Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Rite of Spring & Stravinsky

Last year on June 17th Google's changing display honored Stravinsky on his birthday. This made me do some reading and listening.

One of Stravinsky's best known compositions is the Rite of Spring. I freely admit that my personal introduction to The Rite of Spring was Walt Disney's Fantasia. The music is moving. Apparently so moving that it caused a riot when it first premiered. Perhaps it was more than the music. There is a ballet that goes along with the music. Although while I've heard the music performed I've never seen the ballet. Just looking at the Wikipedia article which lists the scenes I'm sure that the scene names alone, like "The Ritual Abduction" and the "Sacrificial Dance" could have caused some consternation. When I listen to the opening strains, without the burden of the ballet I can feel the world awakening. But the juxtaposition of the softer strains of the awakening against the more insistent rhythms can be jarring. But then again perhaps we don't have the saying about the spring equinox month of March, "In like a Lion, out like a Lamb" for nothing.

Our family video shelves also hold Fantasia 2000 which features Stravinsky's Firebird. This video does have aspects of Spring's awakening. And is beautifully done.

No comments: