Igor Stravinsky. It's his birthday today. What better occasion to celebrate his breakthrough work, The Rite of Spring.
Stravinsky was an unknown Russian composer when he was recruited by Sergei Diaghilev to write music for his Ballets Russes. He had successes with The Firebird in 1910, followed by Petrushka in 1911.
Then he had an idea for a ballet depicting prehistoric pagan rituals celebrating the arrival of spring in which a young girl is chosen as a sacrificial victim and dances herself to death. Can't miss, right?
Diaghilev developed the story, Vaslav Nijinsky choreographed it, Nicholas Roerich designed the production, and Stravinsky wrote a killer score like nothing that had been written before.
It premiered in Paris in 1913, and caused a riot.
From the New York Times.
Legend has it that those who hated it tried to shout it down, and threw things at the stage and the orchestra. Those who liked it confronted those who didn't, fights broke out, and 40 people were ejected from the theater by force.
Meanwhile the music and the dance went on uninterrupted, and by the end those who had remained gave several curtain calls to the dancers, the orchestra, to Nijinsky, and to Stravinsky.
It created a world-wide sensation, and Stravinsky was unknown no longer. The Rite of Spring is considered today to be one of the most influential works of the Twentieth Century.
And it's excellent for tying flies to.
For much more on The Rite of Spring click HERE.