The Rite of Spring Goes Solo

No Orchestra. No Ballet. Just Piano.

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Monday, May 13, 2013

On May 29, Q2 Music and Soundcheck marked the 100th anniversary of the premiere of Igor Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring.

Vicky Chow of Bang on a Can performs her solo piano arrangement of a work intended for an orchestra and a ballet troupe. Hear this groundbreaking, riot-inducing composition in an unusual, stripped-down arrangement. (Please note: Rioting is discouraged at this performance.)

Plus: Phil Kline talks about the vast, complex and controversial discography of Rite recordings. Hosted by Soundcheck's John Schaefer. Formerly scheduled guest Sara Fishko has had to withdraw due to injury.

NOTE: Due to license restrictions this video has been removed.

'The Rite of Spring Goes Solo' is part of Q2 Music's Rite of Spring Fever—a 24-hour marathon on May 29 hosted by Phil Kline of contrasting interpretations of Stravinsky's masterpiece and a complementary web portal of interviews, testimonials and interactive features.


Phil Kline

Hosted by:

John Schaefer

Comments [4]

Tim Brown from Washington DC

Vicky Chow gives an amazing performance - Rythmic, lyrical, explosive, dynamic, exciting, and seemingly effortless. I've playing this concert all week. Miss Chow might Bang On A Can but she does much more than bang on a piano. Like!

Jun. 05 2013 09:49 AM
Richard Friedman from Music from Other Minds, Oakland CA

I wonder which piano reduction this is. Before the full score was ever played, Stravinsky performed his piano version to Dhiagalev and others. There are a number of instances in various memoirs that record the reaction of his playing the piece on a single piano.

It is a reduction. And of course the full value is only felt in the orchestration. But what a piano piece, even for 1911!

Clearly, it's really hard! and Vicky Chow gets massive kudos for this near perfect performance.

BTW, isn't there a piano roll that Stravinsky recorded somewhere out there?

Thanks, Q2, for making this available. Wish I could have been there!

Jun. 04 2013 05:10 PM

The video does not work. I clicked play and got a "Video not found or access denied" message. Can someone fix this, please?

Jun. 03 2013 04:35 AM
Ted Cerame from Perris, California

“Rite of Spring goes solo:”

Vicky Chow is a wonderfully creative and talented musician. I did enjoy her solo interpretation of the Rite of Spring. However, the piece was intended to be performed by a full orchestra and a ballet. That is the form which brings full justice to the composition. Regardless of that I have nothing but admiration her performance. Her command of her instrument is superb.
But again as with any composition, (especially opera), every different conductor and orchestra places their own finger prints upon it. The more complex the score the more difficult it is to correctly interpret it. Only a remarkable conductor such as James Levine has given full justice to Wagner’s Ring Cycle not to mention all the operas he tackled. This is why the local smaller houses are not graced with a great following such as the Met has; they simply do not have the genius and expertise and the peak of talent to recreate the music as closely to the intentions of the composer as is humanly possible.
Vicky Chow deserves our respect and gratitude for a performance marked by,
“…the peak of talent,” and there-by for giving Rite of Spring full justice in an
inventive, original solo instrument presentation.
I join the audience in giving her a standing ovation clapping and singing, “Bravo!”

As a side note I realize that many people will mock me but from the onset when I
first heard Patruska as a very young man I considered it my favorite ballet over
the Rite of Spring. I still do. You figure it out.

Good listening,


Jun. 02 2013 06:29 PM

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