Performance that echoes the times.
  The Serialist period is often regarded as Stravinsky’s last period of musical composition. After Stravinsky settled in the United States in 1939, he came into contact with the spirit of American culture and some new composition techniques. In the many years that followed, his creation did not directly transform into a specific musical style, but went through a longer period of evolution. Therefore, the “late period” in the “late style” mentioned in this article refers specifically to the period of serialism, that is, This is the period from 1951 to 1971.
  Theodor Adorno once offered insights into late style. He believed that an artist’s late style is different from the ripening of fruits. These works are usually imperfect and show more traces of history than growth. From this point of view, it is meaningful to study the form and content of the late style of musicians. No matter whether the style of the work is reaching perfection or declining, it is an artistic method in itself. Literary critic Edward W. Said believed that the artist’s true late style should have a discordant, restless tension, and most importantly, a deliberate, non-creative, oppositional nature. creativity[2]. Late style has different special meanings for each composer. Some composers’ late styles are rupture and decline, some are condensation and purification of past styles, and some are innovations and breakthroughs, just like Stella Vinski.
  Obviously, Stravinsky’s late style has unique stylistic connotations. In 1951, Stravinsky composed “The Prodigy of the Prodigal Son”, which is regarded as the pinnacle of neoclassical style, but Stravinsky soon turned to serialist music. A year later, the appearance of the Cantata and the Septet marked the beginning of Stravinsky’s serialist period. Since then, Stravinsky’s artistic path has gone through a 20-year transformation to serialism, and gradually established his late sequence music style. Although in terms of the composer’s life, the idea of ​​a so-called “late style” derived from summarizing his works in his later years may not be accurate enough, but there are a lot of logics that can be used for reference in the work of some scholars, including Said. In the face of rigorous argumentation, we have to admit that “late style” exists. “Late style” provides people with a broader path to penetrate literary and artistic works and face the musicians themselves.
  2 Stravinsky’s late style
  Stravinsky himself once said: “It is completely wrong and absurd to regard me as the apostle of future music, because I live neither in the past nor the future, but in the present.” Contemporaries Other musicians’ music creations moved towards the “twelve-tone sequence”, and Stravinsky was also making related attempts and explorations, and his attempts were increasingly and more skillfully reflected in his later works. Said believes that “late style” has a very complex, changeable and slightly ambiguous concept. The changes and origins of Stravinsky’s late style are also very complicated to trace, and there were some pauses or interruptions in his creation. But even in the period when the twelve-tone technique was not fully formed, Stravinsky Ji’s late attempts at new creative techniques were still active and pioneering.
  The establishment of Stravinsky’s late serialist musical style went through a long process. The initial work only contained some fragments of sequence music, and then in the work “In Memory of Dylan Thomas”, the sequence was fully used for the first time. However, the creation still followed the personal style and did not fully follow the twelve-tone composition rules. Therefore, the work has a strong personal color, which is obviously different from Schoenberg and others of the same period. It was in 1958 that Stravinsky completely adopted the twelve-tone technique for composition. This work showed certain tonal factors in the composition technique, but it was still different from Schoenberg. In the creation, Stravinsky did not abandon his personal characteristics. Like the previous “The Rite of Spring”, he still retained the melody of folk songs as a display of his personal style. As Stravinsky himself said: “A person has only one place of birth, one country and one nationality – he can only have one nationality – the place of birth is the most important factor in his life.” In Stravinsky After Lavinsky became famous, Russia’s position in his heart became increasingly clear, and Russian national culture occupied an important position in his music creation. After a long period of exploration, Stravinsky’s creative techniques gradually found a new personal experimental path. His subsequent works “Movement” and “Abraham and Isaac” used a large number of “rotation” techniques and were praised It is regarded as Stravinsky’s unique creative technique during this period[3].
  The “rotation” technique had already been explored in the work “Agon” before it was actually fully used. “Argonne” is Stravinsky’s last ballet music. As an important late work, it is an important representative work of Stravinsky’s sequence music period. The original word “Agon” is Agon, which means “athletic” in Greek. “Agon” is a ballet music work about a dance competition that he was invited to create[4]. Although the “New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians” labels the work “Argonne” as a work transitioning from Stravinsky’s neoclassical period to the serialist period, it indicates that the work embodies the characteristics of the two periods. However, this article will still classify it as a representative work of the sequence music period based on its creative techniques and some common views in the music industry. The work began in December 1953 and was finally completed in 1957. The four-year creative period shows Stravinsky’s level of care for this work, which is enough to be discussed as a representative work of Stravinsky’s late style. As the “Cambridge Guide to Stravinsky” says, the superb compositional techniques in “Argon” mean that Stravinsky has found a new musical direction. This new direction is both A deepening of neoclassicism and a refinement of tradition.

