Today is the one-hundredth anniversary of The Rite of Spring, a ballet and orchestral concert work by the Russian composer Igor Stravinsky. It was written for the 1913 Paris season of Sergei Diaghilev’s dance company. The original choreography was by Vaslay Nijinsky. The ballet was first performed on May 29, 1913. The unusual and astonishingly new nature of the music caused a sensation resulting in a near-riot from its Parisian audience. At the bottom of today's post is a drawing of Igor Stravinsky by Pablo Picasso. I have listened to the music of Igor Stravinsky more than the music of all other composers combined. Stravinsky has long been my favorite. I will never forget my introduction to him and his music. I was studying Oceanography at Oregon State University when the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra came to Corvallis, Oregon for one night to play in the school's gym. They played Stravinsky's Firebird Suite. There were jeers and sneers from the audience. After the performance I went to the local English style pub (where Orchestra members had congregated and mingled with the locals). The locals spoke of how "even the Orchestra found the music silly." This was over 60 years after Stravinsky premiered The Firebird, which had preceded The Rite of Spring by 3 years.
N.B. Pablo Picasso is the artist I look to most for advice and inspiration. It is fitting that I show Stravinsky's portrait drawing by Picasso, thereby placing both of these role models of mine on the same page! Picasso and Stravinsky were always open to experimentation and research, which are two of my aspirations as well.
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