« Stuff You Missed in History Class

The Rite of Spring Riot

2011-06-29 | 🔗

Riots are a distressingly common part of human history, and the strangest events can trigger widespread violence. In this episode, Deblina and Sarah take a closer look at one of history's strangest riots. Tune in to learn more.

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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Day on the I heard, radio apple podcast or wherever you get your pockets, Welcome to stuff you missed in history class from house of works dot com welcome to the last time there daddy and I'm going to check the boarding, and today we want to be doing with the judge, is universally road enters the job that we cover the ballet Ruth and she said she couldn't guarantee us an explanation. She knows that's one of our favorite topics as long have banned, but she also said them the material really sold. It felt their great dancers, their great composers, there's an influential impresario plus there. Let us candles and mental breakdown, then some pretty fallacious performances to the afternoon of a fawn. I think, that's all. I have to say there are few. He know about dance. If you don't, you can go. Look that went up on yours on your own. If she's not
get into the details, but what we drawn into was the promise of a riot here, what you know how he love those on me: twenty nine nineteen! Thirteen there is a riot during the day view of the right of spring, and this was different from the last artistic riot that we podcast it on. You may remember the Astor Place Riot and now in wasn't about the war which was Macbeth thirty, the lander cohesion. It was about the rivalry rather between few actors about class conflict and about anglo american tensions as well yeah. This one, though, is about the work of the premier. It's about the dance and the music and even the costumes class conflict and about anglo american tensions as well yeah. This, when, though, is that the work of the per mere it's about the dance and the music and even the cost him get people enrage all shockingly another time, disturbingly different, a new to the audience that was black, set them off in the first place. But before
or before we start talking about the work. Just try to imagine a piece of music and a dance that just with so our side of the norm thought that of what you are used to that in infuriated you to the point of getting out of your plush read the and scream at this stage and and getting really really upset yelling and causing a ruckus. I mean just just try to get that mines that, for we get going Vienne once you have that going we'll start off with a little bit of background. So when the right of spring prepared all indications, suggest It would be a huge had, first and foremost, it was written by a young, superstar, composer eager, striven ski I'm sure. Many of you have heard of him. It was choreographed by the beloved answer. Vasile Nugent Ski and, of course it was stay by the hottest ballet company in Europe at the time the ballet Ruth a complete smash than search idea
I've started at five years before this year, because he's the man who founded the company and because he brought together the people who were involved in creating the right of spring solely fitting. We talk about him. I really think that all three man we mentioned- could be their own pike subjects. They have very interesting lies, but condemn a little because retiring mother riot, not everybody involved, but the other was born. Russia in eighteen, seventy two to landed nobility and he had. I guess cover sad start life. His mother, I'd only a few weeks after he was born. His father was a colonel of, but his step. Mother, really an influential presidents in his life. He encouraged his artistic inclinations. he had a really happy luxurious at bringing the family, for instance, had an apartment in Saint Petersburg, a country estate, and
a provincial twenty or a mansion, and they were really friendly and open. They hosted people, they had folks living with them. I think I found one account. either the estate of the twenty room Mansion had an outdoor table, a porch table seated fifty. So you can imagine the kind of upbringing this this man, yeah and is fairly was really generous, but unfortunately, that generosity caught up to them they went bankrupt and Diego I've had to support them while studying law, but he also indulge in his artistic side once in a while. He started hanging out with a group of sophisticates. He met through his cousin, slash boy friend here that something how does it share so this group made up some of the core member the eventual ballet ruse, so after graduation, Diego I've decided he would become a composer instead of or he would follow his dream, see that artistic inclination- and at this time one of the pre eminent russian company,
as with Nickolay Room Ski course, Sakharov and classical music fans will know him as one of the five or the mighty handful. A group of young composers who decades earlier had tried to get russian music back to its roots. They took inspiration from doing things like russian folklore in fairy tales and they scored the imperial valleys and offers yet Santiago. I've got this meeting with rims Chiquita cop who at this point, is whether the godfather of russian Music and he has his work completely dismissed by this old master, and he does stick out for himself a little bit. I think actually is Canada, smart heat I mean- and I mean that in a bad way, he I think he tell them. You're gonna regret what you said. It's gonna be printed in your bag or fees someday you'll, be so embarrassed and by then it'll be too late to take it back. For me, just imagine,
