CD Spotlight. A Very Joyous Disc - Brahms arranged by Kenneth Woods impresses Alice McVeigh. '... this is an excellent performance representing a useful, joyful and even inspired addition to the orchestral repertoire.'
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The ballet and orchestral concert work Le Sacre du printemps ('The Rite of Spring'), representing various primitive rituals to celebrate the arrival of spring, and subtitled 'Pictures of Pagan Russia in Two Parts', was created for the 1913 Paris season of the Ballet Russes. The music was by Igor Stravinsky, the choreography by Vaslav Nijinsky and the staging and costumes by Nicholas Roerich. The rituals include the choosing of a young girl as a sacrifice, who then dances herself to death.
At the ballet's notorious first performance on 29 May 1913 at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris, the audience nearly rioted, due to the avant-garde nature of both music and choreography. Critical reception was mixed. The music has since achieved greater recognition as a concert piece than as a ballet, becoming one of the repertoire's most recorded works and, with its novel experiments with dissonance, metre, rhythm, stress and tonality, has influenced many of the twentieth century's leading composers.
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