The Rite of Spring

I just read Cecil’s excellent column, Did avant-garde arts events of a century ago really inspire riots?


I met and talked with Igor Stravinsky in his latter years, and he loved to tell that story!

As for musicians making up words to “keep the count,” they were probably of the Old School, which had never had to deal with multiple, quickly changing meters and amazingly dissonant harmonic clashes.

Every time I’ve played that piece, the orchestraloves it! I have had every hair on my body stand on end. (Darn! I just shaved my legs!)

It is astonishing to think of Paris at that time. Cooperation between all of the arts was fantastic. Much credit goes to Diaghilev, founder of Ballets Russes. He would be inspired by a poet’s work (say, Mallarmé), talk a musician into writing music for it (Debussy), and an artist such as Matisse to paint the scenery! Wow!

I wish there really were such a thing as a time travel machine!

An additional comment to an otherwise-excellent mailbag article:

He was actually screaming the Russian version of these numbers…all of which are three or four syllables, making it even more problematic.

In 1989-1990 I worked in a record store which catered mainly to classical music listeners. Hence we were only supposed to play classical music in the store (although when the owner wasn’t around we lived dangerously with jazz and folk sometimes… but I’m digressing…)

Anyway, I’m a big fan of The Rite of Spring and used to play it a lot in the store. One day I put it on and a few minutes later a guy - mid 40s, I’d guess, wearing a business suit - walks by and says huffily “I can’t believe you’re playing this!” and storms out the door.

I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry …

Strange man…I wonder what he was expecting you to play?! Even my mum likes the Rite (and can even identify it when it’s on the radio, about the only piece she can do that with). I just wish I could get a chance to play in it…I can’t get enough of Stravinsky’s violin writing.

An anecdote for Ruadh :smiley: :…In one of the dreadful tourist shops on O’Connell St., I noticed a sign behind the counter, saying “The stereo must play ceidlidh music at all times. Disobeying this is a disciplinary offence.” Must have been a fun place to work. (Naturally, they’d chosen the worst oom-pah ceidlidh stuff possible)

Just as a note, this was a Staff Report by Ian, not a Column by Cecil. Consequently, I’m moving this to the appropriate forum.

I just googled “ceidlidh.” It’s one of the few things I’ve searched for that returned only four pages of results.

Why? Oh–I dunno–this just happens so infrequently that it fascinates me when it does happen.

Because it’s misspelled :slight_smile:

Try ceilidh or céilí.

:smack: Some things I’ll never learn…like, when one gets less than, oh, a gazillion pages of hits, one either has a terribly arcane word or one has just found all the putzes who misspelled the word the same way. Sheesh.

Thanks for the correction.