A DEFINITIVE and up-to-date critique on Igor Stravinsky in English certainly needs no justification. Apart from the composer's own Poétique Musicale ( 1947), and the Chroniques de ma Vie ( 1935), there have been remarkably few works of any real consequence since André Schaeffner's Stravinsky ( 1931). Schaeffner's work has as yet to be translated. The scarcity of such studies is very surprising, considering the impact of Stravinsky's work and personality on contemporary music.
No amount of analysis can reduce the content and the meaning of a work of art to words. But Mr. Tansman is highly successful in helping the reader to come closer to Stravinsky's music itself. He presents it in the light of the composer's own intentions and as he sees it. He writes with conviction and awareness of the fact that he is differing with a number of critics and musicologists.
But it is not only as a study of a very significant composer that this book is important. Stravinsky has been in close contact, through the ballet, with the entire contemporary movement in art; Mr. Tansman's analysis of Stra