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The Essential Igor Stravinsky by Igor Stravinsky

Stravinsky? Wasn’t he a.... classical-type guy? Well, yes, but like Scott Joplin, Ellington, Gershwin and Parker - not coincidentally his contemporaries - he was (to borrow The Duke’s phrase) "beyond category," a composer whose influence went well beyond genre and style. Artists as disparate as Phish, Woody Herman, Frank Zappa, Phillip Glass and Ornette Coleman (don’t think so? listen to Ornette’s tremendous orchestral composition/album Skies of America) were/are fans and/or have been influenced/inspired by ol’ Igor. This very night, I played some of the new Kali Z. Fasteau disc Oneness and followed it with Disc One, Track One of this collection, "Fireworks" - and damned if it didn’t at first sound like a continuation of Ms. Kali’s disc. Like the aforementioned American icons (Stravinsky was Russian-born but spent a good chunk of his life in the USA), Stravinsky’s music is melodic, fractured, subtle, jagged, powerfully rhythmic, mysterious, demonstrative, pretty, ribaldly in-your-face, jazz-influenced and went on to influence jazz (Igor S. wrote "Ebony Concerto" for Woody Herman's Herd, here played by Benny Goodman) and rock (re: many of Zappa’s instrumental and orchestra pieces). I.S. was one of the Original 20th Century Moderns. This 2-CD package presents an enthralling cross-section of the man’s music, from 1908-1966 (drawn from the Columbia vaults, nicely remastered) - true, there are many (short) excerpts from longer works (to go along with the shorter ones - like all great Artists, Stravinsky could be concise), but hey, with a catalog Igor’s size, many will need (and deserve) a fine overview, which is what the good folk at Legacy have made available. Holy hyperbole, Batman! Anyone with any sort of serious interest in this big, lumbering, evolving thing known as Modern Music that doesn’t have any Stravinsky in his/her collection ought to pick this up. Period.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Igor Stravinsky
  • CD Title: The Essential Igor Stravinsky
  • Genre: Other
  • Year Released: 2003
  • Record Label: Sony Classical / Legacy
  • Musicians: Igor Stravinsky, Robert Craft, Michael Tilson Thomas: conductors; Benny Goodman: clarinet; Cathy Berberian: vocals; various ensembles and orchestras.
  • Rating: Five Stars
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