This ain’t your grandma’s ballet.

Editor’s Note: The following contribution is a guest post by UR undergraduate James Fong, who is a Student Assistant working at Parsons Music Library. Thanks, James, for the insights on the in-famous work of Igor Stravinksy!

Ever see a ballet that made you want to riot? If that sounds strange, that’s because it is. The brainchild of composer Igor Stravinsky and impresario Sergei Diaghilev, The Rite of Spring caused its audience members to do just that.

Prior to May 29, 1913, ballet was a rather docile thing. From its first beginnings in Renaissance Italy as a courtly activity for the aristocracy, to its transformation as a formalized discipline involving grace and technique by the late 19th century, ballet was fairly content with itself.
There would be an added creative wrinkle here or there (poses, costumes, etc.), but its fashionability in the day gave it no reason to revolutionize itself.
Then May 29, 1913 happened.

“The theater resembled a prison yard: shouting, howling whistling, slapping, punching.”

“A beautifully dressed lady in an orchestra box stood up and slapped the face of a young man who was hissing in the next box. Her escort arose, and cards were exchanged between the men. A duel followed next day.”

480 px width, cropped version of original by Flickr poster "Piano Piano!"

Sacre du Printemps – London Philharmonic Orchestra

“Exactly what I wanted.” – Diaghilev

That is only a microcosm of the reception of a ballet centered around the creative forces of Spring. That and a sacrificial virgin dancing herself to death to appease the god of that very season.

Set in pagan Russia, The Rite was, for all intents and purposes, an uncontrolled experiment in music and dance. Musically, Stravinsky pushed the limits of meter, tonality, and dissonance, which must have caused quite some discomfort for an audience raised on formal music from the glory days of the Common Practice Period. Meanwhile, Nijinsky’s choreography blew the doors off of anything that had preceded it. Angular, violent, and downright convulsive, it was as much a powder keg as the score. So much so that Nijinsky’s choreography was scrapped from 1920 until its resurrection by the Joffrey Ballet in Los Angeles in 1987.

Despite its beginnings in obscurity (at best), or disaster (at worst), The Rite – particularly the score – has since emerged as an enormous commercial and artistic success, lending credibility to the Russian ballet scene, even being featured in Walt Disney’s color trick film, Fantasia. That being said…
Read up on the mayhem, witness the performances, and explore Stravinsky’s other (equally chaotic) works at Parsons Music Library, located on the second floor of Booker Hall. We hope you’ll be better behaved than the original audience.

photo credit

New CD’s added this week!

Choral Works

Antoine Brumel | The Brabant Ensemble – Missa de Beata Virgine & Motets

Classical/Opera

John Adams – Gospel According to the Other Mary
John Luther Adams – Become Ocean
Samuel Barber – Vanessa
Unsuk Chin – Rocaná
Henri Dutilleux – Symphony No. 1 | Tout un monde Lointain | The Shadows of Time
Leon Fleisher – All the Things You Are
Kashkashian / Magen / Piccinini – Tre Voci
David Krakauer – Dreams & Prayers
Liza Lim – The Heart’s Ear
Liza Lim – Tonuge of the Invisible
Harry Partch – Plectra and Percussion Dances
Francis Poulenc – Les Mamelles de Tiresias
Yizhak Schotten – Tribute to Lionel Tertis and William Primrose
Antonio Vivaldi – Incoronazione di Dario
Alec Wilder – Woodwind Quintets

Jazz

Count Basie and His Orchestra – America’s #1 Band
Al Basile – Swing n’ Strings
Dirty Dozen Brass Band – Buck Jump
Cornell Dupree – Can’t Get Through
Woody Herman – Thundering Herds, 1945-47
Wynton Marsalis Septet – The Marciac Suite
Lee Morgan – Sonic Boom
Oneness of Juju – African Rhythms: 1970-1982

Pop/Rock

Eddie Kendricks – Ultimate Collection
Led Zeppelin – IV
Led Zeppelin – Physical Graffiti
Mike Marshall & The Turtle Island Quartet – Mike Marshall & The Turtle Island Quartet
The Moody Blues – In Search of the Lost Chord
Nitty Gritty Dirt Band – Circle II, 20 Song Collection
Nitty Gritty Dirt Band – Will the Circle Be Unbroken, Vol. III
Elvis Presley – 30 #1 Hits
Sinkane – Mean Love
Sufjan Stevens – Illinois
Andy Stott – Luxury Problems
U2 – No Line on the Horizon

Band instrument works

BBC & RAF Orchestras – D-Day: 50th Anniversary
Marco Blaauw – Angels

Musicals

Woody Allen – Bullets over Broadway
Mark Baron – Frankenstein: A New Musical
Carole King and Gerry Goffin – Beautiful: The Carole King Musical
Alan Menken – Aladdin
Jeanine Tesori – Violet

World Music

African Horns – African Horns
Manu Dibango – African Soul: The Very Best of Manu Dibango

New CD’s added this week!

Electronic Music

Karlheinz Stockhausen – Complete Early Percussion Works

Jazz

Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society – Brooklyn Babylon
Jon Irabagon – Foxy
Masters of Jazz – Vol. 1, Traditional Jazz Classics
Masters of Jazz – Vol. 4, Big Bands of the ’50s & ’60s
Masters of Jazz – Vol. 5, Female Vocal Classics
Outright! – Jon Irabagon’s Outright!
Les McCann – Talkin’ Verve!!!
Mostly Other People Do the Killing – Slippery Rock!
Cecile McLorin Salvant – WomanChild

Concert Artistic Music (i.e. “Classical”)

Ian Clarke – Deep Blue
Newspeak – Sweet Light Crude
Now Ensemble – Awake
Frank Martin – Le Vin Herbé
Missy Mazzoli – Cathedral City / Victoire

Opera

World Music

New CD’s added this week!

