Meet Mandy Harvey, the Deaf Singer Songwriter Who Performs Barefoot & Feels the Music Through Vibrations in the Ground

Attractive young female singer-songwriters who shuck their shoes onstage sometimes find that this small attempt to pass themselves off as folksy and “real” has the opposite effect.

Mandy Harvey, however, is above reproach. The deaf singer-songwriter performs barefoot out of necessity, using her unclad soles to pick up on the vibrations of various instruments through the floorboards. It allows her to keep time and, in so doing, helps her to stay emotionally connected to the other musicians with whom she’s performing, as she told NPR earlier this year, when she was one of 10 finalists on America's Got Talent.

“I’ll feel and concentrate on the drums through the floor, through my feet and then the bass through your chest,” she said in an interview with Colorado Public Radio. “And then if a saxophone player is next to me then it will be on my arm. So you just designate different parts of your body so you can concentrate on who’s playing what and when.”




Born with near perfect pitch and a connective tissue disorder that impaired her hearing, she was able to pursue her love of music by relying on hearing aids and lip reading until 18, when she finally lost her hearing for good, as a freshman Vocal Music Education major at Colorado State University.

While she has never heard fellow songbirds Adele or Taylor Swift, she has gotten over the stage fright that plagued her when she still retained some hearing. Vocally, she turns to muscle memory and visual tuners to see her through.

Her talent is such that some listeners are convinced her deafness is a publicity stunt, a misperception that eats at Wayne Connell, founder of the Invisible Disabilities Association, a non-profit with whom Harvey is active:

We've created an idea [of] how people are supposed to look when they're broken and so when you don't fit that imaginary mold, then it's a trick, or you're a liar — or you're not really broken, so you shouldn't be doing certain things.

See Harvey performing barefoot at the Kennedy Center on the 23rd anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, below.

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How Did Beethoven Compose His 9th Symphony After He Went Completely Deaf?

Ayun Halliday is an author, illustrator, theater maker and Chief Primatologist of the East Village Inky zine.  Follow her @AyunHalliday.

Meet the Characters Immortalized in Lou Reed’s “Walk on the Wild Side”: The Stars and Gay Rights Icons from Andy Warhol’s Factory Scene

Lou Reed weathered his share of bad press in the decades after leaving one of the most influential bands in rock history—either for his famed irascibility or his spells of lackluster songwriting. Somehow, he always had a way of bouncing back, proving again and again his cultural relevance. For example, when it seemed like he had cashed in all his credibility with the godawful “Original Rapper” in the mid-eighties, he returned in 1989 with the gritty classic rock and roll of New York (and played the White House at the request of his longtime fan and friend Vaclav Havel). Reed was a true survivor of a downtown scene that claimed more casualties than it made stars, and he mostly made survival look pretty good.

When he released his first solo album after quitting the Velvet Underground in 1972, however, it seemed likely Reed was headed for obscurity. Lou Reed is mostly a great collection of (mostly overproduced) songs, “but it isn’t a terribly interesting” record, writes Mark Deming at Allmusic, “and it stands today more as a historical curiosity than anything else” for its early versions of songs like "Berlin." Not so the follow-up, Transformer, an album boasting what may well be some of the best recordings Reed ever made, like “Perfect Day” and “Satellite of Love.” What made the difference? The influence of David Bowie, who produced with Mick Ronson, didn’t hurt one bit.




Transformer also happens to contain the only song that broke Reed “through to the mainstream,” notes the Polyphonic video above, the “rock classic” hit, “Walk on the Wild Side.” The song draws its narrative strength and its “incredibly subversive” nature from its subject: the 60s Factory scene surrounding Andy Warhol, which, in effect, made Lou Reed, Lou Reed when Warhol took the Velvet Underground under his wing. The song reminds us that Reed was at his strongest when he told the tales of his milieu, whether that be the world of junkies, hustlers, and sexual outsiders, or of fringe downtown artists unafraid to experiment with new identities and personas.

These were shared worlds, and Reed knew them well enough to capture them in a literary frame provided by Nelson Algren’s novel A Walk on the Wild Side (1956). Rather than create an adaptation of the book as he first intended, Reed wrote about six compelling Factory characters, “Superstars” in Warhol’s coterie, who embodied the edgy, courageous cool Reed made his theme. First up is Holly Woodlawn, a transgender woman who moved to New York from Miami to escape discrimination. Warhol discovered Woodlawn working the streets, and put her in films, “where she thrived,” the video notes, becoming “an important figure in LGBTQ history and, thanks to Lou Reed, in music history, too.”

The next verse introduces us to another important member of Warhol’s inner circle, Candy Darling, who was also transgender and a star of Warhol’s films, and who inspired not only “Walk on the Wild Side” but “Candy Says” and, quite possibly, the Kinks’ “Lola.” Darling is already familiar to those who know the Factory scene, as is the subject of the third vignette, Joe Dallesandro, whom Warhol turned into a cult star in films like Flesh, and who—unlike most of the Factory artists—actually achieved mainstream success, with roles in The Cotton Club and The Limey. (He also served as the crotch model on the cover of the Rolling Stones’ Sticky Fingers and the “topless torso” on the cover of The Smiths’ debut album.)

