In the passage by Igor Stravinsky, he uses not only comparison and contrast, but also language to convey his point of view about the conductors of the time and their extreme egotism. Stravinsky believes that conductors exploit the music for their own personal gain, so rather, he looks on them in a negative light.
To show his aggravation and irritation, Stravinsky uses the rhetorical device of comparison and contrast to convey his opinion of conductors. He compares the “great” conductors to “great” actors in that “ are unable to play anything but themselves”. Moreover, being unable to adapt, they have to adapt the work to themselves, not themselves to the work, which is obviously offending to a notable composer such as Stravinsky. In addition, he attributes the egocentric view of the conductors to the attention of the public who make more of the conductor”s gestures and appearance than the music quality.
The public is then compared to the reviewers and critics, who also “habitually fall into the trap of describing a conductor”s appearance rather than the way he makes the music sound.” Furthermore, Stravinsky goes on to say, for a public that is incapable of listening, the conductor will tell them what to feel through his gestures. He notes that these people, the conductors, have a high incidence of “ego disease” which “grows like a the sun of a tropical weed under pandering public” illustrating that the conductors perform for and are inspired by the public not the music.
Because of the conductor”s motives, composers, such as Stravinsky, are justified in having a negative response toward “great” conductors; fore the composer has toiled over the music which was made to stand alone for inspiration, not with the accompaniment of the composer”s “corybantics”. This contrasts the motives of the composer and the conductor, which should be to keep the integrity of the piece of music, but as mentioned above, Stravinsky believes that the conductor”s are usually for personal gain.
The negative point of view that Stravinsky has for the conductors is also revealed through the use of language, literal and figurative language. Stravinsky uses both literal and figurative language because they have the power to portray reality. In this piece, the word “great” is used sarcastically to show the contrast between what the conductors think of themselves and what he thinks of them. They both are reality, but reality to two different people, so using “great” in a sarcastic manner allows for both Stravinsky”s and the conductors” interpretations of reality. In this case, the denotation and the connotation are different, making them important.
Here the denotation of the word “great” is wonderful, majestic, and important, while the connotation is the exact opposite, ignoble, insignificant, and inferior. Literal language tells the apparent truth, while figurative language tells the apparent truth it also tells the indirect truth, making language important in this piece.
In conclusion, Stravinsky airs his annoyance and irritation of conductors in this piece by using the rhetorical device