Igor Stravinsky by Way of Alfredo Casella and Gian Francesco Malipiero


  • Federica Di Gasbarro


Igor Stravinsky, Alfredo Casella, Gian Francesco Malipiero, Stravinsky reception in Italy


The history of the reception of Stravinsky's music in Italy in the first half of the last century owes much to a few protagonists of Italian musical life who set about promoting what would become the most performed foreign music there in the course of the Twentieth century. Alfredo Casella, along with his Corporazione delle Nuove Musiche, was the first to include Stravinsky in concert programmes and to write about his art in articles and reviews. His volume Igor Strawinski published in 1926 was not only the first monograph on the Russian composer but also the starting point of an exegetical trajectory that attempted to explain the logic of Stravinsky's stylistic evolution up to the Piano Sonata to an audience who had been exposed to this music far later than their European counterparts. Casella's last writing, his monograph Strawinski published posthumously in 1947, leads this interpretive path to its most linear conclusion.The same enthusiasm that fired Gian Francesco Malipiero's reading in the early 1920s gradually dwindled away in the 1930s until he became increasingly critical of the Russian's neoclassical turn, as well as of his attitude towards the public and the music market. Along such a divergent trajectory, his Strawinsky of 1945 thus emblematizes the third pole of a privileged interpretive triangle built on the three monographs, which constitute the most representative mirror of the reception of this art in Italy during the two post-war periods.The analysis of the material conserved in the two composers' archives provides an insight into the genesis of the three works in question. Moreover, the presence of some variants as compared with the final texts leads to further reflection as to whether the public nature of such writings - and their possible repercussion on the authors' public image - may have caused both authors to moderate their tone and, at the same time, to consolidate their many-sided readings in firmer but opposing critical-polemic positions.