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.

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1 comment:

  1. The hundredth anniversary of the first night of "The Rite of Spring" was only a few days ago, and if we had a culture as vulnerable to art as Paris was before the great war, there would be the same commotion still. That would be constructive, I think.