Lunch Time Concert: The Rite Of Spring

The second Lunch Time Concert of the week featured two of the music departments best loved lecturers- Dr Cooke and Dr Adlington

Nearly one hundred years ago to the day, Igor Stravinsky and Claude Debussy sat down at the piano together to perform the piano duet version of the most notorious and influential piece of twentieth century music- Stravinsky’s ballet The Rite of Spring.

On Friday, University of Nottingham Music Department lecturers Robert Adlington and Mervyn Cooke celebrated the centenary anniversary of that event with an inspiring performance of the piano duet to a packed audience at the Djanogly Recital Hall, as part of the bi-weekly MusSoc and BlowSoc Lunchtime Concert Series.

It’s ironic that it was Debussy, one of the masters of orchestral colour, who co-premiered the piano version of The Rite of Spring, since in its reduced form it loses nearly all of the orchestral colour that Stravinsky wove so tightly into the score for full orchestra.

Impressively, the two performers managed to coax much expression from the Recital Hall’s Steinway piano, from the gentle and enticing innocence of the Introduction, to the terrifying and brutal violence of the concluding Sacrificial Dance.

Although The Rite of Spring is normally performed in its orchestral guise, the professionalism and sheer power of technique displayed by Adlington and Cooke could arguably be said to have single-handedly (or double-handedly in this case) vindicated the existence of the work in piano duet form.

Every Tuesday and Friday lunchtime, Music Society (Mussoc) members give free concerts at 1.15pm in the Djanogly Recital Hall by the south entrance.