Rite of SpringTo the Bozar this evening for a wonderful programme performed by the Rotterdam Philharmonic orchestra under the baton of Yannick Nézet-Séguin. A choreographic poem by Maurice Ravel, La valse, was followed by Claude Debussy’s La mer and, to cap it off, we were treated to a performance of Igor Stravinsky’s, The Rite of Spring. The Stravinsky is still thrilling today and the memorable accounts of reactions to that first performance are entirely believable (Ravel, in the audience, called out that it was a work of genius and then, of course, there were those riots). I can think of no other musical work which so effectively symbolised the dawn of a new era. To my Belgian better half, the music has a double significance, since she will forever associate it with Maurice Béjart’s choreography (Béjart and his company having enjoyed a seventeen-year residence at La Monnaie in Brussels). This is not to belittle the other works we heard this evening. (Listening closely to the Debussy, I realised that Ronald Binge had made sly reference to it in his 1963 Sailing By, a piece that came before the early morning BBC shipping forecast on the radio and therefore used to warn me when my writing activities had kept me up too late).