How Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring has shaped 100 years of music

The Rite of Spring was a revolutionary work for a revolutionary time. Its first performance in Paris, exactly 100 years ago on Wednesday, was a key moment in cultural history – a tumultuous scandal.

Written on the eve of the first world war and the Russian revolution, the piece is the emblem of an era of great scientific, artistic and intellectual ferment. No composer since can avoid the shadow of this great icon of the 20th century, and score after score by modern masters would be unthinkable without its model

Anxious Youth, Then and Now

Many of the same concerns and challenges faced the children of the industrial revolution, as the booms and busts of America’s wild 19th century tore apart the accepted order.

.. Today’s young adults are constantly rebuked for not following the life cycle popular in 1960. But a quick look at earlier eras shows just how unusual mid-20th-century young people were. A society in which people married out of high school and held the same job for 50 years is the historical outlier. Some of that era’s achievements were enviable, but they were not the norm.

 

Titanic identical twin – the Olympic

Because this ship isn’t the Titanic but its nearly identical twin sister, the Olympic, made at the same time, by the same people, to do the same job in the same way. (A single memorable image exists of the two ships in dock together.) The Olympic not only successfully completed its maiden voyage but became known as Old Reliable, serving as a troop carrier in the First World War, and sailing on for twenty years more. (A third, late-released liner in the same class, the Britannic, hit a mine in the Aegean, in 1916, while serving as a hospital ship, and sank, a true casualty of war.)

.. The German Kaiser kept saying that he would never again allow himself to be embarrassed by the British. Lloyd George, in London, felt that Britain had to go to war or it would never be “taken seriously” in the councils of Europe.