Brought up in Tsarist St Petersburg, Stravinsky effectively left Russia in 1910 and became a permanent exile after the Bolshevik revolution of October 1917. But his music never lost its Russian accent. Stephen Walsh talks about the Russian sources of Stravinsky’s early music and how they formed a method and way of thinking (a ‘слог’, as he called it) that lasted his whole life.
Stephen Walsh studied at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge and from 1963 he worked as a music journalist in London, writing for The Times, Daily Telegraph, and Financial Times, then as deputy music critic of The Observer. He has broadcast regularly on musical topics for the BBC; a major feature of BBC Radio 3 programming in 1995 was his six two-hour broadcasts ‘Conversations with Craft’, in which he talked to Stravinsky’s close associate, Robert Craft. Professor Walsh joined Cardiff University as a Senior Lecturer in Music in 1976, and now holds a personal chair in the School. He still contributes music criticism to the quality dailies and has published a series of books and long papers on Bartok, Stravinsky, Kurtág and Panufnik, among others. The first volume of his major biography of Stravinsky — Stravinsky: A Creative Spring (Knopf, 1999) — won the Royal Philharmonic Society Prize for the best music book published in the UK in the year 2000. Volume Two — Stravinsky: The Second Exile (also Knopf) — was published in 2006.
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