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Proof through the NightMusic and the Great War$
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Glenn Watkins

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780520231580

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520231580.001.0001

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War Games, 1914–1915

War Games, 1914–1915

(p.122) 7 War Games, 1914–1915
Proof through the Night

Glenn Watkins

University of California Press

Romain Rolland believed that music could signal profound social changes prior to their appearance, and similarly, when the Great War erupted the composer Alexander Skriabin welcomed it as a manifestation of his own apocalyptic views. Others contended that the explosive language of Igor Stravinsky's Le sacre due printemps, originally titled “The Great Sacrifice” and given its premiere little more than a year before the outbreak of World War I, had also virtually prophesied the price of nationhood in the conflict to come. Stravinsky's denial of any and all programmatic associations began immediately following Le sacre du printemps with his Three Pieces for String Quartet. Following this work's premiere in New York in November 1915, the future Pulitzer Prize winner Amy Lowell wrote a set of poems in which she claimed to have attempted to “reproduce the sound and movement of the music as far as is possible in another medium.” The opening “March” of Stravinsky's Trois pièces faciles for piano duet, written in December 1914, offers a specific opportunity to test the appeal of miniature musical war games.

Keywords:   Great War, war games, music, Igor Stravinsky, poems, Amy Lowell

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