Re: Design your own album cover
Le Sacre du Printemps was a ballet involving imagined ancient Russian pagan rituals (possibly involving nudity) and virgin sacrifice. The erotic nature of the dance, the emphasis on rhythm, and the lurching dance designed by Sergei Diaghilev shocked those in the ballet audience who expected beautiful, elegant music and dancing ala Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake.
I was tempted to go with the conductor, Pierre Boulez, who I felt was more suited to the stark, Modernist design... but then Pierre Monteux was the conductor of the notorious opening of the ballet:
Stravinsky showed the manuscript to Maurice Ravel, who was enthusiastic and predicted, in a letter to a friend, that the first performance of the Le Sacre would be as important as the 1902 premiere of Debussy's Pelléas et Mélisande. Monteux's first reaction to The Rite, after hearing Stravinsky play a piano version, was to leave the room and find a quiet corner. He drew Diaghilev aside and said he would never conduct music like that; Diaghilev managed to change his mind. Although he would perform his duties with conscientious professionalism, he never came to enjoy the work; nearly fifty years after the premiere he told enquirers that he detested it. The music contained so many unusual note combinations that Monteux had to ask the musicians to stop interrupting when they thought they had found mistakes in the score, saying he would tell them if something was played incorrectly. According to Doris Monteux, "The musicians thought it absolutely crazy". At one point—a climactic brass fortissimo—the orchestra broke into nervous laughter at the sound, causing Stravinsky to intervene angrily.
Some eyewitnesses and commentators said that the disturbances in the audience began during the Introduction, and grew noisier when the curtain rose on the stamping dancers in "Augurs of Spring". But music historian Richard Taruskin asserts, "it was not Stravinsky's music that did the shocking. It was the ugly earthbound lurching and stomping devised by Vaslav Nijinsky." Two years after the premiere journalist and photographer Carl Van Vechten claimed in his book Music After the Great War that the person behind him became carried away with excitement, and "began to beat rhythmically on top of my head with his fists".
At that time, a Parisian ballet audience typically consisted of two diverse groups: the wealthy and fashionable set, who would be expecting to see a traditional performance with beautiful music, and a "Bohemian" group who, the poet-philosopher Jean Cocteau asserted, would "acclaim, right or wrong, anything that is new because of their hatred of the boxes". Monteux believed that the trouble began when the two factions began attacking each other, but their mutual anger was soon diverted towards the orchestra: "Everything available was tossed in our direction, but we continued to play on". Around forty of the worst offenders were ejected—possibly with the intervention of the police, although this is uncorroborated. Through all the disturbances the performance continued without interruption. The unrest receded significantly during Part II, and by some accounts, Maria Piltz's rendering of the final "Sacrificial Dance" was watched in reasonable silence.
-edited in part from the Wikipedia article on Le Sacre du Printemps
Le Sacre du Printemps ranks with Picasso's Les Demoiselles d'Avignon and James Joyce' Ulysses as one of the real "game changers" of Modernism.
"Beauty is truth, truth beauty—that is all ye know on earth and all ye need to know." - John Keats
"Modern art is what happens when painters stop looking at girls and persuade themselves that they have a better idea."- John Ciardi
Last edited by stlukesguild : 07-20-2019 at 08:43 AM.