It is the first day of spring and, naturally, Igor Stravinsky is on everyone’s mind. Well, perhaps not everyone’s, but he is powerfully on the minds of The Bad Plus. That trio of restless and sometimes disturbing seekers are adapting Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring, a piece that nearly a century ago sent even more shock waves through the music world than The Bad Plus sends today. National Public Radio’s Weekend Edition Sunday launched into spring with a feature on a marriage that seems less unlikely the more you hear about it. To listen to Liane Hansen’s discussion with Ethan Iverson, Reid Anderson and David King, and samples of their work-in-progress, go here.
It wasn’t only Stravinsky’s music caused the chaotic stir at the 1913 premier of The Rite of Spring. It was ballet music, and no one in the scandalized Paris audience had seen anything like this ballet. Here is some of the Joffrey Ballet’s 1987 recreation of Nijinksy’s choreography. The video cuts off prematurely, but there’s enough to give you a vivid idea of what the shouting was about.