Prof. Lynn Garafola
Professor of Dance at Barnard College
at Columbia University, USA

A Century of Rites:
The Making of an Avant-Garde Tradition

Since the premiere of The Rite of Spring in 1913, there were produced lots of choreographic works to the celebrated Stravinsky music. This paper argues that The Rite of Spring, precisely because it is a lost ballet, comprises a body of ideas rather than a detailed choreographic script, and that this conceptual freedom allows both for the ballet’s reinvention and for the persistence of ideas associated with the original. One group of ideas centers on the ballet’s transgressiveness — its primitivism, violence, modernity, and repudiation of traditional ballet aesthetics. From this perspective The Rite is a model of formal radicalism. At the same time The Rite belongs to ballet’s canon. It was produced by Diaghilev’s Ballet Russes, an heir to the nineteenth-century Franco- Russian tradition and the progenitor of its 20th-century descendants. Also its central conceit — the death of the maiden — has a long ballet history. From the first, The Rite declared its centrality to ballet history, even as it rejected the conventions of the past.

Since 1913, choreographers have approached The Rite from numerous vantage points. Some have emphasized its violence; others its sexuality, primitivism, and terror. A few have thrown out the original scenario and the full score; most have discarded its ethnographic trimmings. Although most productions stress the ensemble, there have been a few heroic solo versions. Initially, ballet choreographers, albeit those identified as modernists, created the versions that followed Nijinsky’s Rite. But whatever the choreographer’s aesthetic position, The Rite continues to be a work that insists upon its modernity, its engagement with the contemporary world.

Keywords: “The Rite of Spring”, ballet’s canon, the academic dance,
sexuality and the primitive, transgressiveness, reinvention


Dr. Millicent Hodson
Choreographer, historian of dance

Death by Dancing in Nijinsky’s Rite

In this essay I discuss my reconstruction with Kenneth Archer of the 1913 Rite of Spring, which we premiered with the Joffrey Ballet in the US in 1987 and which we have staged with more than a dozen companies worldwide. In relation to photographs and performance extracts on video I raise the following issues about Nijinsky’s dance: the ethics of sacrifice in the ballet, isolation and collective action as organizing principles of the body and choreography, what Nijinsky did in The Rite, and why he called it “new dance”.
Our culture regularly sends its young to die in brutal battle. Jean Cocteau and other contemporaries of Nijinsky claimed Le Sacre du Printemps (The Rite) prefigured the sacrifice of their generation in what they called “The Great War.” What are the ethics of sacrifice revealed in the ballet? What was Nijinsky’s role in shaping the ethics demonstrated on stage? What is the nature of responsibility in The Rite?
Individuality and collective action are in constant tension in this ballet. Nijinsky pointed the way to modern dance with his redefinitions of the body, of stage space, and of the very subject of dance. He pointed further to postmodernism by making every dancer a soloist in The Rite. It is a ballet about massed energy, but isolation is as fundamental to the choreography as communal effects: movement of one part of the body while the rest is static; movement of one group while all others remain still; deepening degrees of separation for the Chosen One as the sacrificial solo approaches. I will discuss choreographic methods used by Nijinsky to achieve these effects.

But the focus will be on the significance for audiences then and now of Nijinsky’s methods. The Chosen One’s solo is an ordeal of exhaustion, not physical attack. If there is the brutality in The Rite, what is it? Does the ballet tell us something about Nijinsky’s own life as an artist?
The purpose of our reconstruction was to turn the legend of this ballet back into an artifact. The essay does not focus on choreographic proof of the reconstruction, about which Archer and I have widely published. Instead it considers the resulting artifact and asks what it means.

Keywords: reconstruction, choreography, sacrifice, counterpoint,
individuality, collective action, legend, artifact,
Stravinsky, Roerich, Nijinsky


Stephanie Jordan
Research Professor in Dance,
University of Roehampton

Rite of Spring as a Dance: Recent Re-visions

Hundreds of choreographers over the century have been both thrilled by the power and energy of Stravinsky’s Sacre score and shocked by its statement. Perhaps prompted by the 1987 Nijinsky reconstruction and a surge of interest in the Sacre legacy, some choreographers, especially since the 1980s, have explored its theme with a new sense of irony and fresh awareness of the burden of its past.
Using Bausch’s 1975 “classic” as a point of contrast, the paper discusses Sacres by such choreographers as Paul Taylor, Jerome Bel, Xavier Le Roy and Mark Morris, work that explores identity, relations between audience and performers, authorial power and dark humour. New ways of asserting the physicality and driving force of the score are also considered, such as taking machine motion to an absurd extreme as well as experimenting with a more flexible, or even entirely negative, musicality: the dance not being motorized by Stravinsky.

