Stravinsky - The Rite of Spring

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Stravinsky’s The Rite Of Spring was famously greeted with a riot when it premiered at Paris’s Théâtre des Champs-Elysées in 1913. A Ballets Russes ballet as controversial for its subject matter (a sacrificial pagan ritual in which a virgin dances herself to death, described by one critic as “puerile barbarity”) and Nijinsky’s forceful choreography as it was for Stravinsky’s "savage" music, it seems The Rite’s premiere was destined for chaos.

When interviewed about performing in the premiere, dancer Lydia Sokolova said the audience indeed “had got themselves all ready. They didn't even let the music be played for the overture and as soon as it was known that the conductor was there, the uproar began.”

You might recognise this piece as used for lots of film and tv scores. Have a listen for yourself.  it might not seem controversial today but in 1913...

Laura CampbellComment