In honor of the hundredth anniversary of Stravinsky’s modern classical masterpiece “The Rite of Spring,” the Tulare County Symphony will perform it as part of its concert this Saturday, March 2 at the Visalia Fox Theatre.
The symphony is hoping for a roar of applause for the famous piece but not anything like the uproar that made it infamous. “The Rite of Spring” debuted on May 29, 1913 in Paris as part of opening to Stravinsky’s ballet Le Sacre du Primtemps. The avant-garde nature of the music – with its dissonance, complex rhythm patterns and choreography making a complete break from the Romantithe 19th Century – caused a near-riot in the audience. Eye witness accounts of the performance say two factions in the audience became disoriented by the music, eventually turning their ire toward the orchestra which played on through hurling objects.
Although not appreciated at first, the ballet is now mentioned as the greatest single revolution in classical music since Beethoven’s “Eroica” Symphony in the early 1800s. “The Rite Of Spring” began to win acceptance as a concert piece just a year later and continues to be performed in concert halls all over the world.
Stravinsky himself is widely considered the greatest composer of the 20th Century, and the father of modern Classical music, largely on the strength of “The Rite of Spring.” His work has provided tone to countless cinematic scenes, most notably Disney’s Fantasia. Of the composers whose work was in the original Fantasia (1940), he was the only one living at the time. Stravinksy also holds the distinction of being the only classical composer to have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Also on the concert program is Gershwin’s beloved “Rhapsody in Blue.” This version of “Rhapsody in Blue” will be a different from what audiences are accustomed to as the solo part will be played on violin instead of piano. Guest artist Lindsay Deutsch is the only violinist to play this specially arranged version of Gershwin’s popular work. Only 26, Deutsch has been praised for her stage presence and style far beyond her years.
Deutsch made her solo orchestral debut at the age of 11 with the Clear Lake Symphony in Texas. She made her debut at the Disney Hall performing John Corigliano’s Red Violin Chaconne with the California Philharmonic. She was honored by being invited to perform the theme from“Schindler’s List” for John Williams at a gala dinner in his honor. Her movie credits include playing the solo violin sound track for the 2006 movie “The Good Shepherd” starring Robert De Niro.
The editors of the Cambridge Music Handbooks once opined that “The Rhapsody in Blue (1924) established Gershwin’s reputation as a serious composer and has since become one of the most popular of all American concert works.” The rhapsody has been used to portray New York City on stage and in film. It is considered to be a significant influence on many American artists including Michael Stipe of REM, Ben Folds of Ben Folds Five and Herbie Hancock.
Tickets are $20 to $39.50 at the Symphony office, 559-732-8600. Student prices are just $10. Tickets are also available at www.gorillatix.com. Come early at 6:45 p.m. for Music Director Bruce Kiesling’s behind-the-scenes talk about the music. The concert will begin at 7:30 p.m.