Day 306 - The Biggest Musical Scandal of the 20th Century

Igor Stravinsky is now a mainstream composer and The Rite of Spring is a staple of the classical symphonic repertoire. In 1913 not so much. In Paris Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes created a new ballet with choreographer by Nijinsky - the greatest dancer of his age. It was premiered at the Theatre Champs Elysees on 29 May 1913 with music by the then 33 year old enfant terrible of Russian Composition Igor Stravinsky. The conductor was Pierre Monteux. The result was a riot with people appalled both by the unconventional choreography but the brutal uncompromising rhythmic anarchy of the music. The audience shouted its derision. The choreography is long forgotten, but Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring is now regarded as one of the most significant works in the classical canon and performances are the touchstone of major orchestras and conductors.

Stravinsky Conducts the Rite of the Spring Introduced by Leonard Bernstein click here

Pierre Boulez conducts The Rite of Spring click here

Bernstein Harvard Lecture including Rite of Spring - one of the great intellectual tours de force click here

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