Stravinsky's sideways glance: neoclassicism, dialogised structures and the reflected discourse of Bach

McKay, Nicholas (2013) Stravinsky's sideways glance: neoclassicism, dialogised structures and the reflected discourse of Bach. Journal of Music and Meaning (12). ISSN 1478-5722

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Abstract

This article reassesses Stravinsky’s early neoclassic music through the prism of Bakhtin’s literary theory concept of dialogised heteroglossia (other voices). In close readings of extracts from the Concerto for Piano and Winds and the Octet, the paper considers the problematic metaphor of Bach’s voices in Stravinsky’s music. Forcefully dismissed by Taruskin and others as little more than constructivist sleight of hand on the part of the composer to re-imagine Bach as an architectonic icon in Stravinsky’s own image, I argue that to obliterate Bach’s ‘other voice’ from the early neoclassic works impoverishes the music, depriving it of its vital dialogical discourse between an imagined classical voice of Bach and Stravinsky’s native Turanian voice. Building on Bakhtin’s notion of the sideward glance at the reflected discourse of an absent interlocutor, semiotic theory and Cone’s three ways of reading music (like a detective story), the paper confronts a number of partial- and mis-readings of neoclassicism ranging from Schenker, Taruskin, Hyde and Straus. The paper thus re-imagines the machine-like contrapuntal textural excesses of Stravinsky’s neoclassicism in dialogical terms and, in the process, elevates Stravinsky’s marginalised stylistic discourse as a vital hermeneutic counter to the more privileged appraisals of his neoclassic syntax.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Media, Film and Music > Music
Subjects: M Music. Literature on music. Musical instruction and study > M Music
Depositing User: Sarah Maddox
Date Deposited: 18 Mar 2013 08:18
Last Modified: 01 Jun 2015 13:47
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/42958
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