Life and art in Paris : Stravinsky's Le sacre du printemps
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At the turn of the twentieth century, Paris was an international center for music, art, and fashion. It fostered the creation of a variety of innovative artistic developments and is widely considered to be the birthplace of Modernism. Stravinsky's Le Sacre du printemps, the epitome of modernist innovation, could only have happened in this unique cultural climate in the context of the Franco-Russian alliance. Stravinsky's early musical development reached its peak in his early ballets, most notably Le Sacre du printemps. This work is a culmination of the multiplicity of cultural activities that include art, scenario, choreography, and music that came together in Paris. In this essay, I will explore the various ways in which the city of Paris in the beginning of the twentieth century influenced Stravinsky's musical voice. My discussion moves from an overview of the city to Stravinsky, exploring the ways in which the Parisian environment shaped his compositional style. To this end, Le Sacre du printemps is viewed as a kind of lightning rod, bringing together many of the fundamental artistic developments of the early twentieth century and reflecting the diverse and modern city in which it was premiered.