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The Rise of the Spring by Stravinsky

I attended a symphony orchestra at Alexander Kasser Theater in Montclair State University on Wednesday, December 8th, 2010 at 7:30 pm. The program was approximately an hour and a half long, with two parts and a short intermission. The Rite of Spring (Le Sacre du printemps- 1913) by Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971) was performed.

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There was an assortment of musical energy in parts of the first section of the symphony with a quantity of sections constantly changing rhythms.

I really enjoyed the piece, it was not too long to become fed up with and distracted. Listening to the piece made me feel adventurous in some points; not knowing what could happen next, almost like to a movie. The Rite of Spring is a piece that tells a story, where in order for spring to rise, a young female must be chosen before the sage and dance to death. This piece is full of paradox, the music is incredibly dynamic, loud and soft, startling and delicate, and dark and it is extravagant.

The Rise of the Spring is textured in its irregular time signatures and instrumental diversity (trumpets, flutes, clarinets, bassoons, string arrangements, etc. ). There was a percussive use of strings, halting rhythms, and also irregular meters. The first act began with an opening solo of the Bassoon. Later on, half of the Violas played in B Minor when the other half played B Major, then the trumpets enter, causing a dramatic importance in the piece.

The tones bounced off each other, making it sound much alike harmonically. Those strings would play in a strict rhythm together, suddenly following up with French horns. After the horns and trumpet, the music stops, “the chosen one” of the piece must become the sacrifice. Those famous measures have eleven quarter notes playing that show the glorification of “the chosen one”. Every glorification of every measure is basically in a different meter, and it is quite challenging to play as I witnessed.

The very last quarter of the piece signifies the moment of death, having the double bass play four different pitches at the same time. Whether or not it was intentional on Stravinsky’s part, the notes were in order of D-E-A-D. It sounds quite irregular but also entwined to make the piece sound superior, which is why Igor was very clever in his time to make such a deep piece here. Without hesitation, I would see another symphony similar to Stravinsky’s The Rise of the Spring.

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