It is considered one of the first examples of Modernism in music and is noted for its brutality, its barbaric rhythms, and its dissonance. Its opening performance provided one of the most scandalous premieres in history, with pro and con members of the audience arguing so volubly that the dancers were unable to take their cues from the orchestra. The Rite of Spring still strikes many contemporary listeners as a startlingly modern work. The production was choreographed by Vaslav Nijinsky , and its sets and costumes were designed by Roerich.
The jarring rhythms and the use of traditional instruments in non-traditional ways paved the way for the experiments of later composers. While you can get all the information you need for our course from the article, I encourage you to watch the program either now or in the future. The work was, after all, originally written to be performed in combination with the dance. The music is telling, and the dancers are depicting a story.
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It was written for the Paris season of Sergei Diaghilev 's Ballets Russes company; the original choreography was by Vaslav Nijinsky with stage designs and costumes by Nicholas Roerich. 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 , over a decade later. Stravinsky was a young, virtually unknown composer when Diaghilev recruited him to create works for the Ballets Russes. The Rite was the third such project, after the acclaimed Firebird and Petrushka 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.