From Messiaen and Boulez to Reich and Zappa, no musician after Stravinsky could fail to be influenced by his revolutionary score.

And so music could never be the same again… The morning after the premiere before, every musician in Paris woke up with  The Rite of Spring pulsating through their being. And there were no exceptions. Bassoonists were gripped by vertigo. It was reported in the local Paris press that one such bassoon practitioner, during his orchestra’s accompaniment of Mozart’s  Don Giovanni, started twitching frantically before pitching every note three octaves higher than written. Meanwhile, string players were forbidden from articulating melodic lines with up-bows by French government decree: each note now had to be pounced on with a punky down-bow. In a culture once proud of its chanson tradition, timpanists were the new stars. All around Montmartre, and later migrating to the provinces, nightclubs opened where adoring crowds could assemble to witness the stick-tastic spectacle of timpanists recreating their moves from  The Rite; two shows each night, three on Saturdays. And, to seal the deal in this post- Rite of Spring environment, a committee of composers was convened to rewrite (or as Poulenc wryly put it, ‘re-Rite’) every pre-existing piece of music after the image of...

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