When the ballet Pulcinella premiered at the Palais Garnier in Paris in 1920, reviewers registered surprise at its conventional musical style. After the 1913 riots at the audacious Rite of Spring, Igor Stravinsky’s move toward writing music that mimicked eighteenth-century styles in the 1920s felt retrogressive and reactionary. One intrepid reviewer described the new ballet as “Pergolesi’s music, flavored by Stravinsky’s tartar sauce.” This description, while not entirely unfamiliar to current listeners, suggests that there is something to be recovered, an essence of “what it was like” to experience Stravinsky’s neoclassical music in its historical milieu. In this talk by Sarah Iker, an adjunct assistant professor of music history and theory at University of Notre Dame, and a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Chicago, we will explore some ways of recovering these historical experiences and discuss how these experiences in turn suggest new ways to analyze Stravinsky’s neoclassical music that remain sensitive to the musical ideas and issues that historical listeners found to be important.
All are welcome.
Originally published at music.nd.edu.