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Ancient Drama in Music for the Modern Stage$
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Peter Brown and Suzana Ograjenšek

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199558551

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199558551.001.0001

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The Action Drama and the Still Life

The Action Drama and the Still Life

Enescu, Stravinsky, and Oedipus

(p.305) 16 The Action Drama and the Still Life
Ancient Drama in Music for the Modern Stage

Stephen Walsh

Oxford University Press

This chapter focuses on the Oedipus operas of George Enescu and Igor Stravinsky. It highlights the aesthetic differences between their work. It suggests that behind Stravinsky's collaboration with Jean Cocteau lay a religious experience on both sides; and behind Edmond Fleg's work on the libretto for Enescu's Oedipe lay an intuition of certain parallels between the Greek myth and the Old and New Testaments — Abraham and Isaac, the Nativity, the Redemption. But with Fleg, the Christian element is an organic part of the way he lays out the story, whereas with Cocteau it has more to do with a generally hieratic atmosphere combined with a few miraculous details, while with Stravinsky it was no more than the context within which he became ‘aware of the need to compose a large-scale dramatic work’.

Keywords:   Igor Stravinsky, George Enescu, opera, Oedipe, Edmond Fleg, Jean Cocteau, musicians, composers

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