The Rite of Spring caused a riot at its 1913 premiere in Paris. If Igor Stravinsky had composed nothing else, he'd have still gone down in musical history. But he wrote much more...Read more…
Listen to the first and final tracks in this playlist – the music couldn't be more different. The early Symphony in E flat could be by his teacher, Rimsky-Korsakov, while The Owl and the Pussy Cat is a twelve-tone ditty for his wife, Vera, based on Edward Lear's nonsense poem.
"A good composer does not imitate; he steals." Stravinsky adopted a number of compositional "skins" throughout his life but also pushed boundaries. The Firebird draws on Rimsky's glittering orchestral palette, but it was The Rite that set him on a new path, its jagged rhythms and pulsating energy still have the power to shock. There were different phases and influences – jazz, neoclassical, serial – where his music absorbed radically different sounds.