It is well known that the mature Stravinsky was candidly scathing about some of his early compositions. However, he did subscribe a measure of academic value to his very first symphony, if only to show how one should not compose. In the following decades he wrote his so-called neo-classical symphonies, but these too found no mercy in the eyes and ears of avant-garde extremists, and are thus among the most underestimated orchestral compositions of the 20th century. The new aspiration to write with clarity and simplicity, and so turning away from late-romantic and impressionistic expression, is already found in the key of C major, which has no accidentals. But the compositional technique is tricky: sharp polytonal melodies grow out of tonal islands, which, however never result in pleasant-sounding cadences even after numerous attempts to do so.The Symphony in Three Movements, too, breaks with tradition as regards it's formal structure, which Stravinsky himself regarded as -naiveÂ®. All the more intricate, however, is the ingenious melodiousness, which is unfolded with ballet-like rhythms by the whole orchestra.This fresh, bold music definitely needs to be performed by an astute and dauntless ensemble - such as West-Swiss Orchestre de la Suisse Romande conducted by Ernest Ansermet, an ardent champion of modern works..
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