A Reliquary for Igor Stravinsky
- 4(Picc)22(Bcl)3 4231 T,P(3),Pf,Hp,Str
- 12/17/1984 - 1/28/1985
- Vera Stravinsky and Robert Craft
- Commissioned jointly by the Ojai Festival and the Buffalo Philharmonic for Michael Tilson Thomas
In 1974 Vera Stravinsky gave me her permission and blessing to enshrine certain musical fragments her late husband had been working on before his illness prevented their further development. These I would embed in a work of my own which (I hoped) would reflect my love of Stravinsky's music and my sense of deep indebtedness to it. It turned out that Madame did not have the legal right to grant such a permission, but the issue was speedily resolved between Stravinsky's publisher and mine. I then set to work on what were very tasty but meagre morsels — a few fragments of music and, mostly, Stravinsky's 12-tone charts. These latter were mainly hexachordal-rotational arrays of the sort first developed by Krenek in the 1940s and later appropriated by Stravinsky as crucial constructive material for his 12-tone works. There were also listings of what Stravinsky considered basic row-forms for the piece he was trying to compose. There were the standard four, but also two others which he seemed to be viewing as similarly fundamental, even though they were mere transpositions of their more basic cousins.The plan I followed was first to use the material I had inherited to compose a simulacrum of Stravinsky's late manner, incorporating, articulating, orchestrating, and otherwise fleshing out in this part of my composition the actual fragments of music that the material contained. I then proceeded with a variation of the simulacrum in my own manner, and concluded with a recapitulation of the Stravinskian opening. This very simple design is further embellished with a formal 'lament' in the middle, an expression (by violin solo) of my sense of loss at the great master's passing.