Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Stravinsky: Influences and Development, part 3

Reading Taruskin is a delight because his learning is so wide-ranging. For example, in continuing to set the scene for Stravinsky's artistic development he discusses the trends and movements in art, especially of the World of Art (Mir iskusstva) circle. A kind of mystical archaism was a fashion among the Russian Symbolists which led to the Scythianism and neoprimitivism of the last years of the old regime. One painting in particular he cites is Terror Antiquus by Leon Bakst (1866–1924), painted in 1908, showing a kore presiding over the destruction of an ancient city:


Diaghilev and Benois' retrospective interests, as apostles of aristocratic aestheticism, tended more towards the 18th century. In 1905 Diaghilev organized an enormous exhibition of portraiture from 1700 to 1900 in the Tauride Palace. After this triumph, Diaghilev turned his eyes to the West and embarked on a project to celebrate the spirit of Russia in Europe. Synthesism, the group's attitude towards theatre, and neonationalism, their attitude toward Russian folklore, would both prove important.

The first musician that the Diaghilev circle worked with was not Stravinsky, but Nikolai Cherepnin whose skills as a conductor as well as a composer proved useful. The premiere performance of the Ballets Russes in 1909 featured Cherepnin's ballet Le pavillon d'Armide. As Taruskin notes, "these exquisitely crafted and 'painterly' little sketches already forecast the Russian ballet ideal in embryo." [op. cit. p. 453]

Let's listen to the suite from the ballet. This is the Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz conducted by Igor Blashkov:


Monday, August 21, 2017

Eurocentric Music?

Ethan Hein seems to be an example of where the "new" musicology is going these days. No longer content with just singling out the odd composer for punishment as Susan McClary did with Beethoven, or offering blanket dismissals of all "dead, white, males" now it seems that a truly "woke" musicologist needs to get on board with the more extreme position that:
I have nothing against European classical music as music.
But it’s time to stop teaching it as if it’s in any way superior to or more fundamental than any other musical tradition.
Otherwise we’re giving intellectual and cultural validation to those assholes with the swastika flags.
This is from Slipped Disc where the item has garnered 83 comments to date. Traditionally we classical musicians have felt little need to either defend or apologize for our music as its quality speaks for itself. But I am beginning to think that those days are gone. I was at a musical gathering this past weekend where about equal numbers of classical and non-classical musicians were present and it turned, inevitably, into a blues jam session. That was preceded, however, by a shakuhachi player, who exalts in his inability to read music, offering a "two minutes hate" on those musicians who are literate. No-one offered to disagree with him. All I did was leave, but I regret not standing up and telling him he was wrong, in no uncertain terms.

Hey, if you want to turn all musical gatherings into blues jam sessions then count me out. And I am using that as a metaphor. A musicologist who states that he has nothing against European classical music as music is really in the wrong job and belongs to the wrong tribe (because the unstated subtext is that there is lots to condemn European classical music for in moral, social and cultural terms). The task of a musicologist is to understand and teach European classical music. Sure, there have grown up sub-disciplines that study blues, jazz and world music, but they are founded on the basic training and methods developed for use with European derived classical music. Honestly, you don't need to do Schenkerian analysis of Duke Ellington or Riemannian examination of West African drumming. The study of pop music can be quite interesting, but I think that anyone who approaches it with serious intent recognizes that the study of a Beatles' song and the study of, say, the Rite of Spring or a Bruckner symphony lie in rather different places on the aesthetic spectrum--and it's not just because of the length.

So yes, European classical music is IN FACT more fundamental than any other musical tradition for two reasons: first, because it is OUR musical tradition and second, because most of the highly developed techniques for writing music, including the ability to WRITE it were developed in Western Europe over the last thousand years. Basic history. These include, counterpoint, harmony, formal structure, development and a host of other things. Other cultures have used music in different ways, but with few exceptions the music has been limited to a small range of traditional elements and techniques due to the inability or disinterest in writing music down.

Now this has nothing whatsoever to do with those assholes with the swastika flags, nor those other assholes dressed in black with the anarchist flags. Frankly, it is astonishing that anyone with a scrap of education in music would even say things like this.

But we live in very strange times...

