Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971) was the inventor of modern music, comparable in versatility and influence to his close friend and contemporary Pablo Picasso. Famous for ballets, he composed neo-Classical and serialist works, but his style, while variable, was always highly distinctive. He has been the subject of a vast literature of musical analysis and biographical anecdote, and his scores, sketches and voluminous personal papers have been much studied.This book sets all of Stravinsky's major works into context without using overly academic language, making the subject accessible to a wide range of readers. The author devotes particular attention to Stravinsky's childhood in pre-Revolutionary Russia, the formative influence of which the composer acknowledged in later life. His discovery by the great impresario Diaghilev, his fruitful collaborations with such choreographers as Mikhail Fokine and George Balanchine, and with many of the great dancers (Nijinsky, Karsavina), painters and designers (Bakst, Picasso) of his time are fully described, as well as his relationships with writers such as Cocteau, Gide and WH Auden. Above all the book concentrates on Stavinsky's creativity, describing how his musical mind worked and relating this to his complex and fascinating personality.
Michael Oliver, who sadly died in 2002, was a well known as a writer and broadcaster, having written and compiled numerous programmes for BBC Radio 3 and written regularly for Gramophone and other magazines for over 20 years