Friday, March 20, 2009

Heavy Classical: Part 1 in an Ongoing Series.

By Peter

Alright fellow metal heads, Ive decided its time for you to broaden your horizons; to expand your mind, man. Its time to listen to a classical piece other then the first half of Carl Orff's Carmina Burana which is an intro to 9/10 metal songs ever produced.
Despite what you may think there is some totally kick ass, and sometimes even heavy, classical music out there. Most of the good stuff, in my opinion, comes after 1900 and continues into present day. So set aside your biases and check this out.


Igor Stavinsky


















The first guy Im going to talk about was named Igor Stravinsky. Igor was born in Russia on June 17, 1882 and died in New York City on April 6, 1971. He lived in Switzerland, France, and Los Angeles during his life. Stravinsky reached celebrity status during his lifetime, a feat that few composers of the 20th, or 21st centurys have accomplished. He is one of the major composers of the twentieth century.

He also gets street cred for being an OG...

Rite of Spring
This is probably Stravinksy's best known work. It premiered in Paris on May 29, 1913 causing fist fights and riots. Its a ballet which Im sure your thinking is totally lame. Typically Id be inclined to agree with you, watching anerexic girls and gay dudes prance around in tights isn't usually my cup of tea, but let me explain the concept before you jump to any conclussions.
Right around this time "nationalism" was popular among European composers. The idea in a nutshell was this, you use your country of origin's folk music and pagan traditions as inspiration for your music. Stravinsky wanted to write a piece about the pagan rituals welcoming the spring. He had this to say about the images which inspired the piece, "... the wise elders are seated in a circle and are observing the dance before death of the girl whom they are offering as a sacrifice to the god of Spring in order to gain his benevolence". That could work as a concept for the a death metal album just as well.
The music is equally brutal. Keep in mind that this was written before rock-n-roll right around the birth of jazz. Percussion was barely used in western music. This piece is full of percussion and rhythm. Its dissonant and full of bass. This piece is seriously heavy at times, certain parts could totally work as a metal song.
When it premiered in 1913 the audience was horrified. Nothing like this had been made before. People began to boo and yell. Arguments between those who liked it and those who didn't turned into fist fights. The police had to come during the intermission to calm the situation. They weren't able to do much and by the end of the piece the fist fights had turned into a riot.

So now that you've read about it, it's time to listen to it and see what you think.
Check it out here.

Heres one more picture of Igor for the road...

6 comments:

James said...

Oh man I hope you don't reveal Shostakovich and Gorecki to the masses. They are not worthy.

Erik Del Tigre said...

This is an excellent post. Keep it coming dude.

Peter said...

They're not ready for that yet James. We have to start slow... But one day...

Peter said...

PS Thanks Erik. When are we going to that random bar in the tl?

Steven said...

Shucks y'all. I've been hip to Shostakovich for almost 20 years. Verese is where it's at. But you wanna terrify the conservative contingency of metalheads, don't you? They need Penderecki.

Peter said...

Penderecki is on the list of composers Im going to talk about as well as Ligeti. I love Varese too but I dont know how that would be received by most of this audience. I may put some of his stuff up anyway eventually.