The Rite of Spring is one of the most thrilling pieces of music ever written.
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.