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Thread: Petrushka vs Rite of Spring

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    Question Petrushka vs Rite of Spring

    Two great Stravinsky works from his early Russian period. Which is the greater work in your opinion? Feel free to comment on either, or both, the music or/and the ballet dance itself.
    On my part, I’ve only seen the (reconstructed) choreographies of both by Vaslav Nijinsky. I’m not a particularly avid follower of ballets (indeed I know very little of its theory), but I do notice that Petrushka is much easier to follow. The Rite brilliantly depicts tension, but at times I’m just left beleaguered about what’s actually going on.
    In terms of music though, I incline more to the Rite. It took longer for it to grow on me, but when it eventually did, it cemented itself quickly as a favourite. The rhythms, tonalities, effects all go together wonderfully to create a sensational masterpiece.
    Petrushka, on the other hand, and just like the ballet, struck me easily from the first listening. In a sense, the Shrovetide Fair tableaus could be interpreted as glorified light music (a description in no way meant to degrade or insult their ingenuity). The middle two tableaus provided great contrast, although I found the second slightly difficult to follow in its purely musical form (it became much more digestible after I watched the ballet).
    Those are my thoughts. In no way am I a seasoned musician or listener, and my comments are definitely not to be considered of much critical value. But I’m certainly interested to know the thoughts of other people regarding these two sparkling gems.

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    Senior Member Larkenfield's Avatar
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    Petrushka has a Russian charm that the Rite of Spring doesn’t have; but the Rite of Spring has a primordial energy that Petrushka doesn’t have and it rearranged the musical molecules of the 20th century.
    Last edited by Larkenfield; May-23-2019 at 06:12.

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    Senior Member arpeggio's Avatar
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    In a best of seven game series I think Rite would win over Petruska and vice versa
    It is impossible to make anything foolproof because fools are so ingenious. And I am a very ingenious fellow

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    I enjoy both, of course. When I listen to Rite, I say 'wow'. As I listen to Petrushka, I say 'cool'.

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    Senior Member flamencosketches's Avatar
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    Le sacre wins for me. They're both good of course. But Le sacre features more of the color and "fire" that Stravinsky would become known for.

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    For me the Rite is about the only place I hear "fire" in Stravinsky. The rest, like someone said about Petrushka, is quite cool, even the Firebird. Bartok impresses me as the hotter composer of the two, avoiding Igor's neo-classicism.

    That quote by Igor about Vivaldi makes me laugh because they were so much alike, very recognizable by their habits.

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    Senior Member Zhdanov's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by david johnson View Post
    When I listen to Rite, I say 'wow'. As I listen to Petrushka, I say 'cool'.
    Quote Originally Posted by flamencosketches View Post
    Le sacre features more of the color and "fire" that Stravinsky would become known for.
    Quote Originally Posted by philoctetes View Post
    the Rite is about the only place I hear "fire" in Stravinsky. The rest, like someone said about Petrushka, is quite cool
    sure no, you people seem not getting the stuff at all, because of course it is Petrushka that is a lot more lively & full of passion. Le Sacre is in fact a very morose & gloomy piece that deals with a human sacrifice in the most cold way; and they dance like robots for a reason.

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    The Rite for me although it's very close. Petrushka is great but the Rite is a landmark work that came out of nowhere. Literally nothing like it had been heard before. The Firebird is probably the most conventionally beautiful work that Stravinsky ever wrote although it's not even remotely close to the Rite in terms of its originality. The fact that he wrote all three in as many years while still in his late twenties is enduring testament to his greatness, even if I find some of the works he produced in the last twenty years of his life somewhat difficult.

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    Senior Member Zhdanov's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chill782002 View Post
    the Rite is a landmark work
    it was made to be such by the media & scholarship.

    Quote Originally Posted by chill782002 View Post
    that came out of nowhere.
    nowhere? Rimsky-Korsakov & Debussy is where it comes from.

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    Senior Member flamencosketches's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zhdanov View Post
    sure no, you people seem not getting the stuff at all, because of course it is Petrushka that is a lot more lively & full of passion. Le Sacre is in fact a very morose & gloomy piece that deals with a human sacrifice in the most cold way; and they dance like robots for a reason.
    Well that's just like, your opinion man

    I think it varies on the interpretation: some present the human sacrifice as an act of passionate communion, a true religious experience; while others indeed present it as a cold act of utter disconnection from humanity. I think it's such a genius work because it works in both ways. "The beauty of ambiguity" as Leonard Bernstein would say.

    Quote Originally Posted by philoctetes View Post
    For me the Rite is about the only place I hear "fire" in Stravinsky. The rest, like someone said about Petrushka, is quite cool, even the Firebird. Bartok impresses me as the hotter composer of the two, avoiding Igor's neo-classicism.

    That quote by Igor about Vivaldi makes me laugh because they were so much alike, very recognizable by their habits.
    I definitely hear "fire" in all three of the big ballets, as well as several of his neoclassical works, including the Symphony of Psalms. That doesn't mean he doesn't somehow manage to keep it cool and contained simultaneously.

    I think the fact that we are all getting such vastly different impressions from Stravinsky's music is no less than a testament to his greatness.
    Last edited by flamencosketches; May-23-2019 at 21:44.

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    Senior Member Zhdanov's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by flamencosketches View Post
    some present the human sacrifice as an act of passionate communion
    this precursor to 20th century disasters with all its massive human sacrifice is?

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    Senior Member flamencosketches's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zhdanov View Post
    this precursor to 20th century disasters with all its massive human sacrifice is?
    I would say yes, from the perspective of some of the perpetrators in question. I didn't say that made it OK

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    Quote Originally Posted by flamencosketches View Post
    I would say yes, from the perspective of some of the perpetrators in question.
    that is, the USA?.. for it is there where Le Sacre is real big.

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    When it comes to violence, I wouldn't think of it in such black and white terms as nation A vs nation B. But let's not get political. This is the Ballet forum.
    Last edited by flamencosketches; May-23-2019 at 22:55.

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    Dancers should not step on each others' toes...

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