STRAVINSKY Rite of Spring



Igor Stravinsky (Jun 1882 - Apr 1971)

Composed In



35 minutes


1 piccolo, 3 flutes, 1 alto flute, 4 oboes, 1 English horn, 3 clarinets, 1 clarinet in E♭ and D, 1 bass clarinet, 4 bassoons, 1 contrabassoon, 8 horns, 1 trumpet in D, 4 trumpets in C, 3 trombones, 2 bass tubas, timpani, percussions, strings.


When Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring first assaulted the senses, it was considered virtually impossible to perform. It was even a major challenge to virtuoso orchestras back then. Stravinsky had denied what the analysts noted about the score, that it contains a significant grounding in Russian folk music.


About the Composition

Part I: L’Adoration De La Terre (Adoration Of The Earth)

  • Introduction (Introduction) – The orchestra introduces the beginning before the curtain rises, in what Stravinsky noted as resembling “a swarm of spring pipes”.
  • Les Augures printaniers (Augurs of Spring) – The celebration of spring begins in the hills. An old woman enters and foretells the future.
  • Jeu du rapt (Ritual of Abduction) – Young girls arrive from the river in single file. They begin the “Dance of the Abduction”.
  • Rondes printanières (Spring Rounds) – The young girls continue with the Khorovod dance “Spring Rounds”.
  • Jeux des cités rivals (Ritual of the Rival Tribes) – The people divide into two groups in opposition to each other, and begin the “Ritual of the Rival Tribes”.
  • Cortège du sage: Le Sage (Procession of the Sage: The Sage) – A holy procession leads to the entry of the wise elders, headed by the Sage who brings the games to a pause and blesses the earth.
  • Danse de la terre (Dance of the Earth) – The people break into a passionate dance, sanctifying and becoming one with the Earth.

Part II: Le Sacrifice (The Sacrifice)

  • Introduction (Introduction) – In a mysterious, expectant pre-dawn, the Earth breathes in slumber. Wisps of melody begin to coalesce as shadowy figures assemble.
  • Cercles mystérieux des adolescents (Mystic Circles of the Young Girls) – The young girls engage in mysterious games, walking in circles.
  • Glorification de l’élue (Glorification of the Chosen One) – One of the young girls is selected by fate, being twice caught in the perpetual circle, and is honoured as the “Chosen One” with a martial dance.
  • Evocation des ancêtres (Evocation of the Ancestors) – In a brief dance, the young girls invoke the ancestors.
  • Action rituelle des ancêtres (Ritual Action of the Ancestors) – The Chosen One is entrusted to the care of the wise, old men.
  • Danse sacrale (L’Élue) (Sacrificial Dance) – In the great “Sacrificial Dance”, the Chosen One dances to death in the presence of the old men.

Fun Facts about the Composer

  • Stravinsky has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
  • Towards the end of his life, he became especially fond of the Scrabble game.
  • Delivered several lectures at Harvard University
  • Stravinsky’s father was a singer with the Imperial Orchestra, and his mother was a skilled pianist.
  • The premiere of Rite of Spring was met with a protest from the audience. It was so loud that it drowned out the music.

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