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Online Course

First Nights - Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring: Modernism, Ballet, and Riots

Harvard University via edX

Overview

Igor Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring premiered in Paris in 1913, sparking a riot and screaming so loud that the dancers could not hear the orchestra, and the choreographer had to shout numbers from backstage to keep the dancers on beat.

The Rite of Spring continues to challenge listeners. According to Stravinsky, The Rite of Spring was intended to portray “the surge of spring, the magnificent upsurge of nature reborn.” As you will see, Stravinsky’s description is almost frighteningly apt!

Harvard’s Thomas Forrest Kelly (Morton B. Knafel Professor of Music) guides learners through The Rite of Spring , highlighting not only the contributions of Stravinsky, the composer, but also those of his collaborators. Professor Kelly takes learners through the ballet’s development, rehearsals, and finally, premiere performance, and he explores just how and why The Rite of Spring challenged (and to a certain extent, continues to challenge) its listeners.

You will learn about the ballet’s innovative choreography, the basics of 20th-century orchestral form and technique, and the circumstances of this ballet’s first performance and subsequent history. Learners in this course need not have any prior musical experience.

Taught by

Thomas Forrest Kelly

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Reviews

4.5 rating, based on 2 reviews

Start your review of First Nights - Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring: Modernism, Ballet, and Riots

  • Kristina Šekrst completed this course and found the course difficulty to be medium.

    WOW! What a series! What a course! Along with ANU's Astrophysics series, I believe these MOOCs are the best Internet can offer. And I've completed more than 80, so I believe that counts as something. I've completed this course today, and I rushed to...
  • Taniyah M Englett completed this course, spending 2 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be hard.

    I think that modern music is a good way of trying to tell your fans and the people that love you how you feel about whats going on in your life.some people may not realize how important music actually is, in reality people really think that its just...

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