Since many of the comments reference the Symphony No. 3, "Eroica" by that notorious rapist, Beethoven, let's listen to a performance. This is the Wiener Philharmoniker conducted by Christian Thielemann:


 

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Stravinsky: Influences and Development, part 2

Taruskin begins the second section of volume one of his book on Stravinsky by musing on how a concatenation of circumstances led to the blossoming of Stravinsky: a certain jealousy of Steinberg, the 'indifference' of the Conservatory people, the death of Rimsky-Korsakov and, around the same time, the World of Art group around Diaghilev was beginning--the symbiosis that developed between Diaghilev and Stravinsky was probably the most important of these.

In order to trim down a 2,000 page book (and that's just volume one) into a few blog posts I have to do a lot of skipping and one section I can't give full justice to is Taruskin's discussion of the social context of the World of Art group. He calls them "rightists of the left" because these progressive thinkers were not working class or even bourgeoisie, but educated members of the upper class. As one of them, Alexander Nikolayevich Benois wrote:
This very class was the one that achieved all that was calm, worthy, durable, seemingly meant to last forever. They set the very tempo of Russian life, its self-awareness, and the system of interrelationships between the members of this extended family "clan." All the subtleties of the Russian psychology, all the twists of what is typical Russian moral sensibility arose and matured within this very milieu... [Taruskin, op. cit. p. 424]
The World of Art figures, that included Dmitriy Vladimirovich Filosofov and Walter Nouvel (whom we have previously mentioned) as well as Benois, believed strongly in an age-old liberal arts ideal that art was meant to serve us rather than the other way around. But they also asserted aristocratic values in art and in that sense the movement was retrospective. The key figure in transforming what was essentially a movement of dilettantes into a social force was Sergei Pavlovich Diaghilev (1872 - 1929):


In 1896 he began to propagandize the views of his circle by means of a series of reviews of art exhibitions soon followed by organizing his own exhibits. Diaghilev showed his enormous talents for manipulation and publicity in the way he goaded the elder statesman of Russian art, Vladimir Vasilyevich Stasov, into making rash attacks on him--which only served to strengthen his position. Nothing so useful as a dependable adversary!

Taruskin offers some interesting thoughts on the historical situation at the beginning of the 20th century:
The touchstone of radicalism for art and esthetics at the beginning of the twentieth century was the conception of the nature and function of the artist. The real artists of the left were those whose attitudes grew out of the Nietzschean/Wagnerian cult of art as eschatological mystery. [Taruskin, op. cit. p. 437]
This ideal reached a height in Russia with the Silver Age poets and Symbolist writers like Alexander Blok. The hope was that by harnessing the Divine Force, artists could enlighten and regenerate the world. Such apocalyptic art ideals crystallized around the concept of "Scythianism." The musician who was the supreme realization of this ideal was Scriabin. The World of Art movement had entirely different ideals: "Their mission was neither to explore the world, nor to transfigure it, but to adorn it." [op, cit. p. 438] "Social, religious, philosophical, ideological programs of any kind, in their view, were 'fetters,' "earthly things." [p. 440] The artist's role was to express his individuality through style, that is to say, form and formalism was what distinguished the World of Art movement from the other trends of the day. Taruskin asserts that this is the source of the Stravinskian aesthetic.

Perhaps this is enough history for today. Let us end with a piece we are about to spend some time with, the first major commission from Diaghilev for Stravinsky, The Firebird. This is the complete 1910 version with the Los Angeles Philharmonic conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen. It comes in several clips:






Wow!

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Alex Ross Perplexed by Sokolov

As readers know, I am a big fan of the Russian pianist Grigory Sokolov, about whom I have written quite a few posts. I also had the opportunity to hear him in Bologna in May in concert, which was quite an experience. He plays the same program for a whole season, so it was the same pieces that Alex Ross heard him play in Salzburg on August 1st. I linked to his piece on the Salzburg Festival in yesterday's miscellanea, but just now got a chance to savor his comments:
A cultish, worshipful atmosphere can prevail in Salzburg, to sometimes irritating effect. A case in point was an evening of Mozart and Beethoven sonatas with the enigmatic Russian pianist Grigory Sokolov, who avoids travel to the United States but has an avid European following. He has an extraordinarily sensitive touch, and specializes in the surgical separation and articulation of voices: when he plays a crisp, marcato line with his left hand and a flowing legato with his right, the parts are so distinct that it sounds as though two different people were at the instrument. He is also deeply eccentric. His accounts of Mozart’s Sonata in C, K. 545, and the Fantasia and Sonata in C Minor, rendered without pause, veered from porcelain prettiness to turbulent Romantic gesturing and back again, neither manner suitable to the music at hand. In Beethoven’s Opus 111, Sokolov’s interpretive meanderings matched the saturnine magnificence of the score: endless even-toned trills and ethereal figuration cast a spell. Still, a humorless self-indulgence prevailed. The crowd roared and stamped; I went away perplexed.
This is delightful, isn't it? Alex Ross really is a creature of his environment, Manhattan's Upper West Side, the world view of which was captured in this New Yorker cover, years ago:

