Stravinsky had a dream one night, of a girl dancing herself to death for the future of her ancient Russian tribe. Anthropologists have uncovered no evidence of human tribal sacrifice from Slavic history. That’s more of an Aztec kind of thing.
Whether or not such a Slavic death dance ever occurred is a question that doesn’t much bother me. After Stravinsky’s Le Sacre du printemps, history has become dreamy, elastic, and even stranger than it used to be. The composer musically imagined his rite of spring with such fierce beauty, visceral dynamics, and rhythmic audacity that surely the lost girl’s ecstatic dance is always occurring somewhere in the odd dimension of art and wonder. Having heard this work and been affected by it, I feel that such a dance should have happened in the deep past. I’ll just proceed with my life as if it did happen.
And besides all that, I’m getting myself quietly worked up into a state of weirdness thinking about how way-old time got transformed by Igor into eccentric shapes of pure rhythm. The deep past as no longer a temporal condition; rather, a fabric of duration abstracted into a wild labyrinth of folk intentions, a swirling attractor of pagan gestures.
There’s something kind of like Schopenhauer’s noumenal Will (blind force) happening in this Stravinsky vision of holy spring — a passion against extinction inside the mystery of space, a hysteria of consciousness as pure extension into patterns of movement.
There’s something kind of poetic about turning one substance into another — an intuition into fateful dancing, a dream into fantastic necessity, ancient hours into pulsing energies.
Posted by Tim Buck