Monday, June 17, 2013
June 17 - Igor Stravinsky
Russian composer Igor Stravinsky was born on June 17, 1882, in a suburb of St. Petersburg. He decided to be a composer at age 20 and studied privately with composer Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov. In 1909, two of his orchestral works, including “Fireworks,” were performed at a concert attended by ballet impresario Sergei Diaghilev, who was planning to present Russian opera and ballet in Paris. He hired Stravinsky for orchestrations and commissioned him to compose a ballet score, “The Firebird” (1910). Its great success was followed by two more ballet scores, “Petrushka” (1911) and the dissonant, violent “The Rite of Spring” (1913), which caused a riot in the theater in which it premiered in Paris. Subtitled "Pictures of Pagan Russia," the ballet draws on pre-historic tribal rituals involving the arrival of spring, ending in human sacrifice. All aspects of the production flouted prevailing conventions of ballet, including an off-balance rhythmic structure and Vaslav Nijinsky’s choreography that included spastic contortions. Pictured: Picasso sketch, 1920.