Program Notes

IGOR STRAVINSKY (1882 – 1971)


Stravinsky described The Rite as “representing . . . the mystery and great surge of the creative power of Spring." The story involves pre-history Russian tribes meeting to celebrate the arrival of Spring. Virgins dance and a girl is chosen. After the tribes pay homage to their ancestors, she dances to her death as wise men look on.

Riots broke out at the premiere one hundred years ago (1913). Like Picasso’s “Demoiselles d'Avignon,” this work was revolutionary not only for what composers could now do but also for its effect on how they looked (or listened) to the world. Nothing has been the same since.Stravinsky himself scored the work for piano four hands and premiered it with Claude Debussy.

Program notes by David Yang