This orchestral explosion with its mysterious passages never ceases to fascinate, here under the leadership of the chief conductor of Gothenburg Symphony, Santtu-Matias Rouvali.
Igor Stravinsky wrote, prophetically, in his memoirs: "I wish that somebody in Leningrad could look for the music, for I am curious of how I composed just before The Firebird".
In the 1910s, Stravinsky was hugely creative in his collaboration with the Russian Ballet in Paris. The Firebird was followed by Petrushka, and then came masterpiece The Rite of Spring – perhaps the most important and famous orchestral piece of the 20th century. Inspired by the violence of Russian spring, he composed music that was daring and innovative in equal measure – nothing like it had ever been heard before.
Recorded at Gothenburg Concert Hall, on March 29, 2019.
Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971)
♪ The Rite of Spring (1910-1913)
Part I. L'Adoration de la Terre (Adoration of the Earth)
ii. Les Augures printaniers (Augurs of Spring)
iii. Jeu du rapt (Ritual of Abduction)
iv. Rondes printanières (Spring Rounds)
v. Jeux des cités rivales (Ritual of the Rival Tribes)
vi. Cortège du sage: Le Sage (Procession of the Sage: The Sage)
vii. Embrasse de la terre (Kiss of the Earth)
viii. Danse de la terre (Dance of the Earth)
Part II. Le Sacrifice (The Sacrifice)
x. Cercles mystérieux des adolescentes (Mystic Circles of the Young Girls)
xi. Glorification de l'élue (Glorification of the Chosen One)
xii. Evocation des ancêtres (Evocation of the Ancestors)
xiii. Action rituelle des ancêtres (Ritual Action of the Ancestors)
xiv. Danse sacrale (L'Élue) (Sacrificial Dance)
Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra
Conductor: Santtu-Matias Rouvali
Gothenburg Concert Hall, March 29, 2019
The Rite of Spring, original French "Le Sacre du printemps: tableaux de la Russie païenne en deux partie", English in full "The Rite of Spring: Pictures from Pagan Russia in Two Parts", ballet by Russian modernist composer Igor Stravinsky that premiered at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées in Paris on May 29, 1913. It is considered one of the first examples of Modernism in music and is noted for its brutality, its barbaric rhythms, and its dissonance. Its opening performance provided one of the most scandalous premieres in history, with pro and con members of the audience arguing so volubly that the dancers were unable to take their cues from the orchestra. The Rite of Spring still strikes many contemporary listeners as a startlingly modern work.
The piece was commissioned by the noted impresario of the Ballets Russes, Serge Diaghilev, who earlier had produced the young composer's "The Firebird" (1910) and "Petrushka" (1911). Stravinsky developed the story of "The Rite of Spring", originally to be called "The Great Sacrifice", with the aid of artist and mystic Nicholas Roerich, whose name appears with the composer's on the title page of the earliest publications of the score. The production was choreographed by Vaslav Nijinsky, and its sets and costumes were designed by Roerich.
Like Stravinsky's earlier works for the Ballet Russes, "The Rite of Spring" was inspired by Russian culture, but, unlike them, it challenged the audience with its chaotic percussive momentum.
In the mid-20th century, Stravinsky revised the orchestration for concert performance, and that version of the score remains the version that is most commonly performed. In 1987, however, the ballet as it was first conceived and performed, with original set and costumes and Nijinsky's choreography (which had been seen for only seven performances before it was superseded by new choreography from Léonide Massine), was painstakingly reconstructed and re-created by the Joffrey Ballet. The centenary of the ballet's premiere prompted other ballet companies, notably the Mariinsky in St Petersburg, to also revive the work in its original form.
Source: Betsy Schwarm (britannica.com)
Hailed by The Guardian as "the latest sit-up-and-listen talent to emerge from the great Finnish conducting tradition", the 2018-2019 season will see Santtu-Matias Rouvali (b. 1985) continuing his positions as Chief Conductor of the Gothenburg Symphony and Principal Guest Conductor of the Philharmonia Orchestra, alongside his longstanding Chief Conductor-ship with the Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra close to his home in Finland.
Rouvali has regular relationships with several orchestras across Europe, including the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, Bamberger Symphoniker and the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin. As well as making his debut with the Münchner Philharmoniker this season, he also returns to North America for concerts with the Minnesota Orchestra and Detroit Symphony Orchestra.
Following a very successful Nordic tour with Hélène Grimaud last season, the Gothenburg Symphony is back on the road in February 2019 for a tour hitting major centres in Germany and Austria with pianist Alice Sara Ott, and percussionist Martin Grubinger who premieres a new percussion concert by Daníel Bjarnason. Rouvali looks forward to other ambitious touring projects with his orchestras in the future, including appearances in North America and Japan.
In addition to the extensive tour, Rouvali's season in Gothenburg opens with Strauss' Alpine Symphony accompanied by Víkingur Ólafsson Mozart Piano Concerto No.24, and he looks forward to collaborations with Janine Jansen, Patricia Kopatchinskaja and Baiba Skride throughout the rest of the season.
As another cornerstone to his tenure in Gothenburg, he is adding his mark to the Orchestra's impressive recording legacy. In partnership with Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra and violinist Baiba Skride, a recording featuring concertos from Bernstein, Korngold and Rozsa is released in autumn 2018. This continues his great collaboration with Baiba Skride following their hugely successful recording of Nielsen and Sibelius' violin concertos with the Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra in summer 2015.
Rouvali has been Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of the Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra since 2013. Highlights of the tenure so far include a Sibelius symphony cycle in autumn 2015, and the Orchestra's first tour to Japan in spring 2017 where they were accompanied by an exhibition of original Moomin drawings by Tove Jansson to mark the opening of the new museum at the Tampere Hall. He opens the 2018-2019 season with a Beethoven programme with pianist Javier Perianes.
Alongside an extremely busy symphonic conducting career, as Chief Conductor in Tampere he has conducted Verdi's La forza del destino and most recently world premiere of Olli Kortekangas's My Brother's Keeper (Veljeni vartija) with Tampere Opera in spring 2018.
Santtu-Matias Rouvali – All the posts
Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra – All the posts