The Rite of Spring vs. Rhapsody in Blue

1902 Words8 Pages
During the twentieth century, music began to evolve into different forms. The way music was being written was changing, it had complex ideals with dissonant chords, intricate melody lines and different styles of music were being created. In this era of music, two pieces essentially changed classical music. These were Le Sacre Du Printemps (The Rite of Spring) by Igor Stravinsky and Rhapsody in Blue by George Gershwin. The Rite of Spring premiered in 1913 at the Théâtre de Champs Elysées in Paris as a two-part ballet-suite. It was based off a vision that Stravinsky had after completing The Firebird, another ballet of his. He explained, “I dreamed of a scene of pagan ritual in which a chosen sacrificial virgin danced to her death” (Schonberg 480). About a decade later, George Gershwin premiered Rhapsody in Blue in 1924 at the Aeolian Hall at Paul Whiteman’s jazz concert. Gershwin was commissioned by Whiteman to write a piece for his concert with the jazz element; he wrote the Rhapsody in Blue (Ewen 291 “20th Century Music”). When these two pieces premiered, they caused stir in the classical musical world that would last almost a hundred years. While The Rite of Spring and Rhapsody in Blue both acted as catalysts for change in classical music, they are different in their structure and their style; however, The Rite of Spring is better. Ultimately, The Rite of Spring and Rhapsody in Blue changed in classical music. The Rite of Spring is considered a piece that changed about everything there was to know about music. Igor Stravinsky’s methods of composing The Rite of Spring were previously unheard of. For example, the piece begins with a bassoon solo in its highest register (Ewen 788 “20th Century Music”). The solo is notorious because when played it sounds more like an oboe than a bassoon due to the way it was written. The solo has been noted to cause the famous
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