Spring (and spring break on the campus of Indiana University) is right around the corner, so this week on the Ether Game Weekly Music Quiz Podcast, we're gearing up for the arrival of fair weather with a show we’re calling “Spring Fever!” Can you name this temperate tune? (The answer is below) Remember to keep your ears out for a portion of Tuesday night’s Teaser selection. And don’t forget to tune into the full show on Tuesday, March 13th at 8:00pm for a chance to win a prize!
Stravinsky, Igor (1882–1971)
THE RITE OF SPRING: The Augurs of Spring
San Francisco Symphony: Michael Tilson Thomas, conductor. Stravinsky: L'Oiseau De Feu / Le Sacre Du Printemps / Perséphone (RCA Victor)
Stravinsky described this ballet as a tale of pagan Russia, where tribal leaders sacrifice a young girl to the gods on the first day of spring. This music represents the beginning of the savage springtime celebration in the hills, and Stravinsky employs a series of intense, dissonant rhythmic pulses (a mixture of two chords a half-step apart). Both the choreography and music were shocking to audience at the premiere Paris in 1913. And they were not the only ones shocked by it. Nearly one year before the notorious premiere, composer Claude Debussy had a chance to hear it. In 1912, Stravinsky and Debussy had gathered at the home of a mutual friend and played an unfinished version of the work as a 4-hand piano reduction. Debussy was dumbfounded by the savagery of the music, and he said the music haunted him for months “like a beautiful nightmare.”