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3. Stravinsky: Symphony In C

[…] I switch on the radio 
get Stravinsky 
note the dirt under my fingernails 
he’s the best.

Excerpt from Screams From The Balcony by Charles Bukowski 

Strikingly high on the list, compared to the usual shortlists of popular symphonies. But for all the right reasons. Bukowski mentions Stravinsky in no less than five poems. The general point he’s trying to get across is that he seriously likes the guy.

Stravinsky was born to be awesome, not perfect. I mean, look at the guy!

The 1913 premiere of his orchestral suite Rite Of Spring still is one of the best scandals in classical music history. The Parisienne audience hated its revolutionary sound so much, they turned into a full on lynch mob before the beginning of the 2nd movement. Stravinsky climbed the stage madder than a midget with a yo-yo, shaking his fist and telling the crowd to go to hell. At the same time, conductor Pierre Monteux abandoned ship and fucked off through a small window in the men’s room. The riot police had to increase the peace between these enraged elitists. A year after they invented tear gas, but I’m sure that’s just a coincidence.

While Stravinsky was abroad, Russia closed its borders. With the subsequent Russian Revolution well on it’s way Stravinsky decided to stay out. He started writing this symphony in 1938 in France, shortly after he was diagnosed with tuberculosis. During the process he would lose his daughter, wife and mother to diseases and his homeland to the Germans. He completed it in 1940 in the United States where he remained awesome until his death in 1971.

Recommended recording:
Sir Georg Solti & Chicago Symphony Orchestra

Solti is a well-respected Wagnerian who was born to bring the thunder. And that is exactly what makes his recording stand out.




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