Rite of Spring

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.

A selection of articles about Rite of Spring

Ensemble. An Elegy for Mother Earth - Adam J Sacks listens to John Luther Adams' 'Vespers of the Blessed Earth'

Ensemble. Open-air Performance - A triptych of ballet on tour, with dancing in the monumental Roman ruins, experienced by Giuseppe Pennisi

Ensemble. Still Radical - Stravinsky's 'The Rite of Spring', heard by Giuseppe Pennisi

Ensemble. The Boys - Bill Newman was at Nettle and Markham's thirtieth anniversary recital

Record Box. An Impressive Crispness - The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra plays Stravinsky, heard by Patric Standford

CD Spotlight. Creative Tensions - A double CD from the Fry Street Quartet, reviewed by Malcolm Tattersall. '... excellent by any standards ...'