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Listening Outlines

Igor Stravinsky

Le Sacre du printemps (The Rite of Spring)

(Introduction, Omens of Spring--Dances of the Youths and Maidens, Ritual of Abduction)

Instrumentation: piccolos (2), flutes (3), alto flute, oboes (4), English horn, clarinet (E flat), clarinets (3), bass clarinets (2), bassoons (4), contrabassoons (2), French horns (8), piccolo trumpet (D), trumpets (4), trombones (3), tubas (3), timpani (8), bass drum, triangle, antique cymbals, strings

Over the years, Le Sacre du printemps (The Rite of Spring) of 1913 has remained Stravinsky's best known work. This is due, in part, to the fact that in addition to its musical uniqueness, The Rite serves as a virtual compendium of the early twentieth century music vocabulary. More specifically, as a result of the work's seemingly unromantic, asymmetrical, and violent nature, The Rite of Spring is often classified as the prime example of musical primitivism.

22) High bassoon with introductory melody (adapted from a Lithuanian folk song)

:08 French horn.
:16 Clarinets, and bass clarinets.
:26 High bassoon.
:37 English horn enters with a new melodic idea
:44 High bassoon and bass clarinet.
1:02 Strings and oboe with repeated notes (pizzacato) introduce a high clarinet melody.
1:12 Oboe phrase accompanied by flutes.
1:18 English horn phrase supported by bass clarinets.
1:37 Short figure in the flute introduces pulsating notes in cellos, oboe (pizzacato), the pace quickens with rapid shifts between large and small wind groups (typical characteristic of Stravinsky's music).
1:50 Clarinet.
2:00 Oboe accompanied by flute.
2:04 Very high clarinet (ff).
2:18 Piccolo trumpet enters as music builds to climax, layers of woodwind and brass sound continually added to produce a seemingly chaotic mass of orchestral sound.
2:29 Sudden stop and reappearance of solo bassoon (folk song).
2:38 Trill in clarinet.

23) Pizzicato violins present a short ostinato figure shown below.

:08 Low sustained tones in bass clarinet.
:12 Violins (high).
:15 Ostinato figue returns in pizzicato violins.


Omens of Spring -- Dances of the Youths and Maidens
24) Strings enter suddenly with repeated dissonant polychord punctuated by French horns. The passage is illustrated below (note the irregular accents).

:09 English horn and supporting bassoon ostinato.
:13 Strings with repeated dissonant polychord punctuated by French horns.
:18 Piccolos, trumpets, and oboes join.
:25 Bassoon trill introduces rapid interjections by the trumpet and piccolos.
:38 Strings repeat the dissonant polychord with sudden interjections by French horns.

25) Bassoons join with melodic fragment played staccato stings.

:20 Bassoons repeat the melodic fragment which is imitated by the oboes, flute, and trombone.
:32 The pulse breaks suddenly. French horns sound a sustained tone accentuated by timpani strokes and very loud tubas.
:38 High ostinato figure descends to English horn (mf), trills in winds and strings.
:45 Loud ostinato in violins and trumpet.

26) A legato melody is introduced by the French horns and answered by the flute

:12 Oboe and trumpet.
:21 Legato melody in alto flute answered by high flutes and accompanied by strings (pizzicato).
:32 High flute takes legato melody.

27) New melody as illustrated below.

:16 Strings with syncopated accents.
:25 Piccolo with high legato melodic fragment (note low trombone and contrabassoon).
:34 Full orchestra sounds repeated melodic fragments in gradual crescendo and layering of orchestral sounds.


Ritual of Abduction
28) Brass chord with sudden tympani strokes. High trumpet, rapid-note fanfare in very fast tempo and changing meters.
:13 Horn, piccolo, and flutes in alternating rapid-note fanfare.
:22 Timpani and bass drum join in a crescendo
:33 High woodwinds and brasses with staccato passage in changing meters.
:41 Horn calls.
:48 Full orchestra.

29) Staccato phrases are punctuated by timpani strokes. Note the cnahging meters and high notes in trumpets and winds.
:06 Repeated figure in strings punctuated by timpani.
:17 Violin trill and accented chord.
:20 Flute trill.

Copyright 1998 by the McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
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