At the time of the premiere of The Rite of Spring, Stravinsky suggestively described its first dance, ““Augurs of Spring,”” as a ““synthesis of rhythms.”” Later, he characterized the whole ballet as an ““architectonic”” work. Richard Taruskin, in arguing for the ballet's overall aesthetic of ““primitive simplicity,”” polemically rejects this latter adjective as a typical formalist lie. But detailed analysis demonstrates the architectonic intricacy of the rhythmic synthesis in ““Augurs”” alone. Not only are the composer's labors toward such local intricacy clearly evident in the sketches, but a dialectical account of formalism and immediacy in this one dance confirms both the documented ““neonationalist”” background and initial reception, while pointing to a finer understanding of this ballet's position in the stylistic development of Stravinsky's Russian period.
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