young man to the master, but he did start composing. So I guess he took the lesson to heart. Douglas decided that was not his career track, probably for the bad, because his tree tat lay in management. He decided he become a patron of the arts, not an artist, though of course he had sir. He had to be clever about that because he was not a wealthy man anymore. If you're gonna be a patron of arts and have your own money, you ve gotta be resourceful. Yes, so after a few years of staging artistic missions in Russia and a job at the then bureaucratic imperial theatre. He The show on the road. For one thing, he did this for a couple of reasons for one he was patriotic. He wanted Europe to know his country, but he also knew that just as all things, french all the rage and Russia. At the time, provisions were also enchanted by the idea. old Russia. Its opulence is its exoticism, and so he thought that it would
easy Sal. Here they had a romantic idea of what Russia was or what it is still so Nineteen o nine, the angle of plug the best answers from Russia, inform the ballet Ruth and the companies early years really capitalize on that perception of Russia as exotic and romantic, and if you look up some pictures from the costumes, for instance. At this point you can you can tell that the flyers there very there almost erotic in some cases and the pity me of that- a static that romantic exotic aesthetic was the company's principle, dancer, boss, lovely density, and he eventually became doubtless lover and they just he was the son of dancers, though he had grown up in this environment and he was really famous for his leaps almost like he could fly so when he D viewed in in Paris than in the rest of Europe, it was, unlike anything, people had ever seen before,
I mean the same goes for many of the other dancers and the company, but legitimately in particular, really stead how he and the third member of our trio also came in at the beginning of this whole story of the ballet ruse. He was also young, and also obviously russian eager striven Ski nostril Linsky was the son of a famous operatic base and he had grown up just behind the Imperial Theatre, so Canada special place to growth, if you're interested in music, I guess he took piano and music theory and his house was filled with music and theatre to that. Still when it was time for school, he studied law and philosophy. That seems to be a Here. The study of long legs would be lawyer, but while at Saint Petersburg University he showed some of sir works to someone that we have heard of before the father of a fellow student, none other than risky Corsica. So really Corsica gave him a better reaction, and he had given to the angle of actually took him on as a private students
story turned a little better there, for him definitely will servants the obviously displayed the mortality composing, but risky course cover also helped him get some gigs going to so he started having performance and started having his music for armed and the Algarve came into the picture in nineteen o nine when he attended one of these performances and herds, Trimmin Skis Music and decided. He wanted to commission him right away for the ballet Ruth summaries and forgot the music for that and then for the nineteen Tansy than he commission. The Firebird Of course, this is only one of the most famous ballets. It's it's absolutely one that staged by most companies, I think pretty frequently oh yeah, I'm in my valet company. I was in the Northeast Alabama when I was growing up, did a production of the fire it every year. Were you in the fire period? Now I wasn't, then it I wasn't a nutcracker though ok is lacking. a servant. Composer of really different ballet, never mind moving on, but anyway this made striven scheme
up overnight and then the next year it was another hit for him and the ballet routes with Patricia and in this way the djinn ski danced the lead, but the while well, servants gives working on Patricia he's, also working on something else, something that has very modern founders, we're going to learn, but something that ancient too certainly has ancient route. So
going to have to go back again. A little better. Take sleigh instruments key also wanted to make something uniquely russian. He was also patriotic like risky course. The cover dog love and he really liked fairy tales and rational legends, especially though he had grown up suffering in a small village called this dialogue and villagers would still come out and celebrate the harvest in the planting during during his youth and they celebrate with festival of and dances, and they would think thongs with their untrained voices and play homemade instruments and really just have a good time, and it will produce a very unique found that captivated Dubinsky. So he wrote the right of spring to try to capture that celebratory chaos, even though in the ballets cave it's not just a harmless vessel. It's not it's not entirely happy occasion, it's a pagan human sacrifice spoil
in case you, you didn't know what happened at the end of the right of spring. We gotta mentioning the chosen one, who is a young maiden dances herself to death. So it's a disturbing story of of liberation yeah and to achieve that have hazard, distorted sound of the celebration and to imitate the untrained voices and the homemade instruments. Striven Ski knew. He'd have to manipulate the traditional instruments of the orchestra, so he paired them up and odd camboss. He would have one group play triplets, while the other one played Quadruplex, and most memorably he moved some of the instruments so far outside of their range. They became unrecognizable. So those are just a few things he did to achieve that really unique sound and here's what the Paris audience at the nineteen thirteen premier first heard.
