Riot at the Champs Elysées Theatre - 1913

The inscription on the title page of Riot at the Champs Elysées Theatre – 1913 is “This piece was written to commemorate the first performance of Stravinsky’s ’The Rite of Spring’, given at the Champs Elysées Theatre in Paris on 29 May 1913”. Written in 2013, the piece thus celebrates the 100th Anniversary of that performance.

It was written for an ensemble consisting of flute, clarinet, violin, ‘cello, double bass, percussionist (4 tom-toms) and piano, and lasts just over 2 minutes.

My intention was not to quote from ‘The Rite of Spring’, but to make reference to a section from it, those stamping rhythms that are the basis of the ‘Augurs of Spring’. Hence the opening uses similar rhythms without quoting a single note. The piece then develops along its own lines, expressing the riot that accompanied the first performance of the ‘The Rite’. After a brief moment of reprise, perhaps suggesting more what the audience of the day expected to hear, the riot resumes and the piece ends unresolved with a crash.

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