Airs Tuesday, May 28 at 11 a.m. Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring is still provocative and disturbing a centenary (May 29) after its premiere caused one of the most sensational scandals in artistic history. In this anniversary documentary, the ballet's 100 year shock-wave is traced from its initial explosion on May 29th 2013 right up to the present time. First-hand recollections of the famous first night from Dame Marie Rambert, who was one of the dancers, and Igor Stravinsky, who was in the audience, lead through memories of the Berlin premiere in 1923 and the 50th anniversary performance in London conducted by Pierre Monteux, who was the original conductor in 1913, up to comments on the work's enduring power from major artists of today: dancer Dame Monica Mason, and conductors Sir Colin Davis and Valery Gergiev.
Stravinsky was a young, virtually unknown composer when Serge Diaghilev recruited him to create works for the Ballets Russes. The Rite of Spring, with revolutionary choreography by Vaslav Nijinsky, was the third such project, after the acclaimed The Firebird in 1910 and Petrushka in 1911. His score contained many features that were novel for its time, including experiments in tonality, rhythm, metre, stress and dissonance. Analysts have noted a significant grounding in Russian folk music, a relationship which Stravinsky tended to deny. The music has influenced many of the 20th century's leading composers and is one of the most recorded works in the classical repertoire today.