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The Rite of Spring

Le Sacre du printemps
The Rite of Spring
Roerich Rite of Spring.jpg
Concept design for act 1, part of Nicholas Roerich's designs for Diaghilev's 1913 production of Le Sacre du printemps
Native titleRussian: Весна священная, romanized: Vesna svyashchennaya, lit.'Sacred Spring'
ChoreographerVaslav Nijinsky
MusicIgor Stravinsky
Based onPagan myths
Premiere29 May 1913 (1913-05-29)
Théâtre des Champs-Élysées
Paris
Original ballet companyBallets Russes
DesignNicholas Roerich

The Rite of Spring[n 1] (French: Le Sacre du printemps) 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. Many have called the first-night reaction a "riot" or "near-riot", though this wording did not come about until reviews of later performances in 1924, over a decade later.[1] Although designed as a work for the stage, with specific passages accompanying characters and action, the music achieved equal if not greater recognition as a concert piece and is widely considered to be one of the most influential musical works of the 20th century.

Stravinsky was a young, virtually unknown composer when Diaghilev recruited him to create works for the Ballets Russes. Le Sacre du printemps was the third such major project, after the acclaimed Firebird (1910) and Petrushka (1911).[n 2] The concept behind The Rite of Spring, developed by Roerich from Stravinsky's outline idea, is suggested by its subtitle, "Pictures of Pagan Russia in Two Parts"; 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. After a mixed critical reception for its original run and a short London tour, the ballet was not performed again until the 1920s, when a version choreographed by Léonide Massine replaced Nijinsky's original, which saw only eight performances.[2] Massine's was the forerunner of many innovative productions directed by the world's leading choreographers, gaining the work worldwide acceptance. In the 1980s, Nijinsky's original choreography, long believed lost, was reconstructed by the Joffrey Ballet in Los Angeles.

Stravinsky's score contains many novel features for its time, including experiments in tonality, metre, rhythm, stress and dissonance. Analysts have noted in the score a significant grounding in Russian folk music, a relationship Stravinsky tended to deny. Regarded as among the first modernist works, the music influenced many of the 20th-century's leading composers and is one of the most recorded works in the classical repertoire.
Cite error: There are <ref group=n> tags on this page, but the references will not show without a {{reflist|group=n}} template (see the help page).

  1. ^ Levitz, pp. 146–178
  2. ^ Everdell, pp. 323, 331–333

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