  The first time a complete twelve-tone sequence appears in “Agon” is at the end of “Dance Galliard”. Looking at the overall structure of “Agon”, there are not many twelve-tone sequences in the first half. And many of the fragments are less than twelve tones, but the twelve-tone material in the second half takes up a lot of space. It can be seen that this is an exploration of sequence techniques, which combines the musical characteristics of the neoclassical and serialist periods. . Judging from the social and literary development trends at that time, Stravinsky’s musical works during that period were to a certain extent an innovation of Schoenberg’s techniques, based on his exposure to and application of twelve-tone creation techniques. Stravinsky did not blindly imitate and follow, but instead tried his best to explore new composition techniques and find new composition styles based on his own personal characteristics. Although Stravinsky’s late works are not as influential and disseminated as his earlier works such as “The Firebird” and “The Rite of Spring”, he has always been actively exploring and conveying his profound musical thoughts.
  3. The value and inspiration of Stravinsky
  ’s late style. Stravinsky spent most of his later years in the United States. The formation and transformation of his late style and artistic concepts are obviously closely related to the Western literary and artistic trends and artistic development in the mid-to-late 20th century. Relatedly, his works and artistic practice show his integration into the artistic concepts of the times and reform and innovation. Stravinsky is one of the most discussed musicians of the 20th century, and his influence is unquestionable. Among the numerous studies on Stravinsky, there is a common view that Stravinsky’s music is a classical art that is not concerned with the conscious expression of emotion but with the order of musical sounds [ 5].
  ”Six Lectures on the Poetics of Music” written by Stravinsky when he was invited to give lectures at Harvard University in the United States, covered a wide range of music topics at that time, and is an important source of ideas for this article’s discussion of the “late period”. Stravinsky was invited to Harvard University to give six lectures on the theme of “Musical Poetics”. “Six Lectures on Musical Poetics” is compiled from the manuscripts of the six lectures, including “Introduction” and ” “Music Phenomenon”, “Music Creation”, “Music Typology”, “Russian Music that Has Stepped Down from the Altar”, “Music Performance and New Music Communication Forms”, elaborated on Stravinsky, a collective, from the perspective of the composer himself. Artists with multiple identities such as composers, educators, and educational theorists were exploring ideas and paths for new music at that time. In the “Music Creation” lecture of “Six Lectures on the Poetics of Music”, when Stravinsky talked about the purpose of creation, he showed a preference for simple composition principles in music creation. Stravinsky’s attitude toward composition and composers was not one of catering. He incorporated his own understanding and thoughts from the beginning of his creative consciousness until the completion of his work. For example, “Agon”, as a representative work of its serialism period, uses new composition techniques and musical language to express music, but it does not show very obvious artistic characteristics of serialism, but instead reflects the musical and artistic characteristics of the Russian period. This relatively “calm” state of mind allows his works to still reflect Stravinsky’s consistent pursuit of art, no matter what techniques and materials are used.
  Although Stravinsky’s last creation was completed in the United States, and he had changed his citizenship to an American and integrated into the circle of American composers, his original musical characteristics and creative principles were still retained in his late works. In 1962, Stravinsky returned to Russia with feelings for his hometown. Although he has experienced a long American period, his creations can still be understood and loved by Russians. The Slavic characteristics of the music prove that he is still Russian at heart.
  4 Conclusion
  The study of Stravinsky’s late style is different from the large number of studies on the traditional artistic style of the neoclassical period. It is a complex grasp of the style, aesthetics and philosophical implications of Stravinsky and his late works. An in-depth exploration of the continuation, change, rebellion and other behaviors contained in his late works and musical practice will reveal that Stravinsky had discussions beyond past aesthetics in his late period. Stravinsky’s attitude towards tradition is not only reflected in reference and transformation, but also breakthrough and innovation. The artistic form characteristics of his musical works are often reflected in his breakthroughs in artistic traditions. For example, he will personalize new creative techniques, not only making breakthroughs in musical structure, but also innovating traditional creative techniques. These bold creations were used more and more freely in his later works, eventually achieving balance and unity. To a certain extent, Stravinsky’s artistic thoughts have cultural symbolic significance that profoundly reflects the basic trend of Western social and cultural trends in the 20th century.
  Stravinsky created many different forms of musical works throughout his life. Although his later musical works had obvious changes in technique, his musical concepts and aesthetic views always maintained a rational order. Stravinsky is often considered to favor form over content, but as a wandering musician, his relentless pursuit of form is itself a persistent emotion. Although he has passed away for half a century, his artistic thoughts still have reference value for the development of contemporary literature and art. Stravinsky’s absorption and breakthrough of traditional art forms, his emphasis on artistic aesthetics and artistic innovation, as well as his profound thinking and powerful exploration of art, contain profound enlightenment significance for the world and can provide a valuable contribution to contemporary art. It provides certain reference and reference for its development.

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