News - Stravinsky

Starting on Saturday 3rd April, BBC Radio 3 presents Stravinsky 50, a week-long celebration of the Russian composer across the station’s schedules...

Press Release

Marking fifty years since Stravinsky’s death on 6 April in 1971, BBC Radio 3 presents Stravinsky 50, a week of programmes celebrating the composer’s life, music, and influence in the classical repertoire and beyond. A true 20th century icon, Stravinsky continues to loom large in the music of today and this week of programmes explores his enduring legacy.

Starting on Saturday 3rd April with a special episode of J to Z where pianist Julian Joseph explores the relationship between Stravinsky and Jazz, the BBC Radio 3 celebration continues during the week, from Monday 5th to Friday 9th April, in Composer of the Week, where presenter Donald MacLeod focuses on the life, works, and influences of this 20th century musical trailblazer.

BBC Radio 3’s Stravinsky 50 culminates on Saturday 10th April with a Stravinsky Day entirely dedicated to the composer. 

At the heart of its schedule is River of Music, a five-and-half-hour carefully curated flow of fifty pieces showcasing Stravinsky’s musical genius in celebrated as well as lesser-known works, written between 1904 and 1965. The river takes a non-chronological course, its sweep carrying listeners on a journey through every scene of a game-changing composing life, and creating juxtapositions and transitions as it moves forwards.

Introduced by Sarah Walker, the mix features performances by Stravinsky himself and by leading musicians, from his contemporaries to our present day. The River of Music is interspersed by contributions from conductors Sakari Oramo, Vasily Petrenko, Simon Halsey and Ben Gernon, singer Claire Booth, pianist Beatrice Rana, violinist Carolin Widmann and composer Freya Waley-Cohen - all discussing their approach to performing Stravinsky’s works, and presenting a special musical choice in tribute to him. The man himself also features with a spoken intervention.

Other highlights of the Stravinsky Day include: Record Review with musicologist and conductor Nigel Simeone joining presenter Andrew McGregor in a survey of recordings of Stravinsky’s Violin Concerto, together with other releases and reissues for the anniversary; Music Matters with Tom Service exploring the continued relevance of Stravinsky for today’s artists; and the celebrations conclude with Opera on 3, introduced by Kate Molleson with musicologist Jonathan Cross, presenting The Rake’s Progress as recorded in 1997 in a semi-staged performance at London’s Royal Festival Hall, where Sir Andrew Davis conducted the BBC Symphony Orchestra and a star-studded cast: Joan Rodgers as Anne Trulove; Barry Banks as Tom Rakewell; Susan Bickley as Mother Goose, and Philip Ens as Father Trulove, among others.

BBC Radio 3 Controller, Alan Davey, says: “Stravinsky is one of the most influential figures of twentieth century cultural and musical life: from his ground-breaking creativity and early riot-provoking pieces to the wide-ranging influences which changed him throughout his life. His work is also characterised by collaborations with other art forms - these, coupled with the often complex circumstances of his life, mean there is so much to explore in the life and work of this artist. In our week of special programming we do just that, showcasing the full range of his music and taking the opportunity, 50 years on, to consider his far-reaching legacy.”

All programmes included in Stravinsky 50 will be available on BBC Sounds for 30 days after initial broadcast.

Editor's Note - No, the video below isn't the BBC Radio 3 trailer, it's the full 35 minute version of Stravinsky's Rite of Spring performed by the LSO and conducted by Simon Rattle. Grab a pew, settle in and.... just enjoy. It's glorious.

Image & info - BBC
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