The Rite and the riot become entangled in memory making this event, as he puts it, "some kind of gate to modernism, to the 20th Century."He = Esteban Buch, director of studies at the School of Advanced Studies in Social Science in Paris.
There had been some noise two weeks earlier at the premiere of Debussy's ballet, Jeux, and critics had heaped abuse on Vaslav Nijinsky's choreography. Now Nijinsky had choreographed the Rite of Spring - rumoured to be the last word in Russian primitivism or modernist chic, depending who you believed. So part of the audience may well have been predisposed to be outraged.Picture yourself, 100 years ago, losing your composure over this:
"There was an existing tremor in the air against Nijinsky before any curtain went up," says Stephen Walsh, professor of music at Cardiff University. Others say the trouble began with the start of the overture and its strangled bassoon melody, and other strange sounds never before conjured from an orchestra.
Igor Stravinsky, for his part, said the storm only really broke after the overture, "when the curtain opened on the group of knock-kneed and long-braided Lolitas jumping up and down".