Clarice Assad

Multiverse: Another Rite of Spring ​

For Wind Ensemble

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 November 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 | Roto Sound Disc 9′ | Crotales | Caxixi, Cricket, Whistles* | Tubular Bells | Hose | Berimbau

Vibraphone, Lg. Bass Drum, Susp. Cymbal, drumkit, Aquaphone, cowbells

Percussion 3
Percussion 4

Vibraslap, rainstick, xylophone, vibraphone (shared with Percussion. 2) | Big Pair of Brooms or Wind Whistle | Rattles and Shells (with Rods) | Berimbau 

Marimba, Roto-Toms (4) Woodblocks (4) Amplified UDU |  Bird Whistles | Shaker | Sizzle Cymbal

Duration: 30 Minutes

I. Introduction

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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"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.”  

 

Votta is a very talented and passionate musician, not to mention a very kind man. He felt strange asking a composer ‘what to do. ” I quickly assured him that I am open to collaboration, perhaps more than most and that I welcomed his ideas and suggestions. The thing I was curious about was how in the world did he get this idea.

 

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: Why did it have to be a woman? Why a virgin? Most importantly, who was this person? How was her life before? Her dreams? That I wanted to explore.  

 

There were so many angles to tackle this story, but the one light bulb moment I had was to think of this poor young lady as living as multiple versions of herself at different places and times. Thus, the title MULTIVERSE came into being. In this re-telling of the Rite of Spring, the experience is multi-fold. The music starts at the beginning of the Rite until the maiden is chosen. And then we are left with a question mark. Will she die? Will she escape? 

 

Like in the original, we begin with the introduction, “A Kiss 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 naivete 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. 

 

 

Thus far, in complete tandem with Stravinsky’s storyline of events, we enter Movement four: Spring Rounds. And experience the ritual as it happens in their timeline. MORE COMING SOON 

I. Introduction

Like in the original Rite of Spring, we begin with the introduction, "The Kiss 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 a single 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 naivete 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

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V. Game of the Rival Tribes

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VI. The Sage

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VII. Dance of The Earth

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