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Thread: What is Igor Stravinsky - Les Noces about?

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    Senior Member regenmusic's Avatar
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    Default What is Igor Stravinsky - Les Noces about?

    What is Igor Stravinsky - Les Noces about?

    This website has really nothing about what the lyrical content is about nor much on what the choreography is like:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Les_noces

    What are your thoughts?

    Last edited by regenmusic; Jul-13-2018 at 05:03.

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    Member les24preludes's Avatar
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    It's about a Russian folk wedding. If you want the most Russian and folk-authentic version you should listen to the Pokrovsy Ensemble who specialise in Russian folk music. They have a version with the usual Stravinsky score, but the best version is a re-arrangement. You'll love it or hate it. I absolutely love it. It's different and takes it back to Stravinsky's roots. Both Rachmaninov and Stravinsky remained Russian in their hearts to the end. Avoid Bernstein in this.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0bzq...&frags=pl%2Cwn
    Last edited by les24preludes; Jul-13-2018 at 05:22.

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    Conversely, if you want a version that doesn't strip this work of its strangeness and modernity, then Bernstein is excellent. Pokrovsky's recording is great if you want to get a better sense of the Russian source material before it got distorted by Stravinsky's "crooked mirror" (to quote Khrennikov). But for the percussive and angular modernist masterwork, Bernstein on DG is superb (I don't even mind that the singers sing Russian phonetically, and I'm Russian).

    Lyrically it's not so much "about" a folk wedding as it is a transcription of the chants and incantations that were sung before and during folk rituals. The language is very archaic and hard to follow for modern day Russians.

    Rachmaninov and Stravinsky... should not be named in conjunction with one another.

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    The two families to be joined argue and generally get excited - fairly typical of weddings in many parts of the world - wonderful. I think there are a quite a few good recordings. I agree to avoid Bernstein - he just didn't get post-Rite/Petrushka Stravinsky.

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    Member les24preludes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BiscuityBoyle View Post
    Conversely, if you want a version that doesn't strip this work of its strangeness and modernity, then Bernstein is excellent. Pokrovsky's recording is great if you want to get a better sense of the Russian source material before it got distorted by Stravinsky's "crooked mirror" (to quote Khrennikov). But for the percussive and angular modernist masterwork, Bernstein on DG is superb (I don't even mind that the singers sing Russian phonetically, and I'm Russian).

    Lyrically it's not so much "about" a folk wedding as it is a transcription of the chants and incantations that were sung before and during folk rituals. The language is very archaic and hard to follow for modern day Russians.

    Rachmaninov and Stravinsky... should not be named in conjunction with one another.
    Ah - I didn't know you were Russian. I studied Russian and French at university and spent 3 weeks in Soviet Russia where I got to know some painters and musicians and sat in with the jazz band at Cafe Molodyozhnaya, Ulitsa Gorkovo. The only point I was making about Stravinsky and Rachmaninov was that they were both emigres with deep Russian roots. We could go into a further conversation of how they did and didn't integrate into the world outside Russia and what they felt in their hearts, from which their music came. I'm sure you could contribute a lot there. Khrennikov is another story, as you know. Thanks for your post.

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    One recording that I like - and the I am most likely to listen to at the moment - is that by Teodor Currentzis. It is coupled with (yet another) Tchaik Violin Concerto ... but at least this one has the considerable benefit of Patricia Kopatchinskaja, a violinist who is always worth hearing even when the work is an over-familiar warhorse (in the same way, I think, that Currentzis is a conductor who if always worth hearing even in music that is very familiar).

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    Senior Member Robert Pickett's Avatar
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    Try and SEE Les Noces!!

    It's as much about ritual (Rite of Spring in pretty costume?) as about tradition. It's about as Echt-Russian as any piece he composed.

    There's a Mariinsky production on YouTube in two parts, under Gergiev:

    https://youtu.be/RDGl6bcVqSM

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    Member les24preludes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Pickett View Post
    Try and SEE Les Noces!!

    It's as much about ritual (Rite of Spring in pretty costume?) as about tradition. It's about as Echt-Russian as any piece he composed.

    There's a Mariinsky production on YouTube in two parts, under Gergiev:

    https://youtu.be/RDGl6bcVqSM
    There's a wonderful choreography+costumes by Bronislava Nijinska (sister of Nijinsky) which is sometimes revived, and I think this is the one you are referring to. Really worth seeing, like you say. She choreographed an incredible Firebird, which I don't see on the Net. This was also revived, though I forget the details except it was very red!

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    Senior Member Robert Pickett's Avatar
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    Lyrics for Les Noces are in this pdf (after Oedipus, and after the potted biography of Edward Fox!)


    https://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&so...-8XIm_BEOT0rEf

    I suspect that the Gergiev on YouTube is the same choreography, but the one I remember from documentaries etc was much more automaton-like. This one (almost!) involves human beings! Me, I love it, the contrast between the flurry and fuss of the music and the detached ballet, wonderful!
    Last edited by Robert Pickett; Jul-13-2018 at 10:14.

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    When stravinsky conversated with someone he told about russian traits in his music 'remained horns and legs'. And someone answer. But it is very beautiful horn and legs.

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    But if we told more seriously we would say stravisky started the thread of antheil. I able to prove it

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