Stravinsky, BeethovenStravinsky was not particularly fond of Beethoven and quite likely Beethoven wouldn’t have had too much time for Stravinsky if they had both lived in the same times! Stravinsky did, however, admire Beethoven’s Eighth Symphony and his last three Piano Sonatas, and very probably the genius from Bonn would have greatly appreciated his Russian “colleague’s” ballet Orpheus. He would probably have expressed amused curiosity if he had heard the Concert in D for String Orchestra.
What could possibly narrow the gap between these two composers whose musical thought seems so completely opposed? Let’s try and answer that.
Beethoven’s Eighth is his shortest symphony and is certainly the one that hits the intellect first, then moves on to appeal more to our sentiments; Stravinsky’s concision and objective attitude could deal with that.
Orpheus is the Russian composer’s ballet that probably most closely responds to the ideals of the clear lines and perfection of the great classic sculptors, focusing on the transparency and control of the structure; in Beethoven’s compositions his hallmark is structural clarity and perfect equilibrium.
There’s no person in the world so different from the others that they have no points at all in common, to agree on. Beethoven and Stravinsky are proof of this!