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Modernist Mysteries: Perséphone$
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Tamara Levitz

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199730162

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199730162.001.0001

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Igor’s Duality

Igor’s Duality

(p.290) 5 Igor’s Duality
Modernist Mysteries: Perséphone

Tamara Levitz

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the extreme split in Stravinsky’s music between his attempt to solidify Christian dogma on heterosexual marriage through archetypal musical dramaturgy and his hidden expressions of desire. This split can be explained within the context of the debate about Stravinsky’s Russianness after the revolution, in which Boris Asafyev articulated the pre-Stalinist humanist and later Soviet materialist, Boris de Schloezer a humanist, Western European, aestheticist, and Pyotr Suvchinsky a Eurasianist view. Stravinsky reacted to this dialogue by hiding behind neoclassical “poses” or “manners,” and by fashioning himself into Suvchinsky’s vision of a Russian creative genius with a dialectical character split between a private vitalist sphere of mystical revelation of the material world and a public sphere of Christian subjugation to universal laws. These attitudes determined how Stravinsky represented desire in Perséphone, which this chapter compares to Ravel’s melancholic expression in Le Tombeau du Couperin. Stravinsky’s approach results in a fractured musical form that resembles Walter Benjamin’s modernist allegory.

Keywords:   Igor Stravinsky, aesthetics, Pyotr Suvchinsky, Pierre Souvtchinsky, Boris De Schloezer, nationality, mannoers, Eurasianism, vitalism, Walter Benjamin, allegory, neoclassicism

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