Pacific Symphony, Stravinsky, The Rite of Spring
Aaron Copland once characterized "The Rite of Spring" as the foremost orchestral achievement of the 20th century, and The New York Times proclaimed the significance of the work to be "to the 20th century as Beethoven's Ninth is to the 19th." With the arrival of the centennial of Stravinsky's iconic masterwork, a reverberation of celebration can be heard around the symphonic world-and Pacific Symphony is no exception, offering a variety of activities throughout the rest of the 2012-13 season. In conceiving "The Rite of Spring," Stravinsky broke all the rules and defied convention, and it is very much in this spirit that the Symphony approaches its celebration.
This festival includes: the Sacre Project, a part art installation, part performance piece and a cross-disciplinary project created by artists from University of California, Irvine's (UC Irvine ) Claire Trevor School of the Arts; a call for artworks of all kinds (art, music, dance), called the ReRite Project (remix, reinterpret and/or reimagine!); a workshop at Orange County Museum of Art; concerts featuring the provocative work itself; a traveling video booth; and a culminating party on the arts plaza, featuring the Symphony's second "Inside and Out" Plazacast-a free live broadcast of the concert projected onto the wall of Segerstrom Hall. For more information, call (714) 755-5799 or visit PacificSymphony.org.
"The premiere of Stravinsky's 'Rite of Spring' was one of the most important moments in all of music history," says Music Director Carl St.Clair. "It is a work that literally single- handedly changed the course of music. It will be a riveting way to finish the Symphony's season."
Considered one of the most important and influential classical music composers of the 20th century, Stravinsky (1882-1971) experimented with a number of styles over the course of his career, with innovation always an integral component of his work. He saw a great deal of change in music throughout his lifetime; as a child, he was young enough to have witnessed Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky conduct and yet lived long enough to also witness the break-up of The Beatles!
It was nearly 100 years ago, on May 29, 1913, that Sergei Diaghilev's Ballets Russes premiered the ballet Le sacre du printemps ("The Rite of Spring") at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris-an event that led to the most infamous riot in classical music history due to its shocking primal rhythms, dissonances, choreography, costumes and scenery. "The Rite of Spring" depicts an ancient pagan ritual sacrifice, which culminates with a young girl dancing herself to death. Stravinsky's score for "The Rite of Spring" is often considered the single most important piece of classical music written during the 20th century.
THE CONCERTS: MUSIC UNWOUND
The festival of events, as well as the Symphony's concerts, centers around performances of the composer's provocative "The Rite of Spring" (last performed by the orchestra in 2008), led by Music Director Carl St.Clair, on Thursday-Saturday, June 6-8, at 8 p.m. in the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall (preview talk beginning at 7 p.m.). With an underlying theme of Russian "ballet" music, the program explores the transition of the ballet from the traditional to the radical, while exploring Stravinsky's reverence for Tchaikovsky and the fascinating bridge that inexorably linked the two composers. The program includes excerpts from Stravinsky's ballet "The Fairy's Kiss" and from Tchaikovsky's "The Nutcracker" and "Swan Lake," featuring dancers from the Claire Trevor School of the Arts"; and "Lullaby in a Storm" from "Sixteen Songs for Children," plus, excerpts from Tony Palmer's film, "Stravinsky: Once at a Border." Concert tickets are $25-$112; for more information or to purchase tickets, call (714) 755-5799 or visit PacificSymphony.org.
This concert-the third of three very different Music Unwound performances underwritten by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and produced by the Symphony during the 2012-13 season-offers the opportunity to explore Stravinsky's masterwork through unique lenses, while also probing the evolution of ballet music and dance through a variety of unusual projects and events. The goal of Music Unwound, now in its fourth year, is to enhance the concert experience by creating contextual backdrops and thematic programming in order to give the music deeper meaning.
In the lobby, patrons encounter a "video booth"-created in conjunction with UC Irvine associate professor of dance and media art John Crawford. The video booth allows participants to choose sections from "The Rite of Spring," capture their own movement in a green screen environment and combine it with re-purposed video content from Crawford's Sacre Project (more on this later in the release), resulting in a custom personalized dance video that can be shared in the social media space. The booth has been created to travel to unexpected places around Orange County.
UCI is also planning a free "Symposium with Tony Palmer"that includes an in-person appearance by the composer-filmmaker and a screening of his documentary, "Stravinsky: Once at a Border," on Friday, June 7, at 1 p.m., at the Contemporary Arts Center, Claire Trevor School of the Arts. This Stravinsky biographical film (created for the composer's centennial in 1982) includes documents, photographs, family interviews and historic film (including appearances by Stravinsky). The symposium concludes with an informal discussion with Palmer and the audience.
INSIDE AND OUT: PLAZACAST CELEBRATION
The concert on Saturday, June 8, is part of the prismatic celebration of the 100th anniversary of "The Rite of Spring" and features the Symphony's second free "Inside and Out" Plazacast, a live simulcast of "The Rite of Spring" that takes place on the plaza outside the concert hall beginning at 8 p.m. (The first Plazacast took place last June for the Symphony's season finale, a performance of "Beethoven Ninth" that attracted several thousand attendees.) The festivities for "The Rite of Spring" begin earlier in the day with performances by community ensembles that have been invited to perform on the plaza prior to the start of the simulcast (more details to come!). The public is invited to come early, bring chairs and blankets, and picnic on the plaza, while enjoying a preview and live interviews with key guest artists. A selection of food will be available for purchase. This unique event is free and open to the public with no ticket required.
UCI AND THE SACRE PROJECT
But before any of this takes place, the anniversary celebration kicks off with the ambitious Sacre Project, UC Irvine's Claire Trevor School of the Arts' cross-disciplinary work directed by John Crawford and presented in collaboration with the Symphony. Essentially part media installation and part dance, the Sacre Project re-envisions the "The Rite of Spring" as a radically deconstructed performance event. The digital media installation remixes sections of the "The Rite of Spring," presented with small groups of dancers in "pods" arranged around the room. The audience is encouraged to walk through the room to watch and listen to the piece on their own individual terms. The dancers gradually transform the space from this unstructured experience to a circular performance environment, where the event concludes with the sacrificial dance from the "The Rite of Spring" on the central platform.