As the video outlines brief biographies of each “Walk on the Wild Side” muse, we see that Reed wasn’t only paying homage to his artistic community of origin, he also was also preserving a pantheon of cultural figures who were important to the gay rights movement in one way or another, as well as to the 60s Warhol aesthetic and the birth of glam rock in the 70s. “Walk on the Wild Side,” notes Polyphonic, “gives us a great little glimpse into a historical scene, and it helps us understand the people around Lou Reed that influenced the great artist he was.” Without a doubt, Reed’s most enduring work comes from his sympathetic portraits of the artists and hangers-on who made the world he wrote of so sexy, dangerous, complex, and intriguing.

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Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

How Josephine Baker Went From Homeless Street Performer to International Superstar, French Resistance Fighter & Civil Rights Hero

There has maybe never been a better time to critically examine the granting of special privileges to people for their talent, personality, or wealth. Yet, for all the harm wrought by fame, there have always been celebrities who use the power for good. The twentieth century is full of such figures, men and women of conscience like Muhamad Ali, Nina Simone, and Paul Robeson—extraordinary people who lived extraordinary lives. Yet no celebrity activist, past or present, has lived a life as extraordinary as Josephine Baker’s.

Born Freda Josephine McDonald in 1906 to parents who worked as entertainers in St. Louis, Baker’s early years were marked by extreme poverty. “By the time young Freda was a teenager,” writes Joanne Griffith at the BBC, “she was living on the streets and surviving on food scraps from bins.” Like every rags-to-riches story, Baker’s turns on a chance discovery. While performing on the streets at 15, she attracted the attention of a touring St. Louis vaudeville company, and soon found enormous success in New York, in the chorus lines of a string of Broadway hits.




Baker became professionally known, her adopted son Jean-Claude Baker writes in his biography, as “the highest-paid chorus girl in vaudeville.” A great achievement in and of itself, but then she was discovered again at age 19 by a Parisian recruiter who offered her a lucrative spot in a French all-black revue. “Baker headed to France and never looked back,” parlaying her nearly-nude danse sauvage into international fame and fortune. Topless, or nearly so, and wearing a skirt made from fake bananas, Baker used stereotypes to her advantage—by giving audiences what they wanted, she achieved what few other black women of the time ever could: personal autonomy and independent wealth, which she consistently used to aid and empower others.

Throughout the 20s, she remained an archetypal symbol of jazz-age art and entertainment for her Folies Bergère performances (see her dance the Charleston and make comic faces in 1926 in the looped video above). In 1934, Baker made her second film Zouzou (top), and became the first black woman to star in a major motion picture. But her sly performance of a very European idea of African-ness did not go over well in the U.S., and the country she had left to escape racial animus bared its teeth in hostile receptions and nasty reviews of her star Broadway performance in the 1936 Ziegfeld Follies (a critic at Time referred to her as a “Negro wench”). Baker turned away from America and became a French citizen in 1937.

American racism had no effect on Baker’s status as an international superstar—for a time perhaps the most famous woman of her age and “one of the most popular and highest-paid performers in Europe.” She inspired modern artists like Picasso, Hemingway, E.E. Cummings, and Alexander Calder (who sculpted her in wire). When the war broke out, she hastened to work for the Red Cross, entertaining troops in Africa and the Middle East and touring Europe and South America. During this time, she also worked as a spy for the French Resistance, transmitting messages written in invisible ink on her sheet music.

Her massive celebrity turned out to be the perfect cover, and she often “relayed information,” the Spy Museum writes, “that she gleaned from conversations she overheard between German officers attending her performances.” She became a lieutenant in the Free French Air Force and for her efforts was awarded the Croix de Guerre and the Medal of the Resistance by Charles De Gaulle and lauded by George S. Patton. Nonetheless, many in her home country continued to treat her with contempt. When she returned to the U.S. in 1951, she entertained huge crowds, and dealt with segregation “head –on,” writes Griffith, refusing “to perform in venues that would not allow a racially mixed audience, even in the deeply divided South." She became the first person to desegregate the Vegas casinos.

But she was also “refused admission to a number of hotels and restaurants.” In 1951, when employees at New York’s Stork Club refused to serve her, she charged the owner with discrimination. The Stork club incident won her the lifelong admiration and friendship of Grace Kelly, but the government decided to revoke her right to perform in the U.S., and she ended up on an FBI watch list as a suspected communist—a pejorative label applied, as you can see from this declassified 1960 FBI report, with extreme prejudice and the presumption that fighting racism was by default “un-American.” Baker returned to Europe, where she remained a superstar (see her perform a medley above in 1955).

