Inaugurating Gestures—Le Sacre du printemps
The Prologue investigates The Rite of Spring in a triangular reading. It juxtaposes an analysis of Vaslav Nijinsky’s choreography with two signature texts on the piece, which are also key documents of early twentieth-century gestural theory: Theodor W. Adorno’s chapter on Stravinsky in his 1949 Philosophie der neuen Musik (Philosophy of New Music), and Jacques Rivière’s 1913 essay entitled “Le Sacre du printemps.” Sacre is considered a primal scene of modernist gesturality, as the moment at which the revolutionary power and conceptual reach of gesture become discernible. The Prologue carves out a theory of gesture that defines the gestural as a form of interruption of the flows of music and movement. Gesture is associated with a punctuating and punctuated energy that is considered as an aesthetic strategy of productive impairment that not only manifests, but also critically exposes the primitivism which is Sacre’s signature trait.
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