The Rite of Spring

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The Rite of Spring (also known by its French title Le Sacre du printemps, though its original title in Russian was Весна священная [Vesna svjaščennaja], meaning Holy Spring) is a ballet in two parts for large orchestra and ballet dancers written by Igor Stravinsky in 1912-3. It premiered on May 29, 1913, and it caused one of the largest musical scandals in history--a riot broke out in the audience shortly after the beginning of the work. Today, the work is widely performed, usually orchestra only, and is considered one of the greatest works of the 20th century and has come to be loved by many.

The instrumentation is abnormally large: piccolo, 4 flutes (4th doubling piccolo 2), alto flute, 4 oboes (4th doubling English horn 2), English horn, piccolo clarinet in D and E-flat, 3 clarinets in B-flat and A (3rd doubling bass clarinet 2), bass clarinet, 4 bassoons (4th doubling contrabassoon 2), contrabassoon, 8 horns (7th and 8th doubling tenor (Wagner) tubas in B-flat 1 and 2), piccolo trumpet in D, 4 trumpets in C (4th doubling bass trumpet in E-flat), 3 trombones, 2 tubas, 2 sets of 5 timpani heads (usually played by two timpanists), percussion (bass drum, cymbals, tam-tam, guiro, tambourine, triangle, and A-flat and B-flat crotales), at least 30 violins, 10 violas, 10 celli, and 6 contrabasses.

There are two parts to the ballet. They are titled "The Adoration of the Earth" (Stravinsky preferred The Kiss of the Earth as "Kiss" could be both dative and genitive) and "The Great Sacrifice" (Stravinsky also preferred "Exalted" because "Great" could refer to size).

Part I: Adoration of the Earth

  • Introduction [1]
  • The Augurs of Spring (Dances of the Young Girls) (Les augures printaniers, Danses des adolescentes) [2]
  • Ritual of Abduction (Jeu du rapt) [3]
  • Spring Rounds (Round Dance) (Rondes printanières) [4]
  • Ritual of the Rival Tribes (Jeu des cités rivales) [5]
  • Procession of the Sage (Cortège du sage) [6]
  • The Sage (Adoration of the Earth) (Le sage) [7]
  • Dance of the Earth (Danse de la terre) [8]

Part II: The Sacrifice

  • Introduction [9]
  • Mystic Circles of the Young Girls (Cercles mystérieux des adolescentes) [10]
  • The Glorification of the Chosen One (Glorification de l'Élue) [11]
  • Evocation of the Ancestors (Évocation des ancêtres) [12]
  • Ritual Action of the Ancestors (Action rituelle des ancêtres) [13]
  • Sacrificial Dance (The Chosen One) (Danse sacrale (l'Élue)) [14]