Stravinsky (and Newman) at the movies
Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971) Symphony in Three Movements Berlin Philharmonic; Pierre Boulez, conductor. DG 457 616 Alfred Newman (1901-1970) Song of Bernadette National Philharmonic; Charles Gerhardt, conductor. RCA 184
Composer's Datebook - Jan. 24, 2023
On this day in 1946, Igor Stravinsky conducted the New York Philharmonic in the first performance of his Symphony in Three Movements, a work inspired in part by World War II newsreels.
“Each episode in the Symphony,” Stravinsky wrote, “is linked in my imagination with a specific cinematographic impression of the war. But the Symphony is not programmatic. Composers combine notes—that is all. How and in what form the things of this world are impressed upon their music is not for them to say.”
What Stravinsky did say was that images of goose-stepping soldiers influenced its first movement, and its third movement was inspired in part by newsreels of the victorious march of the Allies into Germany. The themes of middle movement, however, had nothing to do with the war, but consisted of bits and pieces Stravinsky salvaged from his unused and unfinished score for the 1943 movie The Song of Bernadette. The producers decided instead to go with a score by Alfred Newman, a more experienced film composer.
To Stravinsky’s embarrassment, Newman’s score for The Song of Bernadette won an Oscar for the Best Film Score of 1943.
But Igor needn’t have felt too chagrined—his music may have failed in Hollywood, but it triumphed at Carnegie Hall.
Music Played in Today's Program
Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971) Symphony in Three Movements Berlin Philharmonic; Pierre Boulez, conductor. DG 457 616
Alfred Newman (1901-1970) Song of Bernadette National Philharmonic; Charles Gerhardt, conductor. RCA 184
On This Day
1712 - Frederick II the Great, King of Prussia, monarch, flutist and composer, in Berlin;
1776 - German composer, author, conductor and music critic E. T. A. Hoffmann, in Königsberg;
1913 - American composer Norman Dello Joio, in New York City;
1918 - Austrian composer Gottfried von Einem, in Bern, Switzerland;
1919 - American composer Leon Kirchner, in Brooklyn, N.Y.;
1851 - Italian opera composer Gaspare Spontini, age 76, in Ancona, Italy;
1883 - German opera composer Friedrich von Flotow, age 70, in Darmstadt;
1835 - Bellini: opera "I Puritani," in Paris at the Théatre-Italien;
1875 - Saint-Saëns: "Dance macabre" for orchestra, in Paris;
1885 - Tchaikovsky: Orchestral Suite No. 3, in St. Petersburg (Julian date: Jan.12);
1895 - ; Ippolitov-Ivanov: “Caucasian Sketches” (Gregorian date: Feb. 5);
1906 - Rachmaninoff: two one-act operas "The Miserly Knight" and "Francesca da Rimini" in Moscow at the Bolshoi Theater (Julian date: Jan.11);
1922 - Walton: entertainment, "Façade," with Edith Sitwell reciting her poetry;
1922 - Nielsen: Symphony No. 5, in Copenhagen, with composer conducting;
1946 - Stravinsky: "Symphony in Three Movements," by New York Philharmonic, with the composer conducting; This work was commissioned by the New York Philharmonic-Society;
1957 - Piston: Wind Quintet, at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC, by the Boston Woodwind Quintet;
1959 - Shostakovich: operetta "Moscow, Cheryomushki," at the Moscow Operetta Theater;
1981 - John Harbison: Violin Concerto, at Emmanuel Church in Boston, with soloist Rose Mary Harbison and the Emmanuel Chamber Orchestra, Craig Smith conducting;
1991 - George Perle: Piano Concerto No. 1, with San Francisco Symphony conducted by David Zinman, with Richard Goode the soloist;
1705 - Birthdate if the famous Italian castrato singer Carlo Farinelli (born Carlo Broschi), in Andria; His life is depicted in the 1994 film "Farinelli";
1813 - The Royal Philharmonic Society in formed in London.