 

Imagine if the artist had been looking East instead and how foreshortened Europe would have been. That's the sense I get from this phrase in the review:
Russian pianist Grigory Sokolov, who avoids travel to the United States but has an avid European following.
Norman Lebrecht expressed similar misgivings about a pianist who simply does not give concerts in the UK: after all, how good could he be? Well, good enough to pack halls in Europe. As a bit of a corrective, here is a quote from a review by Geoffrey Norris in The Telegraph:
An enigma in his lifetime, the Russian-born pianist Grigory Sokolov restricts his recitals to about 60 a year, refuses to make studio recordings and, for the past seven years or so, has declined to play in the UK. He used to but then withdrew from appearances here in 2008 when new requirements were introduced for Russian citizens seeking entry visas. It sparked a furore, but the stand-off continues.
To experience him in concert, therefore, you have to be on mainland Europe – no loss to Sokolov when he can draw capacity crowds to the Leipzig Gewandhaus, the Berlin Philharmonie or the Vienna Konzerthaus.
 As Ross seems to have only the vaguest idea of with whom he is dealing, let me fill in the picture a bit. Grigory Sokolov is a very great artist and pianist in the Russian tradition. He won first prize in the Tchaikovsky competition in 1966 at age sixteen--the head of the jury was Emil Gilels. Here they are in a photo taken at the time with Mischa Dichter on the left:


Since then he has pursued a career in which his devotion to the art has completely overshadowed any desire for fame or commercial endorsement, which is why so many music lovers do not know him. In Europe, however, he gives a tour every year to packed halls. He refuses to do studio recordings as he sees his art as that of the live performance. After many years of being perplexed by this, one record company, Deutsche Grammophon, has given in and begun releasing CDs of his recitals. He is an astonishing performer. I have one recording, of the Bach Art of Fugue recorded live in St. Petersburg around 1980, that is absolutely transcendent.

So when I read that Ross thinks that Sokolov's performance:
veered from porcelain prettiness to turbulent Romantic gesturing and back again, neither manner suitable to the music at hand
I suspect he just doesn't get out enough and is unfamiliar with the idea of expressive interpretation. Indeed, he seems much more in tune with the young Chinese pianist, Yuja Wang, whom he reviewed like this:
The program, under the direction of the striking young Estonian conductor Anu Tali, consisted of Niels Gade's Hamlet Overture, Grieg's Piano Concerto, and Sibelius' Fifth. I'll save the Sibelius for an upcoming New Yorker column and comment briefly on the Grieg. Yuja Wang was the soloist; I knew her from Leon Fleisher's Carnegie Hall workshops, which I wrote about last year. Then, I was gripped by her playing, though I felt she hadn't fully grasped Schubert's language. She has certainly mastered Grieg's. She gets a huge sound out of the piano, which isn't surprising from a well-traveled young prodigy. What's more impressive is that she plays in big paragraphs, shows a powerful grasp of structure, brings delicate fantasy to lyric passages.
To my mind, Yuja Wang rather resembles a music box with legs:



Grigory Sokolov, on the other hand has a different relationship with the notes:


Unfair, apples to oranges? Well, sure. Just making a point here. On Sokolov's Beethoven, Ross has this to say:
Sokolov’s interpretive meanderings matched the saturnine magnificence of the score: endless even-toned trills and ethereal figuration cast a spell. Still, a humorless self-indulgence prevailed. The crowd roared and stamped; I went away perplexed.
 A humorless self-indulgence? You know, I would be just a tiny bit sympathetic with Ross' view if he had a shred of evidence to back it up. Which he doesn't. So, a pox on your house, Alex. You really should get out more. I think that endless string of Julliard note-spinners has dulled your ear.

