Who better to round out this list of eccentrics than Igor Stravinsky, the “gangsta” of classical music. OK, that’s a bit of a joke, but his music certainly is no joke. Here he was arrested for “tampering with public property.” His crime? Rearranging the U.S. national anthem and performing it in Boston. God bless America and freedom of speech, yes?
Believe it or not, I don’t think I ever heard his music until I was 18 years old (my parents were into the top forty of classical). I was driving home late at night and as I was flipping the dial I heard two pianos being vigorously played…well, it sounded like they were being destroyed, really. Then I began to hear intricate patterns forming in the noise, and soon its brilliance became clear.
That masterpiece was “Rites of Spring,” and I had the good fortune of hearing it for the first time performed on two pianos. So I sat in the car, waited for the dj to tell me who it was, wrote down the info, and ordered the CD the next day. It took over two months for it to arrive, but it was worth the wait. Since then, it has become like a close friend to me, which is a big reason why I chose it to close out my list.
Below is a short clip of one of the movements of “Rites of Spring,” played as it was written, for a full orchestra. Hope you enjoy it.