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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