Who Wrote this Fiendish Rite of Spring?

You can’t escape it: ’tis the season to remember the Rite’s centenary. Some of the stuff floating around is getting a bit tiresome (There was a riot – really?) But there’s still plenty to celebrate about Sacre and the music it inspired. And not all of the post-Rite repertoire is so serious. Thanks to Daniel Felsenfeld and Frank J. Oteri for pointing out this wonderful bit of Rite ephemera via Facebook.

“Who wrote this fiendish Rite of Spring
What right had he to write the thing,
Against our helpless ears to fling
Its crash, clash, cling, clang, bing, bang, bing?
And then to call it Rite of Spring,
the season when on joyous wing
The birds melodious carols sing
And harmony’s in everything!
He who could write the Rite of Spring,
If I be right, by right should swing!”

–anonymous review in Boston Herald, 1924

I remember hearing Paul Sperry sing this for his American song lit. class back in the mid-nineties. Am glad that his rendition has been been recorded too.


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