The Rite of Spring
The Rite of Spring, scenes of pagan Russia in two parts
Shéhérazade, three poems for voice and orchestra based on the verses of Tristan Klingsor
Arcana, pour grand orchestre
A true manifesto of modernity, The Rite of Spring is a thunderbolt in the still clear sky of 1913. Taking over the great Mahlerian orchestra, Stravinsky breaks the mould with his insolent genius. The magic of Maurice Ravel's Shéhérazade cycle was just the thing to calm the nerves by adding a touch of the exotic. The immense impact of The Rite of Spring has affected many composers and has been emulated by others.
A solitary and misunderstood creator, Edgar Varèse went even further than the orchestral gigantism of the Rite of Spring with Amériques for 142 musicians, followed by Arcana, which requires 120. The work bears a quotation from Paracelsus: "One star exists higher than all the rest: imagination, which gives birth to a new star and a new sky." With its bursts of sound bordering on saturation, it is the sunniest and most invigorating of Varèse's works, the only one in which one can hear recollections, as if its author wanted to emerge from anonymity and contempt to measure himself against the creators of his time.
Listen to some characteristic Stravinsky rhythms with this short extract of the Rite of Spring recorded by the OSR under the direction of Peter Eötvös on 15.03.2016.