1111Stravinskij, The Patriarch who became Pope John XXIII and the St. Mark's concert
Before each concert Igor Stravinskij ate a nice hard egg. If this has something to do with the compositional genius of the Russian artist, who became a French citizien and later got the US one (but remained Venetian in the heart) it is not known;
For sure in the minds of a musician who started his career with the Russian musician's revolutionary ballets and finished it with dodecaphonic music, there had to be a sense. Just as in his deep relationship with Venice, a city where he lived for a long time and directed works and concerts at La Fenice Theater (where he made his "The Rake's Progress" debut) at least from 1932 to 1960, with executions also at Palazzo Ducale in St. Mark's Basilica. Yet while having lived with music since his childhood (his father was a bass player at the Mariinskij Theater in Oranienbaum, his hometown), Stravinsky came to the composition only in his 20s, in 1902, when he began to ignore the law studies he had started to lead, under Nikolaj Rimskij-Korsakov, then the greatest living Russian composer, who guided him to his death in 1908. At that point the young Stravinsky was ready to fly: he reached Paris, and thanks to the impresario Sergej Diaghilev, the soul of the Russian Ballets, who had noticed the music at the funeral of Korsakov, presented the "Bird of Fire", the begining of a new musical era. At the first opera they followed Petruka and The Spring Festival, which revolutionized the ballet. As he himself said, his intention was to send the audience to hell. He succeeded: the premiere of the Festival, in 1913, turned into a riot. His production was incredibly heterogeneous: he used different styles and was involved in the production of everry kind of music, incorporating in his compositions cultures and traditions far apart, in terms of time and space as well. Curiously, Stravinsky was also one of the few composers who used the five-pointed pencil to write the lines of the pentagram. In Paris he collaborated with Picasso, Jean Cocteau, George Balanchine, until his moved to the United States, in 1945, where he resided until his death.
But it was Venice, more than any other city, that cdelebrate its compositions, especially those of a religious character. In 1956 Stravinsky persuaded Patriarch Angelo Roncalli, future Pope John XXIII, to open the Basilica of St. Mark to orchestral music. It was a huge success. St. Mark's Square, thanks to the installation of some loudspeakers, became a gigantic concert hall.
Igor Stravinsky died in his New York apartment on April 6, 1971, at the age of 88, for heart failure. Following his will, on April 15, his funeral took place in San Zanipolo and was buried in the orthodox sector of San Michele Island in Venice, a few steps from his friend Diaghilev. With him, still today, his beloved second wife, Vera de Bosset, the true love of his life, whom married after the death of her cousin Katerina Nossenko in 1939, who had given him four children.
Translation of the article by Alberto Toso Fei, "Il Gazzettino" Venezia-Mestre edition 7/8/2017
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