Friday, June 13, 2008

Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring"

This was of course the headline act at the National Concert Hall. My beloved mentioned that having two other pieces of normal music by other people on beforehand was good for pointing out just how out there the Rite of Spring is. One of the other pieces had a great eccentric pianist from central casting doing his stuff.

Everyone was very excited by the Rite of Spring. The conductor seemed pleased that no one had punched anyone out during the performance. It could almost have happened – there were some people sitting near me who gave the impression they might have been planning some chit chat during the performance.

During Stravinsky's life, I think it was The Firebird that people went on about more, to such an extent that he came to really resent being known as Igor "Firebird" Stravinsky. Now, though, I reckon it is The Rite of Spring that people go on about. It's easy enough to see why - there has never been a riot at a performance of The Firebird, though this can be rectified.

Pagan Panda


Ammonite said...

There was a major TV program on the Rite of Spring a few years back on BBC 2 (bio of Stravinsky, followed by detailed 'making of' Rite of Spring, followed by performance). I would love to see it live.

Richard Strauss advised Stravinsky "You make a mistake in beginning a piece pianissimo; the public will not listen. You should astonish them with a sudden crash at the start. After that they will follow you and you can do what you like."

It's always amused me because it seems to be the musical equivalent of Raymond Chadler's 'have a man come through the door with a gun' school of thought.

ian said...

apparently Stravinsky thought Nijinsky's choreograph for the ballet was a bit rubbish. "No wonder people are rioting", he might have said.