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WHEN STRAVINSKY MET NIJINSKY by Lauren  Stringer Kirkus Star


Two Artists, Their Ballet, and One Extraordinary Riot

by Lauren Stringer ; illustrated by Lauren Stringer

Age Range: 5 - 8

Pub Date: March 5th, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-547-90725-3
Publisher: Harcourt

A composer and a choreographer collaborate on a 20th-century masterpiece and cause a riot.

In 1913 Paris, two Russians, Igor Stravinsky the composer and Vaslav Nijinsky the dancer/choreographer, took the western European art world by storm when the Ballet Russes premiered The Rite of Spring. Each returned to his Russian roots for both music and movement, leaving far behind the melodic strains and gorgeous balletic movements of Swan Lake. The new sounds, more harsh and dissonant, and the new steps, more earthy and folkloric, left the audience both wildly cheering and jeering. Stringer winningly plays with the symmetry of the two names in her rhythmic text and dynamic page design. The vibrantly saturated colors of her paintings pulse with energy. Musical notes, figures rehearsing and boisterous crowds at the premiere fill the pages. Humorous details abound, notably an appealing dog and cat who watch the artistes create. Stringer also incorporates moments from Stravinsky’s earlier ballet Petrouchka, which featured Nijinsky as the tragic puppet, as well as a full measure of onomatopoeia and visual references to contemporary painters. The music is familiar not only to concert goers, but also to fans of the fiery volcanoes and fearsome dinosaurs in Fantasia. Said Nijinsky to Stravinsky: “What an uproar and what a delight!”

Music and dance made entertaining and joyous. (author’s note, sources) (Picture book. 5-8)