Igor Stravinsky

Serenade in A major

About this work

Stravinsky's Serenade for Piano in A, was completed on September 9, 1925 in Vienna. The work consists of four movements: I. Hymne, II. Romanza, III. Rondoletto, IV. Candenza Finala. The Serenade was written in fulfillment of a recording contract stipulating the piece fill one side of an LP record. As Stravinsky has noted, the piece was conceived as an imitation of eighteenth-century festive evening music. The titles of the movements are meant to evoke specific parts of the evening: the Hymne that welcomes the guests, the Romanza a "solo of ceremonial homage paid by the artist to the guests," the dance music of the third movement, and the concluding music of the Cadenza Finala. Though titled Serenade in A, the work is not simply in the key of A major or minor; but rather, as Stravinsky scholar Eric W. White points out, A is the "tonic pole" or tonal center of the work, the pitch from which the music grows and towards which it gravitates. A has a number of different functions throughout the work, serving as the beginning and concluding note of each movement, and as both a tonic and dominant harmony. Texturally and timbrally, the work is a blend of Stravinsky's generally dry, percussive esthetic, with a more lush, lyrical sound. White notes the echoes of Debussy in the parallel chords of the final movement, and describes the work as "the most satisfactory" of Stravinsky's solo piano works.