Stravinsky’s Masks of Abstraction - Russian Orthodox Bell Ringing, Ostranenie, and Aesthetic Distance in The Rite of Spring and Symphony of Psalms
For a century Stravinsky’s Le Sacre du Printemps has evoked conflicting discourses on its status as concert music ("for its own sake"), its multiple choreographies, its nationalistic versus cosmopolitan expressions, and its ritualized sex-gender portrayals. Experiencing Russian Orthodox bell ringing practices in Stravinsky’s music offers ways to think about how The Rite’s music-sounds might intervene in these discourses. Visual mage and music interact similarly in Juri Kylián’s choreography of Stravinsky’s Symphony of Psalms: balletic gestures articulate experiential action complexes of sonic materials and vice versa, materializing action in sound and sound in action. Such action practices can mark border-lines of everyday reality, “making it strange” (ostranenie)— “defamiliarizing” and heightening perception and preventing its automatization.