Dissertation Index

Author: Wiens, Carl K.

Title: Igor Stravinsky and Agon

Institution: University of Michigan

Begun: January 1995

Completed: January 1997


Igor Stravinsky's last ballet, Agon (1953-57), is an enigmatic entanglement of tonal, serial, and twelve-tone compositional procedures in conjunction with French court dances, classical ballet, and musical textures reminiscent of Anton Webern. In sorting out this puzzle, I have undertaken an interdisciplinary approach, one involving art history, traditional music analytical techniques, and linguistic theory. In the first chapter, "Artistic Interminglings: Picasso, Cubism, and Stravinsky's Compositional Approach," I draw the parallel between Pablo Picasso's artistic approach during his Cubist period and Stravinsky's compositional approach, delineating three common elements between the two artists: context/modelling, cut-and-paste, and substitution. In the second chapter, "A Day in the Memory: The Fifth, the Torchbearer, and the Magician," I take a whimsical look at Stravinsky, the twelve-tone composer. With the third chapter, I offer two different looks at Agon. The first encompasses a more traditional m usic analytical investigation of the ballet, demonstrating how the various parts work together, creating this cohesive work. The second entails my borrowing of Mikhail Bakhtin's notion of dialogue as the fundamental element of communication between human beings. By considering musical compositions as medium of communication, I am able to explore Agon as a social act, thus, examining the relationship between Stravinsky, Agon, and other composers' works and the effect that they had on Stravinsky's compositional choices.

Keywords: Stravinsky, Agon, Music Theory, Interdisciplinary Studies, Bakhtin, Webern, Cubism, Picasso


Artistic Interminglings:
Picasso, Cubism, and Stravinsky'S
Compositional Approach

A Day in the Memory:
The Fifth, The Torchbearer, and the Magician

The Post-game Show: An Analysis of Agon (A Drama in Three Acts)


Act I. "Agon, In General Terms"

Act II. "An Analysis of Agon"
Scene i. "Stravinsky's Tonal Souvenirs"
Scene ii. "An Analysis of Agon's First Section"
Scene iii. "Agon's Third Section"
Scene iv. "The Ritornello Theme"
Scene v. "The First Pas-de-Trois"
Scene vi. "The Second Pas-de-Trois"
Scene vii. "The Pas-de-Deux"

Act III. "Agon as a Social Act"
Scene i. "The Pas-de-Deux: More Than Meets
the Eye"
Scene ii. "Dialogue, Bakhtin, and the Musical
Scene iii. "The Application to Music"
Scene iv. "Agon via the Bakhtin Model"
Scene v. "The Pas-de-Deux By Way of



Carl Wiens
#3 19991-53A Avenue
Langley, BC
Canada V3A 8H6
wiens5@sprint.ca, or npearson@sfu.ca
phone: (604) 532-9573

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