Electronic Music

Larry Fast Synergy – Metropolitan Suite

Jazz

Mongo Santamaria – Greatest Hits
Various Artists – Colors of Latin Jazz: A Latin Vibe!
Various Artists – Colors of Latin Jazz: Cubop!
Various Artists – Colors of Latin Jazz: Latin Jam!
Various Artists – Colors of Latin Jazz: Soul Sauce!
Various Artists – Colors of Latin Jazz: Soul Cookin’
Jeff Holmes Quartet – Of One’s Own

Pop/Rock

World Music

Hugh Masekela – Best of Hugh Masekela on Novus

New CD’s added this week!

Classical

G.F. Handel – Triumph of Time & Truth
Philip Glass – Galileo Galilei
Philip Glass – Voices for Didgeridoo and Organ
Philip Glass – Dublin Guitar Quartet Performs Philip Glass
Joyce DiDonato – Stella Di Napoli
Lawrence Brownlee – Virtuoso Rossini Arias
Johann Adolf Hasse – Rokoko: Hasse Opera Arias
Christin Schillinger – Bassoon Surrounded
Christin Schillinger -Bassoon Transcended

World Music

Opika Pende – Africa at 78 RPM

Opera

Nico Muhly – Two Boys
Vivica Genaux & Simone Kermes – Rival Queens

Pop/Rock

Lonnie Holley – Just Before Music
Paul Simon – 1964/1993

New CD’s added this week!

Jazz

Cannonball Adderley – The Black Messiah
Bob Mintzer Big Band – Latin from Manhattan
David Esleck – Little Ears
Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra w/ Wynton Marsalis – Live in Swing City
Thelonious Monk – Big Band and Quartet in Concert
Thelonious Monk – Criss-Cross
Thelonious Monk – It’s Monk’s Time
Thelonious Monk – Live at the It Club
Thelonious Monk – Monk’s Blues
Thelonious Monk – San Francisco Holiday

Vocal Ensemble

Roomful of Teeth – Roomful of Teeth

Pop/Rock

The Band – Greatest Hits
Donald Fagen – The Nightfly
Jethro Tull – Benefit
Bruce Springsteen – Magic
Bruce Springsteen – The Promise
Bruce Springsteen – Tunnel of Love
Bruce Springsteen – Lucky Town
Yes – Close to the Edge
Yes – Fragile
Neil Young – Freedom
Neil Young – Harvest

Soundtracks

Jason Robert Brown – Bridges of Madison County
Steven Lutvak – A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder
Curtis Mayfield – Superfly

Western Concert Artistic (i.e. “Classical”)

Unsuk Chin – Xi

New CD’s added this week!

Jazz

Cannonball Adderley – Walk Tall: The David Axelrod Years
Charles Kynard – Legends of Acid Jazz
Miles Davis – Milestones

Pop/Rock

The Hollies – Greatest Hits
The Pretenders – The Singles
Rick Wakeman – The Six Wives of Henry VIII

Western Concert Artistic (i.e. “Classical”)

Walter Braxton – Dance Suite | The Music of Walter Braxton
Walter Braxton – Five Orchestral Movements from the Music of Walter Braxton
Walter Braxton – Selections | The Music of Walter Braxton (DVD)
Walter Braxton – The Music of Walter Braxton

New CD’s added this week!

Classical

Clara Schumann – Complete Piano Works
Javier Camarena – Recitales
Temianka & Shure – Beethoven – 10 Sonatas for Violin and Piano

Jazz

Donald Byrd – Kofi
Duke Ellington – Festival Session
Duke Ellington – At Newport

Pop/Rock

The Beach Boys – Sounds of Summer
Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band – Night moves
Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band – Stranger in Town
Canned Heat – Uncanned – The Best of Canned Heat
Cherryholmes – Cherryholmes
Cherryholmes – Cherryholmes III, Don’t Believe
Cornell Dupree – Child’s Play
Don Henley – Building the Perfect Beast

Soundtracks

Stephen Flaherty – Rocky: Original Broadway Cast Recording
Tom Kitt – If/Then: Original Broadway Cast Recording

New CD’s added this week!

7/2/2014

Pop/Rock

The Band – Islands
Jethro Tull – Stand Up
Led Zeppelin – III
The Moody Blues – Every Good Boy Deserves Favour
Simon & Garfunkel – Old Friends
Sufjan Stevens – The Avalanche
Various – The Swing Time Records Story

Jazz

Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra / W. Marsalis – Congo Square
Jimmy Smith – Compact Jazz – Jimmy Smith
Jimmy Smith – Compact Jazz – Jimmy Smith Plays the Blues
Wynton Marsalis Septet – Citi Movement (Griot New York)

New CD’s added this week!

6/25/2014

Rock

Lyle Lovett – Lyle Lovett and his Large Band
Lyle Lovett – Pontiac
Steely Dan – Everything Must Go
America – The Complete and Greatest Hits
Ringo Starr – Ringo
Traffic – The Best of Traffic
Harry Chapin – The Essentials
Joni Mitchell – Court and Spark
Van Morrison – Tupelo Honey
Van Morrison – Into the Music
Warren Zevon – Excitable Boy
Warren Zevon – Best of Warren Zevon