Rite of Spring, The (arr Vosbein)

From Wind Repertory Project
Igor Stravinsky

Igor Stravinsky (trans. Terry Vosbein)

General Info

Year: 1913 / 2011
Duration: c. 35:45
Difficulty: VI (see Ratings for explanation)
Original Medium: Orchestra
Publisher: Neil A. Kjos Music Company
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - $300.00   |   Score Only (print) - $40.00


Part 1 - Worshipping the Earth
1. Introduction
2. The Augurs of Spring - Dances of the Young Girls
3. The Game of Kidnapping
4. Spring Rounds
5. Ritual of the Rival Tribes
6. Procession of the Eldest Sage
7. Worshipping the Earth
8. Dance of the Earth

Part 2 - The Great Sacrifice
9. Introduction
10. Mystic Circle of the Young Girls
11. Glorification of the Chosen Maiden
12. Evocation of the Ancestors
13. Ritual Action of the Ancestors
14. Sacrificial Dance

Instrumentation (one player per part)

Full Score
Flute I-II (I doubling C Piccolo I; II doubling C Piccolo II and Alto Flute)
Oboe (doubling English horn)
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
B-flat Bass Clarinet
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Cornet I-II-III (I doubling D Trumpet)
B-flat Trumpet I-II
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III
String Bass
Timpani I-II
Percussion, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Crotales (2: A-flat and B-flat)
  • Guiro
  • Tam-tam
  • Tambourine
  • Triangle
  • Vibraphone
  • Xylophone


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Leonard Bernstein has called Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring "the most important piece of music of the 20th century." This is hardly a controversial statement. There are few works from this very fertile artistic period that have had the impact on music that followed than has The Rite of Spring.

As a young composer, Stravinsky so impressed the impresario Serge Diaghilev that Stravinsky was commissioned to compose three ballets for Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes. The first was Stravinsky’s magnificent The Firebird, which premiered in 1910. The second was 1911’s Petrushka, which starred Vaslav Nijinsky dancing as the namesake puppet. Prior to composing Petrushka, Stravinsky had a fleeting vision:"I saw in imagination a solemn pagan rite: sage elders, seated in a circle, watched a young girl dance herself to death. They were sacrificing her to propitiate the god of spring. "

He used this as the basis for his third commission, Le Sacre du Printemps or The Rite of Spring, subtitled as Pictures of Pagan Russia in Two Parts.

The premiere was held on May 29, 1913, at the newly opened Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris under the baton of Pierre Monteux. The dance was choreographed by Vaslav Nijinsky. The audience’s reaction has become legend with jeering and fighting in the hall between traditionalists who believed in classical ballet and bohemians, who were impatient with the trappings of classical ballet and instead desired the avant-garde. The journalist and photographer Carl Van Vechten recorded that the person behind him got so carried away with excitement that he "began to beat rhythmically on top of my head," though Van Vechten failed to notice this at first, his own emotion being so great.

Musicologists tend to believe that it was the choreography that caused the upheaval at its premiere. Musicologist Richard Taruskin asserts, "It was not Stravinsky's music that did the shocking. It was the ugly earthbound lurching and stomping devised by Vaslav Nijinsky."

The work has been popular from its first concert performance on February 18, 1914, in St. Petersburg under Serge Koussevitzky. On April 5th of that year, Stravinsky experienced for himself the popular success of The Rite of Spring as a concert work at the Casino de Paris.

The composition is in two broad parts, Adoration of the Earth and The Sacrifice. Within each part there are a series of episodes, with no breaks between episodes.

- Program Note by Gregory C. Depp for the Metropolitan Wind Symphony concert program, 6 November 2016

Mark the 100th anniversary of Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring with Terry Vosbein's superb transcription arranged for wind ensemble. Due to the instrumental forces required, a performance of The Rite can be a massive undertaking. However, Terry Vosbein's transcription makes it possible for a modern wind band to present this work using standard instrumentation and fewer personnel, while still retaining all the grandeur of Stravinsky's original.

- Program Note from publisher

Commercial Discography


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


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Works for Winds by This Composer