On this day in classical music: The Parisian musical establishment was rocked to its foundation when Pierre Monteux conducted the world premiere of “Le Sacre du Printemps” in 1913. What would ultimately become Igor Stravinsky’s most famous ballet was greeted with shouts, catcalls and general derision. It was metrically complex, with meters often changing from one measure to the next. The work was also filled with all sorts of dissonances, the likes of which had not been heard before. The premiere established Monteux as one of France’s, if not the entire European continent, best known composers. Listen to Semyon Bychkov conduct the WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne in an excerpt from “Le Sacre du Printemps.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UxC_gg1xjEc
On this day in the musical theatre: Rodgers and Hammerstein’s first collaboration, the lively “Oklahoma!,” closed after a Broadway run of five years. The musical’s 2,212 performances set a new record that wouldn’t be exceeded until “My Fair Lady” passed it in the early 1960s. Based on Lynn Riggs’ play “Green Grow the Lilacs,” “Oklahoma!” has remained the Rodgers and Hammerstein Organization’s most often requested musical, with more than 500 productions presented annually. The show has returned to Broadway four times. A 1951 revival starred Oklahoman Ridge Bond as Curly. Florence Henderson was cast as Laurey when “Oklahoma!” returned two years later. A 1979 revival starred Laurence Guittard as Curly and Christine Andreas as Laurey. The most recent revival opened in 2002, with Patrick Wilson as Curley. Shuler Hensley won a Tony Award in that production for his role as the farmhand Jud Fry.
Musical musings: The most essential characteristic of “Le Sacre du Printemps” is that it is the most dissonant and the most discordant composition yet written. Never was the systems and the cult of the wrong note practiced with so much industry, zeal and fury. When two themes are superposed, far be it from the composer’s mind to use themes that fit together; quite to the contrary, he chooses such themes that their superposition should produced the most irritating friction and gnashing that can be imagined. – Pierre Lalo, writing in “Le Temps,” June 3, 1913.