Keywords: Stravinsky, Le Sacre du Printemps, Bausch, Taylor, Bel, Le Roy, Morris


Anna E. Melovatskaya
Monographer, lecturer
of Bolshoi Ballet Academy and the Institute of Modern Arts.
Competitor at the State Institute of Art Study

Debut of “The Rite of Spring” in the USSR

The first performance of “The Rite of Spring” in the USSR was staged at the Bolshoi Theatre in 1965. Choreographers N. Kasatkina and V. Vasilyov wrote their own libretto, combining the musical form of suite with subject-matter ballet. The performance had a hard dramatic framework. The choreographers preserved and developed the theme of paganism of Slavonic peoples, laid by I. Stravinsky. Choreography of the performance was based on classical dance, combined with other plastic systems. The main was the synthesis of classical dance with the elements of dance folklore. Choreographers introduced so-called “bestial” and “avian” plastics into female images and elements of fighting arts into male ones. Plastic images of the Possessed and Elder Sage included the elements of ritual dances. Dance on pointes was also used. The main character of the ballet by Kasatkina and Vasilyov — the Shepherd — became a contemporary hero, at the same time being one of the first examples of a hero of a new type of 1960s.

Keywords: debut of “The Rite of Spring” in the USSR,
choreographers N. Kasatkina and V. Vasilyov,
subject-matter ballet, hard dramatic framework,
classical dance, contemporary hero


Vitaly A. Zhdanov
Postgraduate student
of Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory

Roman Nassonov
Associate professor of the Foreign Music History Subdepartment
of Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory

Restless Cosmopolitan or Classic of North German busic?
Kaspar Forster the Younger (1616¬1673)
in the Mirror of Historical Evidence and Modern Research

In this article the modern views on KasparForster the Younger’s works are critically reviewed and systematized and on this basis an opinion on his contribution on the mid-17th-century North German musical culture is given. Contemporaries of the composer have left rapturous reviews for his music, but Forster’s legacy came to us not completely (not preserved, in particular, the opera and other secular works written for the Danish court). The survived works form three groups: 1) the Latin hymns; 2) spiritual dialogues; 3) sonatas for two violins, viola da gamba and continuo. Conservative style of spiritual concerts can be explained by their relation to the musical traditions of Danzig, the hometown of Forster. Spiritual dialogues marked influence of music of Carissimi (perhaps one of Forster’s teachers); however, this branch of the composer’s heritage was not continued in the works of his German contemporaries. The sonatas are notable for their improvisational character and using the North German “stylus phantasticus”; in this genreForster’s impact on the work of Buxtehude who could be his disciple is most noticeable.
One of the key figures in the dissemination of Italian style in Germany, Forster helped his native region reach the level of the best achievements of European art. However, the greatest influence he achieved, apparently, in those genres, in which he took into account the peculiarities of the North German music traditions.
The translation of the documents about Forster’s life and work equipped with critical commentary is attached to the article.

Keywords: Baroque music, Kaspar Forster the Younger, Johann Mattheson, Marco Scacchi,
Giacomo Carissimi, Christoph Bernhard, Dieterich Buxtehude,
North German spiritual concert


Yulia S. Veksler
Doctor of Fine Arts,
Full Professor of the Music History Department
of the Nizh- niy Novgorod State Glinka Conservatory (Academy)

«The Dead City»…
Bruges in the Novel by G. Rodenbach
and in the Opera by E. W. Korngold

The article is devoted to comparison between the novel «The Dead Bruges» (1892) by the Belgian symbolist writer Georges Rodenbach and the opera «The Dead City» (1920) by the Austrian composer E. W. Korngold written on this plot. Rodenbach’s novel is a classic of the decadence with its cult of the fading. Bruges once abandoned by its residents is a symbol of death and silence. The image of dead city with frozen water channels, monotonous sound of bells, deserted quays has become a key to the work. Maeterlinck’s atmosphere of ossification and torpor is alien to Korngold. He is far from the decadent cult of death. In the opera the study of madness is accentuated and life is contrasted with death. The protagonist who moved to Bruges after the death of his wife, does not kill his sweetheart; everything that happens to him is just a terrible vision caused by mind aberration. In Korngold’s interpretation the dead city is an alter ego of the main character, turning into the landscape of the subconscious, which gives birth to bizarre visions. However, there is no analogy with the expressionist drama. Korngold opposes life to death and completes the opera with life-affirming ending. This optimistic concept was probably inspired by the composer’s father, a famous music critic Julius Korngold known as a reactionary and an opponent of the newest trends in music. Thus the plot is transported to another era, which is not only familiar with Freud’s discoveries concerning the unconscious, but also overcomes the temptations of individualism in the anti-romantic rebellion.

