Playing By Ear: Stravinsky’s Riotous ‘Rite of Spring’

Composer and conductor Igor Stravinsky {Source: NPR/Getty Images[]I haven’t listened to Le Sacre du Printemps in years, but one sunny day and a promise of crocuses make me yearn for the kind of creative transformation evoked by this NPR Music feature: “Stravinsky’s music is famous for causing a riot at its premiere. It was a warm spring evening in Paris on May 29, 1913, and the well-heeled crowd at the Champs Élysées Theatre was not ready for jagged rhythms, crunching discord, and the strange jerking of the dancers on stage…One shrewd musicologist wrote that “the pagans on stage made pagans of the audience.”

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