Writings about Music
Spring and Spring
Speaking of delight and Appalachian Spring there is an exceptionally potent presentation of Aaron Copland's work given by the Detroit Symphony and Leonard Slatkin enhanced by the conductor's profound introductory remarks. The performance is so splendidly intimate and expressively focused my memory was that it had been a chamber orchestra!
I had been unaware that the title, brought about by Martha Graham rather than the composer, refers to water rather than a season. The experience of Slatkin's words and interpretation, including the story of the work's title, visited me around the time of naming a new composition, Rajasthani Spring, back in June 2015.
Stylistically speaking, a Russian composer, Igor Stravinsky, whose most famous work also involves spring, The Rite of Spring, has actually been a significant influence upon my music, together with Dimitri Shostakovich.
Sarah Fuller’s phenomenally insightful course on the music of Stravinsky taken during my undergraduate visiting semester at Stony Book during the spring of 1979, imparted to myself concepts of building music from rhythmic, melodic, and coloristic idea cells, using polyrhythms, and synergistically combining musical elements simple by themselves into something more...
One rite of spring practiced during that memorable semester - there was a transformative meeting with David Lewin, and study with Bulent Arel and Herbert Weisinger (Shakespeare), too - was a highly competitive Ping-Pong competition enacted in my dormitory, including my defeating the reigning champion who happened to be my roommate there. The two of us had another ongoing battle before and after the match consisting of me getting up in the middle of the night to open the window a bit, and he in turn getting up to close it back shut, a difference in preference we never actually discussed.
- Michael Robinson, June 2018, Los Angeles
© 2018 Michael Robinson All rights reserved
Michael Robinson is a Los Angeles-based composer and writer (musicologist).