The effect of Stravinsky’s ballets on the role of the conductor

Baxter, Hannah (2014) The effect of Stravinsky’s ballets on the role of the conductor. Doctoral thesis (PhD), University of Sussex.

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This thesis explores Stravinsky's effect on the role of the conductor, employing a combination of score analysis, performance analysis, aesthetics and historicism. Stravinsky is widely regarded as one of the most influential composers of the Twentieth Century, and this now 'mythic' influence is perceived by many to have transformed the conductor's work. I investigate how true this assumption is, and whether The Rite of Spring in particular is responsible for any developments. The compound methodology allows for the study of rhythm, structure, harmony, instrumentation, hermeneutics and staging. My seven case studies (The Firebird, Petrushka, The Rite of Spring, Les Noces, Apollo, Stravinsky Violin Concerto, and Agon) are all ballets, which also places spotlight on a commonly neglected genre in music. This allows for the consideration of choreography - an additional influencing factor that is bypassed in most musicological and conducting literature. Moreover, the study of Stravinsky's ballets, as they span the composer's entire career, can serve as a useful lens through which to view the composer's repertoire as a whole. Therefore the findings of the thesis can be indicative of Stravinsky's broader influence on the conductor. The conclusions drawn were that although it is impossible to refute Stravinsky's overall impact on the conductor's work (particularly in relation to his comtemporaries), there are numerous overrated areas of impact. Furthermore, The Rite of Spring is not solely responsible for these changes. In fact, it overshadows the challenges present throughout Stravinsky's repertoire, which manifest themselves in the innovative choreography, instrumentation, rhythm and anti-interpretative devices.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Schools and Departments: School of Media, Arts and Humanities > Music
Subjects: M Music. Literature on music. Musical instruction and study > MT Musical instruction and study > MT0085 Conducting. Score reading and playing
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 27 Aug 2014 05:38
Last Modified: 16 Mar 2022 15:37

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