The aftershocks of Igor Stravinsky’s visionary masterpiece are still being felt over a century after its scandalous premiere – it changed music forever.
Even the Pet Shop Boys felt like ‘taking off all their clothes and dancing to The Rite of Spring’.
Prehistoric tribal rites – dances, processions, ritual games – climax in the sacrifice of a victim who dances herself to death. The heady mix of primeval choreography and earth-shaking music was too much for the Parisian ballet audience who rioted and cat-called, closing the show, catapulting Stravinsky and the Rite to international celebrity.
From the bassoon’s eerie groan which opens it to the cataclysmic climax, the Rite is a panorama of sensations, unleashing a huge virtuoso orchestra in music of raw, rhythmic vitality and awe-inspiring sonority.