What We're Listening To: Igor Stravinsky's "The Rite of Spring"
Igor Fyodorovich Stravinsky was born on June 17th 1882 in St. Petersburg Russia. Born to Ukrainian parents, Stravinsky maintained strong connections with Ukrainian culture. He studied piano and composition at an early age and went to school to study law, but ended up focusing more on studying music.
In the summer of 1902, he stayed with composer Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov and took lessons from him until his death in 1908. Stravinsky first became famous through his three ballets: The Firebird, Petrushka, and The Rite of Spring, which were first performed by Sergei Diaghilev’s Balles Russes in 1913.
The Rite of Spring was meant to be reminiscent of primitive, pagan rituals associated with the beginning of spring. A young maiden is chosen to be the victim of sacrifice and dances herself to death. Although the ballet was fist greeted with mixed reviews the piece was later revered as one of the most influential works of the twentieth century and one of the most recorded works in classical repertoire.
Included below is a performance of "Rite of Spring" by the New England Conservatory.