Here is another quote from Norris' review in The Telegraph:
As is so often the case with the greatest musicians, it is hard, and perhaps not always desirable or essential, to analyse what makes them great. It is simply a fact that, listening to Sokolov, you know unequivocally that you are in the presence of someone extraordinary, someone possessing special insights and a thoroughly individual way of articulating, clarifying and communing with music so that his interpretations seem to find its very heart.
Yep, that's pretty much it.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Friday Miscellanea

Here is a really interesting piece of jazz musicology that looks at a pair of 1967 concerts for clues as to why jazz has been sidelined in the decades since, Duke Ellington, Bill Evans, and One Night in New York City:
the basics of straight-ahead jazz were also being taught to incoming freshmen at an increasing number of American colleges. The influx of students mandated digestible rules. During the mid-seventies, a lead sheet of “In a Sentimental Mood” appeared in “The Real Book,” the most widely disseminated jazz manual ever made, a “fake book” of tunes and chord changes produced by students in the powerful jazz program at Berklee College of Music, in Boston.
If a student wanted to sound like Bill Evans on “In a Sentimental Mood,” he or she could quickly start getting close with the help of a chart in “The Real Book.” The sheet begins with four versions of D minor, “D-, D-(maj7), D-7, D-6.” These aren’t wrong, exactly, but they are far closer to Evans than Ellington, and suggest ways of articulating harmony in a blocky and unmusical fashion, one divorced from the idea and emotion of the original song.
Read the whole thing for a fascinating and informed look at how jazz is transmitted.

* * * 

I've been on a long crusade against what I call "scientism" because much of it appears to me to be wildly misinterpreted or simply wildly wrong attempts to prove the, at least, dubious. Call it science as cult. I started on this because just about every article I ran across on the scientific study of music was hilariously mistaken. This week the Wall Street Journal has an excellent piece supporting my view titled Studies Are Usually Bunk, Study Shows:
Pop psychologists have churned out mountains of books proving some intuitive point that turns out to be wrong. It’s “sciencey,” with a whiff of (false) authenticity.
Malcolm Gladwell is the master. In his 2008 book, “Outlier,” he argues that studies show no one is born better than anyone else. Instead success comes to those who put in 10,000 hours of practice. That does sound right, but maybe Steph Curry shoots hoops for 10,000 hours because he is better than everyone at basketball in the first place. Meanwhile I watch 10,000 hours of TV. Facing criticism, Mr. Gladwell somewhat recanted: “In cognitively demanding fields, there are no naturals.” News alert: Professional sports are cognitively demanding.
Gladwell's 10,000 hours claim was one that I attacked years ago--as any music teacher knows, there are lots of students for whom 10,000 hours of practice will get them not very far, while with some students a fraction of that time will see them far ahead. In fact, most of these studies are simply mistaken:
In August 2015, the Center for Open Science published a study in which 270 researchers spent four years trying to reproduce 100 leading psychology experiments. They successfully replicated only 39.
Things like "unconscious bias," that is the theory that underlies masses of social engineering are simply unlikely:
In his best seller “Blink,” Mr. Gladwell finds studies suggesting we are all unconsciously biased sexists, racists, genderists, ableists, and a litany of other “ists”—victimhood’s origin story. Newer research has deflated this theory, but the serious conclusions, and boring training seminars they inevitably lead to, remain.
What we have to always remember is to be skeptical, especially of those ideas that are very beneficial to those people that purport to administrate society for the better. Turns out it benefits them and almost no-one else. Now that's critical thinking!

* * *

There have been several articles lately bemoaning the invitation to conservative pundit Dennis Prager to conduct the Santa Monica Symphony in a benefit concert. According to them, anyone who disagrees with them is a bigot and should not be allowed to show his face in public. Here is an article making the contrary case that politicizing everything, especially classical music, is just a very bad idea: Was Haydn a Bigot? Are you?
My friend Dennis Prager, the radio talk-show-host, is conducting the Santa Monica Symphony in a Haydn symphony this Wednesday at Disney Hall in downtown Los Angeles, and, of course, his appearance has "drawn fire" and "raised controversy" in the fever swamps of the Left, which is freaking out at the prospect of having a "bigot" on the podium. Anyone who knows Dennis, or who even listens to his daily radio show on the Salem Radio Network, understands this is codswallop.  Prager is an observant Jew and a man who has spoken and written extensively on the moral issues of our day. His bona fides as a public intellectual are impeccable.
I can remember when most of life was entirely free of politics--and it wasn't that long ago! If I sat down to play chamber music with someone it wouldn't have occurred to me in a million years to even wonder what their views on socialized healthcare or immigration policy were. And I really can't see why the horn section of the Santa Monica Symphony should care either.

