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Classics Explained: STRAVINSKY - The Rite of Spring (Siepmann)


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Classics Explained: STRAVINSKY - The Rite of Spring (Siepmann)

Classics Explained
An Introduction to... STRAVINSKY: The Rite of Spring

Author and Narrator: Jeremy Siepmann
2 CDs, including the complete work
128-page booklet
Naxos 8.558085¡V86
ISBN 1-84379-028-9

Probably the most celebrated score of the twentieth century, The Rite of Spring provoked a full-scale riot at its first performance in 1913. Hardly a single serious composer in the world escaped its influence. Savage and haunting, unearthly and violent, harsh and sensual, it paints a panorama of fantastic instrumental colour, animated by a rhythmic drive and power of irresistible excitement and often astounding complexity. A whole new world of sound in its day, it retains its modernity and fascination, its thrills and its terrors, as much today as it ever did. Here we put it under the aural microscope and explore just what it is that makes it tick, and why it continues to hook listener after listener almost a century later. The work is also played in its entirety.

What makes The Rite of Spring sound so remarkable even today? Perhaps it is because while it exudes primitive, earthy, even atavistic rituals, it is a famously complex score. It is difficult to play, difficult to conduct, difficult to analyse ¡V and yet we respond to it almost physically. In his masterly way, Jeremy Siepmann sheds light on how it works and why it works. He guides us safely through the maze so that we emerge with a far better understanding of this, one of the greatest works of the twentieth century.

Disc 1

  Classics Explained: STRAVINSKY - The Rite of Spring (Siepmann)
1.   Introduction, background and perspective 00:05:03
2.   A gentle, other - worldly start; no sign of the violence to come 00:01:33
3.   Music as mosaic; the composer as constructor 00:01:57
4.   Two functions of metrical change: going with the flow... 00:01:23
5.   ... or disrupting it: a sample of metrical violence 00:01:02
6.   A stealthy entry (clarinets) 00:00:34
7.   Detour: the destabilising properties of chromaticism 00:04:04
8.   On melodies, themes and motifs 00:01:03
9.   The new cor anglais motif dominates 00:00:27
10.   The oboe's rhythmic motif takes over 00:00:25
11.   A primeval awakening 00:00:37
12.   A panoply of Stravinskyan birdsong 00:00:58
13.   A matter of mode 00:01:15
14.   Cue to Introduction 00:00:08
15.   Introduction (complete) 00:03:38
16.   Part I: The Adoration of the Earth: The Augurs of Spring / Dances of the Young Girls: The 'Rite of Spring' chord 00:00:41
  Part I: The Adoration of the Earth: The Augurs of Spring / Dances of the Young Girls
17.   The great arrival: bitonality 00:01:35
18.   Putting the boot in: a metrical mugging 00:01:45
19.   The prevalence of ostinatos, and a righting of wrongs 00:01:51
20.   Metre restores (briefly) but the 'savage motif' returns 00:00:50
21.   The musical savages routed 00:01:19
22.   An important new arrival (the 'horn motif') 00:01:04
23.   Another new theme from the horns 00:00:48
24.   A crowded conclusion 00:01:43
  Part I: The Adoration of the Earth: Ritual of Abduction
25.   A real study in contrasts 00:01:31
26.   Panic and pandemonium as timpani open fire 00:01:09
27.   Climactic melee haunted by 'fear motif' 00:01:34
  Part I: The Adoration of the Earth: Spring Rounds
28.   Suddenly another world, as flutes hover over harmonic vapour... 00:00:59
29.   ... but a transient one: new movement arises from the deep 00:00:50
30.   'Dragging feet motif' over ostinato violins, twice interrupted 00:00:42
31.   'Marching motif' developed further by flutes and horns 00:00:45
32.   A trilling commentary from piccolo and high clarinet 00:00:25
33.   'Marching motif' theme goes polymetric in huge crescendo 00:01:16
34.   An unexpected change of pace as tempo doubles 00:00:53
35.   And an unexpected reversion, to a quiet close 00:00:41
  Part I: The Adoration of the Earth: Ritual of the Rival Tribes
36.   Violent onslaught from brass and timpani launches the 'Rival Tribes' 00:00:25
37.   Rival Tribes, rival motifs 00:00:22
38.   Sensational violence comes close to chaos 00:00:38
39.   Effects, impressions and alteration 00:01:39
40.   A surprise re - entry and a change of instrumental clothing 00:00:54
41.   A thinning of texture, a new idea, and a rude interruption 00:00:34
42.   The new idea developed: A Minor earthquake 00:00:41
43.   The use of tone colour as an agent of rhythm 00:01:32
44.   An unusual climax... 00:01:30
45.   ... and a sinister transition 00:00:51
  Part I: The Adoration of the Earth: Procession of the Sage
46.   Across the threshold into an instrumental population explosion 00:01:29
47.   A sudden silence and then another world 00:01:00
48.   Catapulted into the 'Dance of the Earth' 00:00:38
  Part I: The Adoration of the Earth: Dance of the Earth
49.   Tiny changes, unyielding ostinatos, massive tension 00:03:19
50.   Cue to Part I complete 00:00:07
51.   Part I (complete) 00:16:08

