Michael Leser Johnson

Michael Leser Johnson  |  May 16, 2021  |  16 comments
In May of 1913, just one year before the start of the first World War, Igor Stravinsky premiered his third ballet with the Ballets Russes in Paris: Le Sacre du printemps (The Rite of Spring). The premiere would go down in history for a number of reasons, primarily due to the unruly Parisian audience that descended into what could be referred to as a riot. What was so scandalous about the Rite? Stravinsky, along with choreographer Vaslav Nijinsky, wanted to evoke a picture of Russia from the distant, pagan past. A story of an ancient pagan rite where a young maiden would be chosen to dance herself to death to appease the ancestors and secure a bountiful harvest. The music, while stylistically not a huge departure from Stravinsky’s two previous and successful Parisian ballets, was dissonant, brutal, and rhythmically disorienting. Likewise, Nijinsky’s choreography was rigid, and was meant to mimic the flat, two-dimensional style of prehistoric paintings. The audience that night was not having it, but their uproar helped launch the Rite into infamy, helping it to become one of the most talked about and often performed works of the 20th century.

Michael Leser Johnson  |  Feb 23, 2021  |  1 comments
Over the last 40 years, Giulio Cesare Ricci’s Fonè record label has been slowly churning out limited audiophile “one stage” (the same basic process as MoFi’s one-step) records using an all-analog chain. These Pallas-pressed recordings of classical, jazz and various other types of acoustic music are limited to 496 copies each. Why 496 specifically? Because Ricci is fond of the number, that’s all. Fonè is clearly a labor of passion and love for Ricci as he not only runs the label, but serves as his own recording and mastering engineer.

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