Yeah, I know we don’t often do Classical around here, but if Stravinsky is good enough for Captain Beefheart, he’s good enough for me. And this performance, by L’Orchestre National, Paris was conducted by none other than Pierre Boulez, so it’s gotta be a top-notch version, right?
Now, I don’t pretend to know shit about anything, ever, so I’ll just leave the rest of the commentary to Noel Goodwin, who wrote the sleeve notes to this Concert Hall elpee record (not sure of actual year of release, but the label states that the recording was first published in 1964).
As a result of Stravinsky’s achievements, we listen today with ears different from those our grandparents possessed; what we expect from music, and our understanding of its purpose, have been given new dimensions by the art he has created.
“I was guided by no system whatever in The Rite Of Spring”, wrote Stravinsky. “I heard, and I wrote what I heard. I am the vessel through which Le Sacre passed” (that’s a bit pretentious, innit, Igor? – ed)
Stravinsky extended several features, such as the use of dissonance for structural effect, the simultaneous combination of different tonalities and harmonies and – most importantly – the enthronement of rhythm as the dominating factor.
The innovation of The Rite Of Spring , apart from the boldness of orchestration, was to assert the dominance of rhythm on a vast scale. A generation of music, both serious and popular, has derived from this…it certainly accounts for the extraordinary power and character retained by The Rite Of Spring right to the present time – a masterpiece as “modern” today as when it was first written.