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Work

Igor Stravinsky

Igor Stravinsky Composer

Faun and Shepherdess (song cycle), for voice and orchestra, Op.2   

Performances: 1
Tracks: 3
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Musicology:
  • Faun and Shepherdess (song cycle), for voice and orchestra, Op.2
    Year: 1907
    Genre: Solo Song / Lied / Chanson
    Pr. Instrument: Voice
    • The Shepherdess
    • The Faun
    • The River
Stravinsky's Faune et Bergere (Faun and Shepherdess), Op. 2, although finished before the Symphony in E flat major which is his official Opus 1, was begun in 1906, months after Stravinsky had started work on the symphony. A suite of three songs, the work is dedicated to his wife, and was composed shortly after their marriage. The texts from Pushkin are lightly erotic, and Stravinsky's musical setting is the only one in his entire oeuvre which could be described as sensual or possibly even sexual. The work was privately premiered by the St. Petersburg Court Orchestra conducted by H. Wahrlich on April 27, 1907, and publicly premiered in February 1908.

Scored for mezzo-soprano and large orchestra (three winds, and pairs of oboes, clarinets and bassoons, four horns, two trumpets, three trombones plus tuba, percussion, timpani, and strings), Stravinsky himself described the work as sounding like "Wagner in places, like Tchaikovsky's Romeo et Juliet in other places (but never like Rimsky-Korsakov, which must have troubled that master), and like Stravinsky not at all" (in Conversations with Stravinsky). This description is somewhat disingenuous, for Faun and Shepherdess, in its luminous scoring and its whole-tone harmonies, sounds far more like Rimsky than either Wagner or Tchaikovsky.

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