Rehearsing with Stravinsky

I know what it’s like to rehearse Stravinsky’s music, because I’ve played in some of it—most notably The Rite of Spring a year or two ago. It was hard work and involved learning a lot of tricky rhythms.

What would it be like to rehearse with Stravinsky, though? Here are some videos which perhaps give some idea. In all of them, Stravinsky comes across as someone who absolutely loved music and the process of making it.

First, an extract from a 1967 TV programme in which we see Stravinsky rehearsing the Troronto Symphony Orchestra in the Scherzino from his ballet Pulcinella (without a baton, I notice):

A 1955 film from Columbia Records, showing part of a rehearsal and recording session for The Soldier’s Tale:

(By the way, if anyone knows of a version of this video in which “Enter your text here” doesn’t pop up several times, please let me know.)

The final clip doesn’t actually have any video, only sound and some still pictures, but for me it gives the clearest idea of what it would be like to actually experience one of his rehearsals as one of the players. It’s a 1962 rehearsal of his Symphony in C with the CBC Symphony Orchestra in Toronto (also including a rather entertaining exchange between Stravinsky and the recording engineer):

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