Keywords: Austrian music of the 20th century, symbolism, decadence,
Vienna modernism, George Rodenbach, Erich Wolfgang Korngold,
Julius Korngold, new music, operatic dramaturgy


Marina V. Karaseva
Doctor of Fine Arts,
Full Professor of the Music Theory Subdepartment
of Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory

Teacher, Student and Space “2.0”:
Features of Changing Communicative Relations
in Modern Music Pedagogy

Modification of the virtual space, which arose at the present stage of its development, — Web 2.0 (the term proposed by Tim O’Reilly) — opens up new wide opportunities for communication of musicians, including communication in the educational process. The article describes the structure of Web 2.0 and shows the influence of its services on the musical practice, in particular, the emergence of new models of professional and educational communication. Noted acceleration of professional contacts, the emergence of new forms of academic communication (including distance learning) and the fact that the availability of teaching aids, music scores and recordings, increased due to their placement in the network; therefore increased the possibility to open a public discussion of the problems of musical art and music education in specialized forums. Modern students have good skills in computer technology and can freely enjoy the rich potential of Web 2.0. It cannot be said about many of the teachers of the old school, who have a number of psychological problems with the transition to the new educational technology. Meanwhile, it should be borne in mind that at all times the talent of the teacher is not just to give the student the amount of knowledge, but to teach him thinking for themselves and navigate the changing information environment. The Web 2.0 technologies can only actualize this pedagogical approach.

Keywords: Web 2.0, computer technology, information environment,
new forms of academic communication, distance learning,
music education, music pedagogics


Elena V. Rovenko
Ph. D., Teaching Assistant of the Foreign Music History Subdepartment,
Researcher of the Research Center for Methodology
of Historical Musicology
of Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory

Nicolas Poussin and the Doctrine of Musical Modes

One of the guidelines of Nicolas Poussin’s aesthetics declared in the master’s letters is the theory of modes coming from antiquity. The artist derived this theory from Gioseffo Zarlino’s musical treatise «Le Istitutioni Harmoniche». In spite of permanent researchers’ interest to this fact, its new interpretation doesn’t seem excessive. The question is: in what way this theory is realized in Poussin’s creative practice and defines inherent musicality of Poussin’s canvases. First of all, after the Italian theorist the artist considers a mode in general-logical sense, as a rational method of organization of any thing and a way of its streamlined existence, and he actualizes concepts ratio and ordo in aesthetic context of classicism. Thus Poussin almost identifies the concept of mode with measure according to which it is necessary «to arrange» any fine thing including a painting. It is easy to see echoes of Aristotelian ideas in such a thesis.

However the master takes into consideration also several complementary meanings of the word mode, which is equated with style or expressive manner. Poussin transfers properties of concrete musical modes to the sphere of painting. It is necessary to find definite logical principles for such extrapolation, and Poussin focuses his attention on ethos of each mode, because it allows to deduce certain correspondences between characters of modes and types of plots suitable for them. And though the baroque principle of varietas produces rich opportunities for variable embodiment of any mode, there are reasons for discovering such parameters of a picture, which favour interpreting a composition on a canvas as «sounding» in a certain mode.

Among these parameters the first place is won by features of the metrical-rhythmical organization of the whole (visual sensation of tempo of alternation of composition elements; regularity of rhythmical outline; metrical grid of picture; binary or ternary partition of compositional structure; presence and type of compositional symmetry). «Sounding» of a canvas is also influenced by its color set-up (coloristic rhymes; dominating tone; colour range). Analysis of well-known Poussin’s allows to draw a conclusion concerning the special role of Dorian mode as it embodies category of order with the greatest completeness — which is equally significant both for antiquity and for the French classicism — and more perfectly than any other mode demonstrates the source meaning of the word mode.

Keywords: musical mode, Poussin, Zarlino, composition of a work of painting,
coloristic and metrical-rhythmical structure of a picture


Vyacheslav G. Tsypin
Doctor of Fine Arts,
Leading Researcher of the Research Center
for Methodology of Historical Musicology
of Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory

Sergey N. Lebedev
Ph. D., Associate Professor,
Leading Researcher of the Research Center
for Methodology of Historical Musicology
of Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory

Cleonides. Harmonic Introductory

Translation and commentary by Vyacheslav Tsypin. Preface by Sergey Lebedev.

Harmonic Introduction by Cleonides is probably the most popular Ancient Greek text on music theory. Written in Aristoxe- nian tradition, it contains a full set of definitions (with brief explanations) related to harmonics, the leading discipline of the scientific mousike ramplex. The present paper includes preface (brief survey of 500 years of Cleonidian studies, review of authorship and dating problems) by Sergey Lebedev and the new Russian translation of Cleonides’ text (with explanatory notes) by Vyacheslav Tsypin.

Keywords: Cleonides, history of Western music theory, harmonics, terminology of music