Igor Stravinsky, a towering composer of the twentieth century, was closely linked to dance. His early commissions for Diaghilev's Ballets Russes—The Firebird, Petrouchka, and The Rite of Spring—put him on the international map and propelled both ballet and music into the modern age. Even so, these brilliant pieces were but a prelude to Stravinsky's lifelong exploration of dance and dance idioms, as Charles M. Joseph convincingly demonstrates in this penetrating survey of all of the composer's ballet music.
Joseph provides superb analyses of each of Stravinsky's ballet pieces, examining the composer's own drafts, notes, and sketches to discover how he conceived of and developed each work. The book also explores how Stravinsky's unorthodox new music energized colleagues, among them George Balanchine, and attracted a glittering array of artists including Tamara Karsavina, Vaslav Nijinski, Picasso, and Jean Cocteau. Joseph creates an intense, intimate portrait of Stravinsky and offers a fresh perspective on the musical revolutionary who changed the definition of music made for dance.