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Name of Work

Stravinsky, Igor (1882-1971)
Octet for Winds (2003)

Movements:
Sinfonia
Tema con variazioni & Finale

Performances:


Oct 12, 2003



Mathieu Dufour, Flute
Larry Combs, Clarinet
Dennis Michel, Bassoon
Lewis Kirk, Bassoon
Charles Geyer, Trumpet
Barbara Butler, Trumpet
Michael Mulcahy, Trombone
Randall Hawes, Bass trombone


Oct 13, 2003



Mathieu Dufour, Flute
Larry Combs, Clarinet
Dennis Michel, Bassoon
Lewis Kirk, Bassoon
Charles Geyer, Trumpet
Barbara Butler, Trumpet
Michael Mulcahy, Trombone
Randall Hawes, Bass trombone

STRAVINSKY-Octet for flute, clarinet, 2 bassoons, 2 trumpets & 2 trombones

Composed in 1923

Stravinsky wrote: "My Octet is a musical object, a musical composition based on objective elements that are sufficient in themselves." In other words, this is an abstract piece that exists on its own without extra-musical references, engaging ear and mind in the themes, their development, and the sonic contrasts among the eight instruments. To continue the quote: "Composition, structure, form, here all are in the line of the 18th-century masters. The introduction is comparable to the introductions in late Haydn symphonies. The Allegro is a typical two-theme sonata-allegro. The second movement is a theme with variations; however, it is the first variation that recurs rather than the theme in its original state." The finale is a fugato, meaning a fugue movement that doesn't always proceed according to the strict procedures of that Baroque genre; it can still be heard as homage to Bach, even with its 20th-century harmonies.

Stravinsky once described the origin of his octet as a dream in which he was in a small room, surrounded by musicians playing a piece he could not recognize. "I remember my curiosity...to know how many the musicians were...after I had counted to the number eight, I looked again and saw that they were playing bassoons, trombones, trumpets, a flute, and a clarinet. I awoke from this little concert in a state of great delight and anticipation, and the next morning I began to compose the Octet." Certainly Stravinsky was far from the first composer to dream a piece of music before he wrote it; Tartini claimed a similar origin for his famous Devil's Trill violin sonata. What's a little unusual about Stravinsky's experience is his memory of specific instruments that he both saw and heard.

The composer conducted the first performance of his unconventionally-scored octet at the Paris Opera in 1923.

Program Notes by Andrea Lamoreaux

Performance Date October 12 & 13, 2003



Performance Audio

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