At first glance Stravinsky seems to have got it pretty much covered – it’s the first dance, the Danse des Adolescents, of the Rite of Spring we’re talking about here – the precision of a metronome mark…
… a clear dynamic ( f for the strings and sf for the eight horns), articulation marks (. = staccato and > = accented) for every note, and bowing ( = down bows) for all the strings parts. And yet, apart from the metronome marking – and conductors (including Stravinsky himself) have frequently chosen to ‘modify’ that absolute slightly – everything else is relative (how loud is f ??)
Below are four different conductors’ takes on this opening stamping dance: which do you think is the right Rite?
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2 thoughts on “The right Rite?”
Probably the first one, but I bet I’m wrong. It takes a while to get used to the slow ones after the first one, but the final fast one just sounds confusing.
Paul, there’s no wrong answer to the question “Which do YOU think is right?”!
My own approach, when set this kind of test, is that I know what I EXPECT to hear — and if and when I hear it I say: “Yes, that’s right!” Makes me a) a victim of my past, and b) a deadful old stick-in-the-mud — I know — but still I have to say that in this case the right performance for me is number 1.
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