February 18, 2013

Review: The Bad Plus transforms 'Rite of Spring'


Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring," now just 100 years old, still has considerable life in it, as proven Sunday night at Hannaford Hall in a performance presented by Portland Ovations.


The Bad Plus

WHERE: Hannaford Hall, USM Portland

WHEN: Feb. 17

The noted jazz trio, The Bad Plus, which has earned a reputation for iconoclasm, arranged the score, originally for augmented orchestra, to suit its resources, resulting in a sort of rock opera called "On Sacred Ground," with 13 movements and one long pause.

Stravinsky, being a stickler for strict adherence to the score, would not have approved, but the large audience that braved the wind and snow to attend certainly did.

It is a considerable feat to have transcribed the work at all, but keeping its musical integrity (most of the time), while adding to the rhythmic excitement, made it a work of art.

Christopher Hyde's Classical Beat column appears in the Maine Sunday Telegram. He can be reached at:


This story was updated at 10 a.m. Monday, Feb. 18, to add that the performance was presented by Portland Ovations.

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