One hundred years ago this week, a ballet premiered that changed the art world. Igor Stravinsky‘s Le Sacre du Printemps — The Rite of Spring — was first seen by the public on May 29, 1913, in Paris. My first introduction to the Rite of Spring by Stravinsky was during my sophomore year in college. I remember hearing the music for the first time. The opening is eerie and haunting. I think we had to memorize that bassoon melody. Pretty sure we did, actually. (I am a music teacher and pianist). As the piece continues, the music morphs and keeps morphing and morphing. The orchestra becomes a percussion instrument. I could imagine the dancers throwing themselves around the stage to this energetic and extremely harmonically and rhythmically complex music. But the best part was this: I was amazed to hear that this ballet caused the audience to riot at the premiere in Paris!! What the heck?
NPR posted several articles in honor of this historic event: “The Rite felt completely different. And that has remained a very powerful influence,” Ross says. “Even the youngest composers coming to the fore today listen to The Rite and think, ‘my God.’ It still sounds new to them.” (quote from the article link below written by Tom Vitale)
Through this visualization, you can start to follow and understand the composer’s dazzlingly dense interplays of melody, instrumentation and the relationships between the instruments. by ANASTASIA TSIOULCAS http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=02tkp6eeh40 And here you can watch the legendary Leonard Bernstein direct the final few minutes of this amazing piece.
- The Rite of Spring – a rude awakening (guardian.co.uk)
- Celebrating the Rite that caused a riot (thehindu.com)