* * *

The BBC Proms concerts in London, one of the great summer music festivals, apparently have an Early Music problem, Time to ditch authenticity for early music Proms:
They say the first step towards recovery is admitting that you have a problem. So I’m staging an intervention and asking the BBC Proms to admit what they’ve known for some time: they have a big problem when it comes to early music. How to perform it, where to perform it, even who should perform it — these are all questions that, year after year, remain unsatisfactorily, inconsistently or superficially answered, and there’s little in this year’s programming to suggest that 2017 will be any different.
If the problem is that the repertoire and ensembles do not translate well to the large halls, what is the solution?
Some of the most exciting performances of baroque and early classical repertoire we’ve heard this season (Rattle’s Haydn with the LSO; Rebel’s Les élémens — an opener for Joshua Weilerstein and the BBCSO) have been not from period specialists but symphony orchestras. Not because the quality of playing was any better, but because the repertoire was embraced into a musical continuum, was explicitly related to the rest of musical history rather than ghettoised, set apart. If this means we lose authenticity then I think it’s a price worth paying for music that has the spirit (if not quite the sound) that the composer intended.
Yep, the problem of translating subtle, smaller ensemble performances into the larger spaces of today has never really been acknowledged.

* * *

This is the kind of article I like to see, all about the librarian for the Philadelphia Orchestra, Librarian helps keep Philadelphia Orchestra running smoothly:
“We’re not taking 40-year-old parts and putting in new bowings,” Grossman said. “Rather, there are three new ways this is done: Yannick marks his score and we transfer everything to the parts; or he marks only the principals’ parts (concertmaster, second violin, viola, cello, bass); or, because we understand his approach, he lets the principals work together to produce a bow master. They now have regular meetings to look at all the music. Yannick likes the orchestra to be prepared. He’d rather spend time in rehearsals getting into interpretive issues.”
* * *

All the rights to the royalties as well as to the name and image of Glenn Gould have been sold to a US agency. I'll bet he's glad he is dead and doesn't have to hear about this. I think that was black Canadian humor...

* * *

Since I'm planning on attending next summer I am delighted to hear about a rejuvenated Salzburg Festival. Alex Ross waxes ecstatic:
In recent years, this most sumptuous of classical-music gatherings has reverted to its default identity as a parade of musical celebrities with no clear artistic destination in sight. Last year, though, the progressive-minded Austrian pianist and impresario Markus Hinterhäuser took over as Salzburg’s artistic director, and he is stirring memories of the festival’s most vital period—that of the nineteen-nineties, when Gerard Mortier presided over a superb array of provocations, including an avant-garde series that Hinterhäuser co-curated.
* * *


As has been said before, for the post-modernists, all relationships are power relationships so any respect for the aesthetic quality and traditions of Western music has to be understood as a naked claim to superiority and therefore crushed. Sorry, but classical music is neither racist nor the Black Plague. These kinds of arguments are nauseating...

* * *

For our envoi today this is the Symphony No. 51 in B flat major by Joseph Haydn, the one chosen for the Santa Monica benefit concert. The Academy of Ancient Music, conducted by Christopher Hogwood:


Thursday, August 17, 2017

Record Review: Salonen conducts Stravinsky

I never do reviews of current record releases here. Not sure why; it just doesn't seem to fit the blog somehow. I do have a series of Retro Record Reviews where I review some old recordings, which is what I usually buy. But I just finished listening to a newly-purchased box of CDs and was shocked to discover that it is a new release, April 2017:


The recordings themselves were made over the last 20 years or so, but the integral release is new and available from Amazon for $25. Great value. And a great recording. The Rite is brisk and precise and well-handled. I'm really not a reviewer--I suspect I don't listen much for the kind of thing specialist classical reviewers do. But I have heard a lot of different versions of the Rite and  I think I prefer this one.

