Program Notes

These pages contain program notes written for Redwood Symphony. You are free to use the information in your own program notes. If you quote me directly, please attribute it. Thanks!

These notes were edited, amended, and otherwise improved by Eric Kujawsky, Peter Stahl, and others.

Barbara Heninger

Igor Stravinsky
Fanfare for a New Theatre

In today’s concert we contrast one of the longest orchestral works in the repertoire (Messiaen's Turangalîla-Symphony) with one that lasts only 30 to 40 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.

Stravinsky 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.

The 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