Saturday, December 14, 2013

Rite of Spring in Winter

I recently started listening to Stravinsky's Rite of Spring and found myself incredibly moved by the Pina Bausch-choreographed version of the ballet.

When Stravinsky's piece was first performed in 1913 with Vaslav Nijinsky's choreography, half of the audience hated it so much that they laughed and jeered and threw rotten vegetables at the dancers and musicians. Forty people had to be removed by police from the concert hall. The piece doesn't sound so strange to modern ears, but I imagine at the time it must have been like dissonant noise to people used to music with a discernible melody.

The piece tells the story of young men and women participating in an ancient pagan ritual, which descends into a bacchanalian frenzy and ultimately ends with one woman being chosen as the sacrifice to Spring. The last seven minutes of the half-hour long piece is called "Sacrificial Dance" and it just shreds me apart!

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