When we invited Ars Ludi to perform Stravinsky’s music in two concerts at the Malta Arts Festival, his first reaction was to ask about which particular aspect of Stravinsky’s multiform creativity we were to present.
We decided to focus on how Eastern popular music has influenced one of the most important composers of the twentieth century. The language, the rhythms, the melodies, the beliefs, the fables of those countries, trough a strong and original re-elaboration, have been a strong inspiration for Stravinsky just as it was for another great composer, Bela Bartok, in the first decades of the past century.
The focal point of the two concerts are Les Noces (The Wedding) of 1917 and Histoire du Soldat of 1918. Les Noces is one of Stravinsky’s most remarkable achievements. In this work Stravinsy’s Russian musical inheritance is presented without any ‘civilising’ filters. Histoire du Soldat is another important work by the Russian master, based on a story by C.F.Ramuz from Alexander Afanasiev’s collection of Russian tales. The piece had been the source for several other Stravinsky works as Renard.
Around these two historical musical steps, Ars Ludi presents a choice of shorter pieces showing the touch of modernism in transforming and regenerating the existing musical material as in Stravinsky’s Tres Sacrae Cantiones from Gesualdo da Venosa and in Bartok’s Rumanian Folk Dances from popular Rumanian melodies.
The first concert on the 13th July is called Slavonic Folk Scenes. The second concert on 14th July is Igor the Story-Teller. The programme details are here.