The Re-Rite Of Spring
Igor Stravinsky wrote the ballet-piece "The Rite of Spring" ("Le sacre du printemps") in 1913, and the composition has established itself as one of the penultimate pieces in modern classical music, both revered for its genius and reviled for its dedicated use of dissonance over the past century by musical aficionados.
The consistent debate over the merit of this seminal work lends itself appropriately to the jazz world, a genre frequently subjected to similar discussions for its flexibility and adventurism. Therefore, It made perfect sense that the Mobtown Modern Big Band, comprised of some of the finest jazz musicians in the Baltimore / Washington D.C. area, asked arranger Darryl Brenzel to adapt Stravinsky’s work for their ensemble. The result, accurately titled, "The Re-[W]rite of Spring," is an honest, yet innovative, look at the Stravinsky masterpiece through the eyes of the jazz idiom.
Brenzel stays true to the format of the original composition’s two sections, "Adoration of the Earth" and "The Sacrifice," but has chosen to break up the individual components within each section, converting the work into fourteen separate "songs," allowing for more solo opportunities for the musicians and frequent appreciation from the live audience at Baltimore’s Metro Gallery, where the recording was made in 2010. Stravinsky’s version is approximately 35 minutes in length, Brenzel’s version more than doubles the listening time.
The musicianship is top-notch, and Brenzel knows how to establish each of Stravinsky’s themes while interspersing the improvised solos throughout. The arrangement is hardcore big band jazz, with its tight harmonies and heavy brass textures (the horn solos are evenly distributed among the players), with only the occasional featuring of the rhythm section (particularly Steve Lesche on guitar) and provides the listener with many of the same reactions that classical fans of the original have experienced.
Kudos to Innova Recordings and the American Composers Forum for releasing this work. Stravinsky would approve.
"The Re-[W]rite of Spring"
Mobtown Modern Big Band
CD and Digital formats