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Poetics of Music in the Form of Six Lessons…

Poetics of Music in the Form of Six Lessons (1942)

by Igor Stravinsky

Series: Charles Eliot Norton Lectures (1939-1940)

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310159,333 (4.07)1
One of the greatest of contemporary composers has here set down in delightfully personal fashion his general ideas about music and some accounts of his own experience as a composer. Every concert-goer and lover of music will take keen pleasure in his notes about the essential features of music, the process of musical composition, inspiration, musical types, and musical execution. Throughout the volume are to he found trenchant comments on such subjects as Wagnerism, the operas of Verdi, musical taste, musical snobbery, the influence of political ideas on Russian music under the Soviets, musical improvisation as opposed to musical construction, the nature of melody, and the function of the critic of music. Musical people of every sort will welcome this first presentation in English of an unusually interesting book.… (more)



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In his preface to this collection of lectures Darius Milhaud says, "Poetics of music is like a searchlight turned by Stravinsky on his own work on one hand, and on music in general on the other." This comment provides an excellent introduction to this short book. Given as part of the Charles Eliot Norton lectures, these compact essays provide an insight into the mind of one of the greatest composers of the twentieth century.
Half the book is concerned with music in general,focusing on the phenomenon of music, its composition, the various types of music and aspects of musical style. His argument regarding critics who ignore his own music is interesting as he looks back at earlier composers like Bach and Beethoven who suffered from similar disregard before being crowned as great masters.
Further commentary includes a more specific look at Russian music in particular and a discussion of the interpretation of music. These lectures by a great Russian master whose own style evolved significantly over his lifetime make great reading for all who love music. ( )
  jwhenderson | Jul 14, 2014 |
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I consider it a great honor to occupy the Charles Eliot Norton chair of poetics today, and I take particular pleasure in thanking the Committee that has so kindly invited me to address the students of Harvard University.
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