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An Autobiography Paperback – January 23, 2013


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Text: English, French (translation) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; Reissue edition (January 23, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393318567
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393318562
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #672,217 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
It is always interesting when a great artist communicates with us about their life and art. However, like most of us, they tend to try and put events and ideas in the best possible light. So, it is for later scholars to come along, dig deeper, and get things right. And the history of artists talking about art has proven that what they say about what they do is seldom as useful as the work itself. As Hemingway noted in "Death in the Afternoon", it is always a mistake to meet the author.

And yet it is often most interesting. Stravinsky wrote this in 1934 when he was in his early fifties. The book covers the his life from his childhood to that time and his compositions through the Duo Concertant, Concerto for Violin, and Persephone. Of course, he could not have expected all the music and the direction still in his future. His Symphony in C, the Symphony in Three Movements, The Rake's Progress, and so much more through the Requiem Canticles were all in the future. Who could have expected the horrors of the Second World War at that time? So, it is an interesting document from that point of view because of the way that time was viewed as the context for the past. Nowadays, we would reconstruct everything differently because of what we know of those subsequent years.

Not only is it most useful to know the way his compositions came about (to the extent these anecdotes are accurate), but his views on Beethoven, composition, executants versus interpreters, musical form, and the great artistic personalities he met and knew and worked with along the way. Now, in order to understand Stravinsky's comments about music's inability to communicate anything we have to keep in mind the times.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Brokeoff Mountain Luthier on August 6, 2013
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This book should be titled, "The Music I Composed before the Outbreak of World War II". Stravinsky was only 52 years old when he wrote this book, it's not much of an autobiography because he really doesn't talk much about his personal life. Not much emotion from him either. I did enjoy reading about how L'Historie du Soldat came into being. A good read, too bad he didn't write a second half when he was 70 years old.
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By Simin Ye on November 19, 2014
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perfect book!
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