What if Stravinsky was not that great?main
From my new essay in The Critic:
Igor Stravinsky cast such a huge shadow over the cultural estate that when he died, 50 years ago this month, his publisher said that music would be as art was after Michelangelo. We can now confirm that he was right. In half a century, no composer has attained the fame and stature of Stravinsky, none has dined with ease at the Elysée and the White House. Stravinsky was the last of the Great Composers. Once he was gone, they locked the canon and threw away the key.
Before you contest that proposition, let’s raise a cheer for the closure of the canon. Across the world right now, from the BBC to the Boston Symphony, dead white male composers are being replaced with diverse unknowns amid a confessional wave of collective guilt at our colonial worship of the Great Composers cult. Stravinsky will have his privilege checked at this summer’s music festivals, and about time, too. But I still see newspaper critics saluting him as the “greatest” of his century.
It’s about time we took down Great Igor, at least a peg or two….
Read on here.