Disc 2

  Part II: The Sacrifice: Introduction
1.   Again a muted, subtly coloured start 00:01:09
2.   Tone colour as atmosphere - the strings' motif 00:01:07
3.   Four solo violas, above gently rocking strings 00:00:23
4.   A pregnant pause, and a new motif in muted trumpets 00:01:14
  Part II: The Sacrifice: Mystic Circles of the Young Girls
5.   Motif from the Introduction varied and extended 00:01:27
6.   New motif, heralded by clarinets and violins, is introduced by alto flute 00:00:34
7.   Variant of Motif No. 2 given out by two clarinets 00:00:44
8.   Continued by oboes and bassoons; new motif in violins, cellos and bass clarinet 00:00:33
9.   Main motifs yield to new idea from flutes 00:00:38
10.   All change - direction, tone colour, metre - and two new ostinatos 00:00:40
11.   Motif No. 1 returns in horn, then passed to flutes and strings 00:00:46
12.   Texture, balance and tone colour keep changing 00:00:26
13.   Instrumental enrichment, new counterpoint and a bleat of alarm 00:00:40
14.   New derivative of Motif No. 2, a host of new sounds - and again the bleat 00:00:48
15.   Into the finishing stretch, and we know we're in for something big 00:00:40
16.   Putting the movement back together again 00:00:07
17.   Mystic Circles of the Young Girls (complete) 00:08:16
  Part II: The Sacrifice: Glorification of the Chosen One
18.   On into one of the most sensational movements ever written 00:01:36
19.   The violence is almost graphic. An example of musical terrorism 00:00:35
20.   Motif No. 2: a terrible, off - beat com - pah from strings, horns and oboes 00:00:13
21.   The air is filled with the fearsome baying of wind and violins 00:00:20
22.   A variant of Motif No. 2, but now descending 00:00:14
23.   A study in the bruality of suspense - a musical mugging 00:04:12
24.   The middle section begins with a massive but unequal confrontation 00:00:27
25.   Against the odds, the 'descending motif' comes out on top 00:00:23
26.   In the midst of the fray, a new 'rising motif' emerges... 00:01:02
27.   ... and undergoes a typcially Stravinskyan expansion and compression 00:01:03
28.   A much - needed breath before the movement entire 00:00:17
29.   Glorification of the Chosen One (complete) 00:01:45
  Part II: The Sacrifice: Evocation of the Ancestors
30.   The next movement consists of a single, chordal motif, three times varied 00:00:58
31.   The second statement: breaking the metrical flow 00:02:13
  Part II: The Sacrifice: Ritual Action of the Ancestors
32.   At last the establishment of a clear and steady beat, but will it last 00:01:21
33.   A counterpoint of ostinatos lends continuity to changing time signatures 00:00:42
34.   Horns introduce the first real motif, destabilised by multiple metres 00:00:32
35.   The motif disappears, though the background ostinato continues 00:00:32
36.   A change of mood, then the whole orchestra crashes in 00:00:49
37.   The steady pulse gives way to a tossed salad of one - bar motifs 00:01:06
38.   Lately abandoned, the steady pulse returns, as does the 'trumpet motif' 00:01:06
39.   The movement ends with a varied reprise of the opening 00:00:15
40.   Evocation of the Ancestors (complete) and Ritual Action of the Ancestors (complete) 00:04:23
  Part II: The Sacrifice: Sacrificial Dance
41.   The last movement is based on two motifs, the first most motable for its rhythm 00:00:20
42.   The second motif is likewise predominatly rhythmical in effect 00:00:16
43.   Two variants: one a rhythmic simplification, the other an expansion 00:00:20
44.   A new section, again with two main motifs, the first from wind and strings 00:00:27
45.   This is joined by another bried but very striking motif from muted brass 00:00:20
46.   Tension dramatically increased by a violent interruption from timpani and gong 00:00:35
47.   Motif No. 2 is passed from bassoons to high wind and trumpets... 00:00:34
48.   ... and is twice interrupted by horns 00:00:41
49.   Motif No. 1 erupts in full orchestra, then all hell breaks loose 00:00:48
50.   New ostinato, over implacable repetitions of Motif No. 1, offset by clarinets 00:00:26
51.   A new section, kick - started by percussion: timpani, bass drum and gong 00:01:11
52.   Horns, doubled by strings, introduce the main idea of this new section 00:00:18
53.   The return of the movement's opening section - or so we may think 00:00:54
54.   Dramatic compression of now - familiar material 00:00:40
55.   A terrifying cocktail of motifs old and new confounds expectations... 00:01:00
56.   ... and leads to the coda, the final flourish of the whole work 00:01:45
57.   Cue to all of Part II and end of CD 00:00:10
58.   Part II (complete) 00:18:58

Total Playing Time: 02:34:14

Siepmann, Jeremy

Siepmann, Jeremy

Label: Naxos Educational

Genre: Music Education

Catalogue No: 8.558085-86

Barcode: 0636943808528

Physical Release: 05/2003

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