Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume. 33, Number 9. 25 June, 1970
Stravinsky is 88. From Firebird to In Memoriam J.F.K. probably the most "assessed' composer in history. (Bach and Beethoven are no longer assessed, merely enshrined). A victorious 88 at that, resident in New York (Beverly Hills that is—can't have been all that accommodating—which may tell us something about the aforementioned In Memoriam J.F.K.) outrageously sniping for Harper's magazine at The Performing Arts ('. . . Beckett's prize . . . should at least make people look at ashcans with a thought for who might be in them...')
Unendingly vitriolic (on Britten's Requiem—nothing fails like success') he might have had a field day at the V.U.W. Music Society's celebration concert. Stravinsky's view of the Mass is grand, Byrantine, but above all dramatic and ceremonial: with apologies to Fred Delius of television fame, one might say there was too much Jesus in thin performance. (Moral? Yes. Fred said it of English music too.) Gavin Saunders' reading of the viola—Elegy beautifully centigraded but a degree or two below at times. Ex-spurts from The Rake's Progress too—unfailingly tatty music—brilliantly tossed off by George Metcalf and Emily Mair abetted by Bruce Greenfield at the swaying piano.
One penetrating thought however: perhaps the most truly 'twentieth-century' composer in that (like Picasso) he has had a go at just about everything—a global villageois perhaps. Play on, maestro.