Begun in Biarritz at the end of 1922 and completed in Paris on May 20, 1923, the “Wind Octet” is a work from the neoclassical period in which Stravinsky uses sonata form and, for the first time, the variation.
After the “Concertino”, Stravinsky temporarily abandoned the strings, composing at the same time the “Wind Symphonies” and “Mavra” in which the orchestra uses a minimum of string instruments.
In the Octet, as in these other works, the use of winds serves the construction of the work: “The first movement was written first, then the waltz of the second movement from which the theme derived, which seemed to me a good pretext for variations.
The last of the variations, the fugato, is the culmination of everything I tried to do in this movement and is certainly the most interesting episode of the Octet. Indeed, the theme is played in turn by the instruments two by two (flute, clarinet, bassoons, trumpets, trombones) according to the main idea which is at the origin of the work… The third movement is derived from the fugato and was intended to be, by contrast, the climax of the whole piece. No doubt I had in mind Jean-SCreux’s two-part Inventions, which refers to the lower part of a wave, or to sound waves. This is music that has trouble finding its energy, climbing to a climax. Instead of tracing a crescendi curve, there are modal and rhythmic motifs that go round and round, superimposed on more or less dense textures.
The evolution of the piece revolves around a series of intertwined duets in the same microtonal mode, underscored by harmonies inspired by the resonance of the blades of the mbira* and Fender Rhodes**, to create an atmosphere without directionality, without overall drama… ”
*Sub-Saharan African musical instrument, idiophone and lamellophone, composed of a wooden support on which are fixed metal strips of various shapes and sizes.
**A piano of 73 or 88 keys, manufactured from 1969 to 1975, composed of wooden hammers whose striking end is covered with felt.
Christopher Trapanich, as was the case for the last movement of my Piano Sonata… “(Igor Stravinsky).
I ] Sinfonia: Lento, Allegro moderato
II] Tema con variazioni
III] Finale: tempo giusto