The Rite of Spring
The Rite of Spring is a ballet and orchestral concert work by the Russian composer Igor Stravinsky. It was written for the 1913 Paris season of Sergei Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes company. The original choreography was by Vaslav Nijinsky with stage designs and costumes by Nicholas Roerich. The score contains many novel features for its time, including experiments in tonality, metre, rhythm, stress and dissonance.
About The Rite of Spring in brief
The Rite of Spring is a ballet and orchestral concert work by the Russian composer Igor Stravinsky. It was written for the 1913 Paris season of Sergei Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes company; the original choreography was by Vaslav Nijinsky with stage designs and costumes by Nicholas Roerich. When first performed at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées on 29 May 1913, the avant-garde nature of the music and choreography caused a sensation. After a mixed critical reception for its original run and a short London tour, the ballet was not performed again until the 1920s. The score contains many novel features for its time, including experiments in tonality, metre, rhythm, stress and dissonance. The music influenced many of the 20th-century’s leading composers and is one of the most recorded works in the classical repertoire. In the 1980s, Nijinksky’s original choreographer, long believed lost, was reconstructed by the Joffrey Ballet in Los Angeles. The ballet was first performed in Paris in May 1913; it was the third ballet to be commissioned by the Ballet Russes, after the acclaimed Firebird and Petrushka. The scenario depicts various primitive rituals celebrating the advent of spring, after which a young girl is chosen as a sacrificial victim and dances herself to death.
It has been described as a work for the stage, with specific passages accompanying characters and action, but the music achieved equal if not greater recognition as a concert piece and is widely considered to be one of most influential musical works of 20th century. Stravinksky was a young, virtually unknown composer when he was recruited to create works for the BalletsRusses. He worked under the guidance of Rimsky-Korsakov, having impressed him with some of his early compositional efforts. By the time of his mentor’s death in 1908 he had produced several works, among them a Piano Sonata in F♯ minor, a Symphony in E♭ major, and Feu d’artifice, which he catalogued as ‘Opus 1’ and ‘Feu d’artifice’ In 1909 he was commissioned to write the music for Les Sylphides, a much bigger commission for a new ballet, The Firebird, for which he worked on the opening ‘Nocturne’, and the closing ‘Valse de Brillante’. He was also asked to help in orchestrating music for Chopin’s ‘Sylphides’ (‘The Firebird’) and for the piece he wrote for the film ‘Les Sylphes’ which was directed by Jean-Claude Van Damme. He also wrote the score for ‘The Godfather,’ the film of which he was a co-producer, and a number of other works.