YouTube animation brings Rite of Spring to 21st century audiences

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Stravinsky's 20th century masterpiece meets 21st century technology with music animation. A high-tech treatment, available on YouTube, provides access for all to a work that has challenged listeners since its debut 100 years ago.

The ballet The Rite of Spring with music by Stravinsky was first performed in Paris on May 29, 1913.

The occasion caused a riot in the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées. Objects were thrown at the musicians. The police were called.

That was just the beginning. The Rite became arguably the most influential piece of music written in the 20th century. It broke the mold, from the elements of its composition, with its raw repeated patterns, defiance of the expected rhythmic form, combative polytonality, to its elemental use of non-Western melodies and harmonies.

Its influences can be heard in the compositions of many who followed, from Olivier Messiaen to Aaron Copland. It is one of the most recorded works in the classical repertoire, and was featured in the 1940 Disney film Fantasia.

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