But there is a whole lot more in the box. With the exception of the Symphony of Psalms and the Symphony in C and a few other pieces, this box contains nearly all the Stravinsky you will ever need. There are seven discs:
  1. Petrushka, Orpheus
  2. Firebird, Jeu de cartes
  3. Sacre du printemps, Symphony in 3 Movements
  4. Pulcinella, Renard, Ragtime, Octet
  5. Capriccio for Piano and Orchestra, Symphonies of Wind Instruments, Concerto for Piano and Wind Instruments, Movements for Piano and Orchestra, Concerto in D for Violin and Orchestra
  6. Apollon musagète, Concerto in D, Cantata
  7. Oedipus rex
Orchestras include the Philharmonia, the LA Philharmonic and the Swedish Radio Symphony.

I find Salonen's conducting style unusual but compelling. Here he is conducting the LA Philharmonic in the Sacrificial Dance from part 2 of the Rite:



Damn. You can take your heavy metal and, well, you know!

Stravinsky: Influences and Development, part 1

The next element taken up by Taruskin in his monumental book on Stravinsky that I am loosely following here, is the influence of his peers and how that gave him a window on the wider world outside the circle of Rimsky-Korsakov. The key figure was Mikhail Gnesin (1883 - 1957) a fellow-student and later music educator who taught both Khrennikov and Khachaturyan among his composition students.

Gnesin was well-connected with the artistic circles outside of music, particularly the Symbolist group that included the radical poets of the day. He set a lot of poetry of the group, including that of Alexander Blok, and they encouraged him to experiment in order to find a musical style that matched their aesthetic striving. This group was also connected to the organizers of the Evenings of Contemporary Music that presented concerts in St. Petersburg from 1901 to 1912. One of the leaders was Alfred Nurok (1863 - 1919), a musical dilettante and iconoclast. Another figure was Walter Nouvel (1871 - 1949), a "Sunday composer" and recognized arbiter of taste in contemporary music.

Despite the radical ambitions of these figures, the first several years of the Evenings were characterized by moderation. Western composers such as Franck, d'Indy, Reger, Debussy and Ravel were interspersed with works by local composers such as Rachmaninoff, Cherepnin, Glazunov, and a very small amount of Scriabin. Nonetheless, to the Rimsky-Korsakov circle, this was definitely the "other camp."

Gnesin managed to have a foot in each camp: he did not find the nasty criticisms of Rimsky-Korsakov by Nouvel justified (but with a grain of truth), but at the same time his music had admirers in the circle of Rimsky intimates. As one of Rimsky-Korsakov's most "advanced" students, Gnesin sometimes wrote specifically to appeal to his taste by carefully eliminating academic transgressions and adding bits of contrapuntal effects. Stravinsky did the same as we can see not only in the Scherzo fantastique but also his Etudes for piano, op. 7.

Stravinsky, along with the Rimsky students he was closest to, Maximilian Steinberg and Gnesin, was featured in a concert of the Evenings of Contemporary Music on December 27, 1907 in performances of settings of Symbolist poetry. This was the first time that Stravinsky's music was performed before a paying audience.

Steinberg, of Polish Jewish descent, was a very talented student and his gifts were praised to the skies by Rimsky-Korsakov and Glazunov. He married Rimsky's daughter Nadya and succeeded Glazunov as professor of orchestration at the conservatory. Indeed, he was considerably more highly regarded than Stravinsky, whom he displaced as heir apparent of the New Russian School. Some of Stravinsky's later resentment of both Rimsky-Korsakov and Glazunov may be a result of their favoring Steinberg's talents above his. Before The Firebird, this was rather a general critical opinion. Taruskin uncovers a revealing quote by the reviewer Karatïgin appearing in the journal Apollon in the fall of 1910:
However highly we may value the musical wit of Stravinsky's latest works--the Scherzo fantastique and especially the orchestral fantasia Fireworks, a piece dedicated to Steinberg and absolutely dazzling in its immense richness of harmonic and coloristic invention--still and all one cannot deny that from the point of view of sheer musical content and profundity of musical ideas, Stravinsky's work is much inferior to Steinberg's. [Taruskin, op. cit. p. 395]
The fact that his music was, compared to that of Steinberg's, regarded by quite a few of his contemporaries as being a bit lightweight might have been, according to Taruskin, a powerful motive for Stravinsky's modernist revolt.

For our envoi, let's listen to some music by Stravinsky's rival. This is the Symphony No. 2 dating from 1909 and the piece that was evaluated as being of greater quality than Stravinsky's. The performers are the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra conducted by Neeme Järvi:


That sounds rather Brahmsian to me.