So that's a very unusual found and a composer who was in attendance at the premier Camille so far basically had white. Is that what instrument is that in his seat may told him it's. The pursue an end so far is supposedly so scandalised by this information. He reportedly fad, if it's the best. Soon I am a boon and walked out of, though he did not like hearing the bassoon played in this very unusual register at all. Well, in that, wasn't even the only instrument that people had trouble where there were some other strange sounding instruments that chimed in as well. There was an english horn and e flat clear net, a base, clarinet and actually contempt San Francisco symphony musician has described the sound as I quote, jungle just to give you an idea of what it within the impressions might have been like. So people were hissing. They started
yeah. Well, somewhere, cheering F, you folks, like death. They wanted to keep hearing it. Then the first stance tablet open and music made a kind of terrifying transition. Remember So that's scary, staffing and you just heard the music that we're gonna talk about the dance, see what was going on on stage with this pounding, frightening music,
the dancers weren't gracefully pirouetting about they were grouped in a circle there, jumping up and down with both feet together and it looks painfully, it looks very violent, an agency, the answer later Rico, I quote with every leap. We landed heavily enough to jar every organ enough in it, and it looks like that it looks heavy in an uncomfortable, but because the dancers were also doing this, move where they rest their heads on their hands and switch handsome and pitch their heads back and forth. Some people started adding get them a dentist, so people were were not only upset by what they were hearing the strange, the thin noise and and all of that, but what they were seeing and a third issue was the costumes dances were wearing these scanty form, filling costumes that it has some people at that time were going to the ballet. you know they wanted to see the answer than
and see that allows a gold. The pretty you never really beautiful costs have is that the treaty can get up, and these folks were wearing tune eggs. They were wearing long, fake braid. They had parted, lay flags him, and you can look at these costumes, as I mentioned, but the best way to picture it is almost like buckskin their they'd. They dont let grateful they look very primitive and people they hated it. They did not like that aspect of instruments. Key panic to this point. He starts to head back stage the Aguilar for his part flashes the house lights at this point, trying to calm people down, but the orchestra kept playing and young must have guessed that something like this would go down. He he hadn't mentioned that fear, tester Vinci or the jiffy at all, but he had told the conductor, Pierre, until to keep playing no matter what fell. So the orchestra just keeps on playing
music, which must have been difficult because there are some crazy rhythms and the right of spray. I have to imagine it would be tough to play if, if you couldn't what you are planning, but that was the only problem. I mean what about the dancer as they couldn't hear, either in and makes it pretty hard to dance. If you can't hear the beat of the music, so Medynsky the chair and leaned out to call off the numbers from biotic announcing for them and striven ski held his coat tails to keep him from falling leaned that far out in the police were, of course, called in and there's the really good quote. I think from Harvard Professor Thomas Kelly describing the effect of the music on the audience. He said the pagans onstage made pagan
the audience than it anyway. You have to wonder who were these people where this is now a classic piece of music at the it's about lay that was certainly influential. Who were the people? He just couldn't stand it and it was long assume that they were just kind of old fogey. You know they wanted to see, like we mentioned earlier, that the classic teach you in and the pure wedding, but didn't go to the valley, Ruth for that kind of experience. Anyway, and recently, one of the latest aggravates Antioch. Love has shaken up that assumption that that these were the old fellow he said that they were actually the guy the people who were at the head of trends that they felt like this piece of music, this stance just eclipsed. Even then they didn't want to get left behind so violently at noon. One Upton edginess they were so, of course, the right of spring doesn't sound quite so shocking. Now, that's because a lot of later tat, twentieth century music was influenced by it. Pbs actually host this great series by the San Francisco Symphony called
keeping score answer and I both watched it and the programme contravene skis, score and artistic revolution, something that redefined twentieth century music and one of the sun symphonies musicians even calls it rock and roll, and I think why doesn't sound so shocking to us now is because it is very familiar you you recognize their in later classical music, but in other music forms tee I mean, even if you don't listen to, I think, that's rock and roll. I mean it clearly has an effect on unaware. Music went further, the rest, the century and it certainly defines prevents where coming after this, the Firebird might have made maiden blob overnight
