February 18, 2013

Review: The Bad Plus transforms 'Rite of Spring'

By CHRISTOPHER HYDE

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.

REVIEW

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:

classbeat@netscape.net

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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