Le Sacre du printemps (The Rite of Spring)

Program note

The Rite of Spring (Russian: Весна священная, romanized: Vesna svyashchennaya, lit. 'sacred spring'; French: Le Sacre du printemps) is a ballet and orchestral concert work by the Russian composer Igor Stravinsky. It was written for the 1913 Paris season of Sergei Diaghilev's Ballets Russes company; the original choreography was by Vaslav Nijinsky with stage designs and costumes by Nicholas Roerich. When first performed at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées on 29 May 1913, the avant-garde nature of the music and choreography caused a sensation. 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 1924, over a decade later. Although designed as a work for the stage, with specific passages accompanying characters and action, the music achieved equal if not greater recognition as a concert piece and is widely considered to be one of the most influential musical works of the 20th century.

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 (1910) and Petrushka (1911). 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. After a mixed critical reception for its original run and a short London tour, the ballet was not performed again until the 1920s, when a version choreographed by Léonide Massine replaced Nijinsky's original, which saw only eight performances. Massine's was the forerunner of many innovative productions directed by the world's leading ballet-masters, gaining the work worldwide acceptance. In the 1980s, Nijinsky's original choreography, long believed lost, was reconstructed by the Joffrey Ballet in Los Angeles.

Stravinsky's score contains many novel features for its time, including experiments in tonality, metre, rhythm, stress and dissonance. Analysts have noted in the score a significant grounding in Russian folk music, a relationship Stravinsky tended to deny. The music influenced many of the 20th-century's leading composers and is one of the most recorded works in the classical repertoire.

Source : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Rite_of_Spring

Part I: L'Adoration de la Terre (Adoration of the Earth)
Introduction - Introduction

Les Augures printaniers - Augurs of Spring

Jeu du rap - Ritual of Abduction

Rondes printanières - Spring Rounds

Jeux des cités rivales - Ritual of the Rival Tribes

Cortège du sage: Le Sage - Procession of the Sage: The Sage

Danse de la terre - Dance of the Earth 


Part II: Le Sacrifice (The Sacrifice)

Introduction - Introduction

Cercles mystérieux des adolescentes - Mystic Circles of the Young Girls

Glorification de l'élue - Glorification of the Chosen One

Évocation des ancêtres - Evocation of the Ancestors

Action rituelle des ancêtres - Ritual Action of the Ancestors

Danse sacrale (L'Élue) - Sacrificial Dance


Year of composition
Commissioned by Paramirabo
Arranged/adapted for Ensemble Paramirabo
Kevin Lau

Last performances