this defined his career, and he did of course, go on to enjoy a very long career Polly, making this even more impressive that he had something like this so early on. He went on composing in the fifties and sixtys. He started composing twelve tone music and he lived until the nineteen seventies. Actually, though, recordings we heard were conducted by Mr Vinci and this work didn't just influence music, it also once choreography, as well as the choreography emergency. Here was really influential. It I mean if you look at it, looks like modern dance. That's what I thought when I first read about this as well as well, when you see I mean the costumes, the movements, everything kind of reminds you of that that, because the right of spring was only performed eight times and because indigent ski had a mental breakdown, twenty nine and ended up spending the rest of his life in an hour silence the choreography was until recently
last year in eighteen. Eighty, seven though we have this really interesting sort of forensic dance story, the Jaffrey ballet restored the original choreography and they brought in a dance system, and in an art historian and those two drew from reviews and from dancers clothes and from drawings and photos and even from Striven Skis notes on the stage direction, which had sort of general instructions like their this many groupings on the stage, but not exactly what they were doing to to get that information. They. Finally, found the score with we're a graphic notes and it was discovered in nineteen. Eighty two and to me the idea of reconstructing a dance is, though it's almost impossible for meta to comprehend. Yeah, it's one of those instances where history and aren't meat so clearly I think it's really fascinating, but when watching their restored ballet, you also get a p
what the costumes would have looked like an action. They were designed by Nicholas Rhetoric and they look primitive but also really modern. At the same time and the fact that people would go to trouble to restore a valet, really just speak city effect in the importance of the ballet roofs on dance. Yet after the Isle of Staff and nineteen, twenty nine, the the belly Ruth disbanded, I think it almost immediately, but his employees branched out across the world to start some of the pre eminent companies of today. The american ballet Theatre, New York City, ballet San Francisco, ballet all direct descendants from the ballet Ruth as our companies everywhere so listener. Emily, who I mentioned at the beginning of this podcast, said that there would be no exclamation and a story, but there actually is one of sorts. In February of this year, the BBC reported that Sir, footage of the ballet reuse.
Only known footage that is had been discovered, Miss labelled in an online archive and Diego love. I mean the reason there was no footage before is because he has prohibited filming of the ballet, since he didn't think that it could do his movements justice there. So, the sooner artistic exclamation and there's no body involved, but some dance close enough. I'm. I was pleased by by discovering this and getting to watch it. It's all her stall, so it it's not it's not the right of spring it. It is the nice costume than it looks very proper, but still is Ellie Roofs and it's all a guy- and I just want to mention- even if you haven't ever seen this
Ballet- or you don't believe in God, a ballet or listen to classical music. You Polly are familiar with the right of spring because it is maybe most famously associated with Walt Disney Fantasia. There is, of course, a lie: extended sequence of the road sprang with the dinosaurs, the you know, it's kind of a sad part of hand here for sure and would have ever seen. Fantasia. No, I'm sorry, look cyrillic, so sharp dream and I'm sure I have like a vhf of it. When we review we still have a vcr you can you can look up, we could look at this part on line. I mean it's, it's not it's! Not that the part that will you normally watch and he's like the dancing have Bower Mickey and the broom, but it's still a pretty pretty memorable scene and panties
all right. Well, I'm gonna, head to the video store, apparently took up a copy of Fantasia. If anyone has anything else to add to this point cast any stories that we must obviously acerra said we could have done an individual podcast on any of these characters. Some sure there's lots of details of their lives that we have encouraged. Maybe we will in the future or if he had any great answers stories that you want to share with us, because I don't know I've been some pretty good ones into some pretty good ballets and some yeah, there's really interesting. Interpretation stuff happens that at theater and valleys for sure it really does so give us a gave us an email, yes about us. It gives the call back. can't colors tat, I wasn history pod, how stuff works, not com or you give up on twitter at Mister History or on Facebook, I have one last cool fact: worry you kind of a fine back. That's why we included in the body of the pie, cats, but the final
four note of the base partner in the starter, for the very end of the right of spring. Coincidentally, spell e g parental leave. Your net spooky musical now a coincidence he was rushing, he wasn't trying to work English code, vintage composition or was perhaps Renault now tell me, for a little bed and check out the blogs while you're at it, where W W W dot housetop works. Darker. restored to check out our new video podcast stuff from the Future Joint house,
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