Leonard Bernstein, conductor on this astonishing 1958 recording, characterized Igor Stravinsky’s (1882-1971) Rite of Spring – Songs of Pagan Russia in Two Parts as “a miraculous new creation of such originality and power that still today it shocks and overwhelms us.” A century ago – in 1913 – this ballet and orchestral concert work shocked and overwhelmed its first audience, provoking a now-legendary riot at its Paris premiere. S said his inspiration was a fleeting vision of a solemn pagan rite in which a group of wise elders sat in a circle and watched a young girl dance herself to death, sacrificing herself to propitiate the god of Spring. Bernstein described the Rite as “a kind of prehistoric jazz” and “all about sex and reproduction.” Excerpts from the Rite were sound track in Walt Disney’s film, Fantasia, as the Tyrannosaurus Rex attacks and devours the plant-eating Stegosaurus. The work changed the history of Western music, introducing new concepts in tonality, meter, rhythm, stress and dissonance that pervasively influenced 20th century composers. A reviewer (J. Harrison) who hates the Rite wrote that it demonstrates S’s: "abhorrence of everything for which music has stood these many centuries ... all human endeavour and progress are being swept aside to make room for hideous sounds ..." The tolerant Alex Ross wrote that S took elements of Russian folk music and "proceeded to pulverize them into motivic bits, pile them up in layers, and reassemble them in cubistic collages and montages". More details at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Rite_of_Spring_(Stravinsky).