SUMMARY OF THE COMPOSITION
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.
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.
WHO IS ... IGOR STRAVINSKY?
Suprising fun facts
- 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.