The Rite of Spring. Music: Igor Stravinsky. Choreography: Vaslav Nijinsky. Scenario: Igor Stravinsky and Nicholas Roerich. Costumes and Sets: Nicholas Roerich. Initial Commission.
The Rite of Spring
Music: Igor Stravinsky
Choreography: Vaslav Nijinsky
Scenario: Igor Stravinsky and Nicholas Roerich
Costumes and Sets: Nicholas Roerich
Envisioning a primitive society of the far Russian steppes involved in ritual sacrifice, Stravinsky worked with set and costume designer Nicholas Roerich.
The work was composed between 1911 and 1913 for Sergei Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes.
Theatre des Champs Elysees
One of the dancers recalled that Vaslav Nijinsky's shocking choreography was physically unnatural to perform:
"With every leap we landed heavily enough to jar every organ in us."
The pull of the earth is evident in the weighted steps.
Driven purpose and frenzy is expressed in the repetitive and jagged action, with pounding jumps and contorted positions.
The young maidens
Stravinsky's score provides percussive polyrhythms and jarring orchestral colors to create a seemingly primeval experience.
“The work’s embryo is a theme that came to me after I had finished The Firebird. As this theme and what followed from it was conceived in a brutal and forthright manner, I took as developmental pretext what that music actually evoked, that is, prehistoric Russia as I, being myself Russian, conceive it. But bear in mind that this idea comes from music, not the music from the idea.”
Pablo Picasso. Portrait of Stravinsky
The bassoon solo sets off a series of short, fragmented, repeating solos that begin to overlap and pile up on each other, building up to a controlled chaos that foreshadows some of the real tension to come.