Clarice Assad

Multiverse: Another Rite of Spring ​

For Wind Ensemble | Commissioned by The University of Maryland

The rite of spring is a ballet composed by Igor Stravinsky and first performed in 1913. It is a story based on a pagan ritual in which a young maiden girl is sacrificed to the god of spring. In the 1913 ballet, she dances herself to death. However, MULTIVERSE, Another Rite of Spring explores a version of the story in alternate dimensions, where similar rituals coincide, experienced through the eyes of the sacrificed maiden, who lives in a completely different reality than her other counterparts. Who is this girl? Where is she? Will she dance herself to death? The answers to these questions are all in the music: MULTIVERSE: Another Rite of Spring will premiere in February 2023. Stay tuned!

Instrumentation​

3 flutes (2 + piccolo) 

3 oboes (2 + EH)

4 Bb Clarinets (doubling Eb Cl./ Bass Clarinet) 

3 Bassoon (2 + Contra) 

Soprano Saxophone

Alto Saxophone

Tenor Saxophone

Baritone Saxophone

4 Horns

4 Trumpets in C

Trombones

Bass Trombone

Tuba

Timpani

4 Percussion

Harp 

Piano 

Double Bass



Percussion

Percussion 1
Percussion 2

Lg. Tam-Tam | Sizzle Cym, |  Splash Cym | Susp. Cymbał | Crash Cymbal |Crotales | 2 Clickers | Cricket, Train Whistle | Triangle | Coffee Cans (snare stick) |Caxixi| Plastic Hose | Metal Coffee Cans (snare sticks) |Brake Drum | Metal Pipe | Tubular Bells | amplified Berimbau 

Vibraphone (shared with Perc. 3)  |  Lg. Bass Drum (Shared with Perc. IV)  | Susp. Cymbal, drumkit | , Aquaphone |  cowbell 

Percussion 3
Percussion 4

Vibraphone (shared with Percussion. 2) | Vibraslap, rainstick, Xylophone | 2 Clickers | |Snare drum  | Wind Whistle | Rattles and Shells (with Rods) |Berimbau | Berimbau gourd (with drumsticks)

Marimba | Susp. Cym (May be bowed or struck) | Roto-Toms | Woodblocks | Bird Whistles | Amplified UDU drum | Shaker  | Lg. Bass Drum (shared with Perc. II) |  Glockenspiel

Duration: 30 Minutes

I. Adoration of The Earth

II. Dance of the Young Girls

III. Mock Abduction

IV. Spring Rounds

V. Games of The Rival Tribes

VI. The Sage

VII. Dance of The Earth

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Minutes

"There is music wherever there is rhythm, as there is life wherever there beats a pulse."

Igor Stravinsky
Composer
University of Maryland Wind Orchestra (UMWO) Commission

MULTIVERSE

Program Notes By Clarice Assad

In 2019, I received an email from conductor Michael Votta with an intriguing vision for a commission: How would you like to write a response to Igor Stravinsky’s “The Rite of Spring,” experienced through the eyes of the sacrificial maiden? I wrote back immediately, saying, “I want to hear more.”  

 

He told me the subject came up during a conversation with a woman who mentioned her scariest moment in music is in the Rite of Spring when the young woman dances herself to death. It was easy to agree with her on this. How awful it must have been for this young woman to be put to death at such a tender age to please the Gods of Spring that may not exist. The music sounds terrifying, and the choreographies I have seen over the years are up to par. But what about this girl? Was she accepting of her fate or felt forced into it? So many questions popped up; most importantly, who was this person? How was her life before? Her dreams? I wanted to explore.  

 

There were many angles to tackle this story, but a light bulb moment occurred when I envisioned this poor young lady living as multiple versions of herself at different places and times. That is how MULTIVERSE came into being. In this re-telling of the Rite of Spring, the experience is multi-fold. Here, the story begins in tandem with the first part of the actual Rite of Spring, and each movement bears the exact title as in the original. But in Multiverse, the story ends right before the Sacrifice. We only go as far as when the victim discovers she is the chosen one.  We are not sure whether she will die or escape. As in the original, we begin with the introduction, “Adoration of the Earth,” and hear the most famous melodic fragments of the original piece, often in distorted ways. The glitchy nature of this passage suggests that we are experiencing many realities at once but, eventually, focus on the new one. 


 The second movement, “Dances of the Young Girls,” offers an unfamiliar sound world contrasting with the Rite’s most famous pulsating and visceral passage. It is cheery and full of playfulness. The young girls in this dimension are dancing to another tune, literally. They might not know what is coming their way. Everything seems like a game. Their naiveness is almost heart-wrenching as the dance segues into Movement III: Mock Abduction, and quotes from the Rite of Spring are peppered through this section, first with the jest from the girl’s nature, but that eventually becomes ominous and serious, a suspicion of bad things to come. Still, there is a sense of hope in this alternate macrocosm, where events are happening through their young and innocent eyes. 

In Movement four: Spring Rounds, we experience a ritual musically influenced sounds of ancient Mesoamerican sounds, and in movement V, “Games of the Rival Tribes,” the backdrop changes once again into another set of musical quotes from different parts of the original score, influenced by jazz. 

 

In the final Movement “Dance of The Earth,” the main character shifts between realities as if trying to escape her ultimate destiny: Death. 

I. Introduction

As in the original, we begin with the introduction, "Adoration of the Earth," and hear the most famous melodic fragments of the original piece, often in distorted ways. The glitchy nature of this passage suggests that we are experiencing many realities at once but, eventually, focus on the new one.

II. Dance of the Young Girls

The second movement, "Dances of the Young Girls," offers an unfamiliar sound world contrasting with the Rite's most famous pulsating and visceral passage. It is cheery and full of playfulness. The young girls in this dimension are dancing to another tune, literally. They might not know what is coming their way. Everything seems like a game. Their naiveness is almost heart-wrenching

III. Mock Abduction

In Mock Abduction, quotes from the Rite of Spring are peppered through this section, first with the jest from the girl's nature, but that eventually becomes ominous and serious, a suspicion of bad things to come. Still, there is a sense of hope in this alternate macrocosm, where events are happening through their young and innocent eyes.

IV. Spring Rounds

In Movement four: Spring Rounds, we experience a ritual musically influenced by hints of ancient Mesoamerican sounds,

V. Game of the Rival Tribes

In Movement V, "Games of the Rival Tribes," the backdrop changes once again into another set of musical quotes from different parts of the original score, influenced by jazz.

VI. Dance of The Earth

In the final Movement "Dance of The Earth," the main character shifts between realities as if trying to escape her ultimate destiny: Death.