Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring on a Caribbean steel band – unimaginably beautiful

dr dawn batson

h/t: Mark Stephenson and Zoe Martlew for the discovery

We need to hear more from Dr Dawn Batson

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  • Absolutely amazing! Should be compulsory viewing for everyone who tries to pigeon-hole the power of “classical” music to inspire and for all those who underestimate the commitment and abilities of young people.

  • Sorry, but I don’t think it sounds unimaginably beautiful at all.

    Just my opinion, which will no doubt attract the predictable response.

    • I hear where you’re coming from, Robert, but what about the part that went ‘bonk, BONK, BONK, bonk bonk-bonk?’

  • When I was giving a music history course in Khartoum, where at a university actually dancing might be problematic, I had the students make an imaginary choreography in their head, with the idea that they should approach the music (I used Boulez recording, although now I might use the Dudamel CD) as close to African. (Even though the North-Sudanese do not consider themselves so much as African and rather as Arabic, which is one of the reasons of the troubles in the country and one of the reasons that led to the split.)

  • It does not change or add anything to my appreciation of the greatness of this piece, but as a feat of collective musical memory and of outstanding ensemble playing, it is certainly very impressive. At first, I really liked the conducting too because she really seemed to conduct musical phrases rather than the beats, but in the faster rhythmical part my admiration for her was diminished because it clearly looked like she was following her musicians rather than leading them. Why they kept looking at her so intensely while she conducted just a touch behind their playing is a mystery to me. Unless the video’s synchronization is askew which happens sometimes, but it does not look that way to me in this case. Another mystery: at 4:56, is the person in the back reading a magazine?

  • The video has been taken offline now, due to copyright problems with a company named Emagem. If that is the Stravinsky Estate, we know who are detrimental for music taste.

  • It is a real shame that Boosey & Hawkes (one of the Imagem companies) feels the need to block this video. I saw it yesterday and was absolutely bowled over by the performance. It is hard to think of a better example of how GOOD music can never be pigeonholed and my goodness, do they play it like they know it is good music.

    Relax Imagem – no one is taking anything away from you. This video was enabling thousands of people to enjoy one of the greatest works of music in a way they may have never heard before. It doesn’t diminish the original in any way, and in fact, I would suggest that it only enhances it. Lighten up, and let more people be amazed by the dedication and enthusiasm of the performance.

  • Isn’t the earliest version of “Rite” in the public domain? How is copyright a problem if you make your transcription off that?

  • Wurtfangler,I could hardly agree more… it was so energetic, and so moving, the dedication. Such a good introduction to see the joy of music that really matters. Booze and Hawks.

  • Just an awful sounding instrument – if you can call the steel drums an instrument. Intonation is problematic at best. The instrument started as left over oil drums left in the Caribbean Islands after oil companies left them there. I used to work with Dawn Batson – and was never impressed with the steel drums.

  • Thank you Boosey and Hawkes for taking down this video – I’m sure one of your minions is feeling really superior right now. Don’t let anyone stop you in your efforts to extract every single cent from every single performance of Bartok, Stravinsky and Rachmaninoff while there is still time. I had thought about purchasing some of your scores, however I’ve now decided to photocopy all of them from my public library. Boosey and Hawkes, you are the Uber of the publishing world. Shame.

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