Fanfare for a New Theatre
today’s concert we contrast one of the longest orchestral works in the
repertoire (Messiaen's Turangalîla-Symphony) with one that lasts only 30
seconds. In that time, however, composer Igor Stravinsky provides two
trumpets with a series of variations on a simple note row that typify the
twelve-tone music that he was producing at this late stage in his career.
was commissioned to write the work for the opening of the New York State Theater
at the Lincoln Center for Performing Arts. He dedicated the piece to the New
York City Ballet’s founder, Lincoln Kirstein, and its artistic director and
Stravinsky’s long-time friend, George Balanchine. The fanfare was first
performed at the theater’s opening in April, 1964.
two trumpets play their lines in contrapuntal argument with each other, allowing
the music to take different harmonic and rhythmic shapes as their parts
intertwine. At the opening ceremony, the trumpets were positioned in the balcony
at either side of the foyer to the new hall. Balanchine is said to have
described them as two “golden cockerels” reciting the tales of La
Fontaine to each other. Their fabulous interchange
glitters briefly, and then is gone.
June 8, 2008