Igor Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring Centennial: Links

On May 29, 2013, The Rite of Spring (Le Sacre du Printemps) by Igor Stravinsky turned 100. On that day, in Paris, in 1913, was the premiere of his ballet. I partied hard that day, sharing many links on my own Facebook page to celebrate. Here, I share them with you.

These are amazing to watch!
Animated graphical score on YouTube: Part One
Animated graphical score on YouTube: Part Two


Original manuscript of the opening of The Rite of Spring. The bassoon line is the 4th stave down from the top, composed very high in the range for this instrument.


From a Greek website I found (http://www.lifo.gr/team/sansimera/38641).
OMG, is this original footage of the premiere?? Couldn’t be, but it’s cool anyway! Here’s the clip on YouTube.

Here’s a wonderful website, including historical images of the set design and costumes of the original ballet, by Nikolai Roerich.
The Movie Fantasia: This is NOT the Rite!
I was enthralled by this scene from Disney’s Fantasia (1940) as a child (little did I know I’d grow up to be an I.S. geek). I will be showing it to my youmng piano students today to tell them about Stravinsky. But it is *not* from Stravinsky’s original score; as the story goes (via Professor John Heiss @ NEC), Stravinsky arrived at Disney’s studio, with his score in hand, and was told (paraphrased), “Oh, Mr. Stravinsky, we won’t be needing that.” (They had of course hacked his Rite all to pieces.) Reportedly, he never collaborated on another film again.
Clip from Fantasia here.
YouTube clip from the 1966 concert, London Symphony Orchestra, Leonard Bernstein conducting. Chills at 1:22 when the strings come back in.
Great story on NPR, with video clip of the documentary: Keeping Score: Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring
Cool interview (brief) with Igor himself.
Well, it’s been a great day of celebration for me, I had more fun today than I did on my own last birthday. I dressed for the occasion, had a great time researching, watching videos, posting. Highlight: teaching a student part of the Rite today, and thus turning her onto Igor—and it was her 72nd birthday! How cool is that?
See more clips on my Stravinsky playlist on YouTube: clevelandpianostudio

May 29, 2013: What a day of celebration.

It was a day of celebration for me, since Stravinsky is my favorite composer. I first heard “his” music as a young child, in Disney’s animated Fantasia (“his” = a very corrupted version of The Rite; Stravinsky supposedly stormed out or some such when told his score wouldn’t be needed, they had their own, thank you very much).

I then heard The Rite, really heard it, for the first time, while at Bard College, through my mentor, Joan Tower, who was and is very powerfully influenced by Stravinsky (check out her early composition, Petroushskates).

But when I really fell in love, not just with The Rite of Spring, but will all of Stravinsky’s music—and he went through many different periods, phew! Check out his neoclassic symphonies, they could not be further from The Rite—was when I took John Heiss’s Stravinsky, Schönberg, and Ives course as a grad student at New England Conservatory. I owe Professor Heiss a huge debt of gratitude for this gift, for a lifelong love of all of Stravinsky’s work. (You can see a series of five mini videos of stories of Stravinsky and the Rite, given by John Heiss, on YouTube. Here’s Part One.)

Today I posted more links and shares on Facebook in one day than I have since joining in ’08, ’09? I am certain I drove a few friends nuts. But I do feel a need to educate my friends, and the public, on this most fascinating composition and composer, on this most auspicious day, the 100th anniversary of The Rite of Spring.

But  I’m pretty tired out from it all, all the excitement of the day, so I won’t be listing here in this blog post all of the links I posted on my Facebook account today right now. I’ll do it tomorrow, though, on the day after the celebration. Plus, I’ve got a few more videos to watch before the stroke of midnight. 🙂

I was guided by no system whatsoever in Le Sacre du Printemps. Very little immediate tradition lies behind Le Sacre du Printemps, and no theory. I had only my ear to help me. I heard and I wrote what I heard. I am the vessel through which the Sacre passed.
—Igor Stravinsky