She also began to assemble her infamous “Rainbow Tribe,” twelve children adopted from all over the world and raised in a 15th-century chateau in the South of France, an experiment to prove that racial harmony was possible. She charged tourists money to watch the children sing and play, a “little-known chapter in Baker’s life” that is also “an uncomfortable one,” Rebecca Onion notes at Slate. Her estate functioned as a “theme park,” writes scholar Matthew Pratt Guterl, a “Disneyland-in-the-Dordogne, with its castle in the center, its massive swimming pool built in the shape of a “J” for its owner, its bathrooms decorated like an Arpège perfume bottle, its hotels, its performances, and its pageantry.” These trappings, along with a menagerie of exotic pets, make us think of modern celebrity pageantry.

But for all its strange excesses, Guturl maintains, her “idiosyncratic project was in lockstep with the mainstream Civil Rights Movement." She wouldn’t return to the States until 1963, with the help of Attorney General Robert Kennedy, and when she did, it was as a guest of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the organizers of the March on Washington, where, in her Free French Air Force uniform, she became the only woman to address the crowd. The visual recounting of that moment above comes from a new 600-page graphic biography that follows Baker's “trajectory from child servant in St. Louis,” PRI writes, “to her days as a vaudeville performer, a major star in France, and later, a member of the French Resistance and an American civil rights activist.”

In her speech, she directly confronted the government who had turned her into an enemy:

They thought they could smear me, and the best way to do that was to call me a communist.  And you know, too, what that meant.  Those were dreaded words in those days, and I want to tell you also that I was hounded by the government agencies in America, and there was never one ounce of proof that I was a communist.  But they were mad.  They were mad because I told the truth.  And the truth was that all I wanted was a cup of coffee.  But I wanted that cup of coffee where I wanted to drink it, and I had the money to pay for it, so why shouldn’t I have it where I wanted it?

Baker made no apologies for her wealth and fame, but she also took every opportunity, even if misguided at times, to use her social and financial capital to better the lives of others. Her plain-speaking demands opened doors not only for performers, but for ordinary people who could look to her as an example of courage and grace under pressure into the 1970s. She continued to perform until her death in 1975. Just below, you can see rehearsal footage and interviews from her final performance, a sold-out retrospective.

The opening night audience included Sophia Lauren, Mick Jagger, Shirley Bassey, Diana Ross, and Liza Minelli. Four days after the show closed, Baker was found dead in her bed at age 68, surrounded by rave reviews of her performance. Her own assessment of her five-decade career was distinctly modest. Earlier that year, Baker told Ebony magazine, “I have never really been a great artist. I have been a human being that has loved art, which is not the same thing. But I have loved and believed in art and the idea of universal brotherhood so much, that I have put everything I have into them, and I have been blessed.” We might not agree with her critical self-evaluation, but her life bears out the strength and authenticity of her convictions.

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Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

What Did Ancient Greek Music Sound Like?: Listen to a Reconstruction That’s ‘100% Accurate’

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Between 750 BC and 400 BC, the Ancient Greeks composed songs meant to be accompanied by the lyre, reed-pipes, and various percussion instruments. More than 2,000 years later, modern scholars have figured out--at long last--how to reconstruct and perform these songs with (it's claimed) 100% accuracy.

Writing on the BBC web site, Armand D'Angour, a musician and tutor in classics at Oxford University, notes:

[Ancient Greek] instruments are known from descriptions, paintings and archaeological remains, which allow us to establish the timbres and range of pitches they produced.

And now, new revelations about ancient Greek music have emerged from a few dozen ancient documents inscribed with a vocal notation devised around 450 BC, consisting of alphabetic letters and signs placed above the vowels of the Greek words.

The Greeks had worked out the mathematical ratios of musical intervals - an octave is 2:1, a fifth 3:2, a fourth 4:3, and so on.

The notation gives an accurate indication of relative pitch.

So what did Greek music sound like? Below you can hear David Creese, a classicist from the University of Newcastle, play "an ancient Greek song taken from stone inscriptions constructed on an eight-string 'canon' (a zither-like instrument) with movable bridges. "The tune is credited to Seikilos," says Archaeology Magazine.

For more information on all of this, read D'Angour's article over at the BBC.

Note: This post first appeared on our site in 2013.

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The Case for Why Kraftwerk May Be the Most Influential Band Since the Beatles

They are performance artists of self-parody—four stiff Teutonic robots (sometimes played by actual robots), standing behind drum machines and sequencers, pushing buttons and singing things like “Wir fahr'n fahr'n fahr'n auf der Autobahn” and “it’s more fun to compute.” As if the Beach Boys had been reimagined from broken memory by German androids thousands of years in the future. Onstage, they match or exceed the commitment of later musical-theatrical acts they inspired like the Blue Man Group. Kraftwerk may be the most German of contributions to popular culture since Wagner.

For all their computerized industrial campiness, they really did come from the future, or they either anticipated or invented it, depending on your point of view. Kraftwerk (meaning “power station”) “essentially created the sonic blueprint from which the British new romantic and techno-pop movements arose, and provided the essential technology for much of hip-hop,” writes the Trouser Press Record Guide.




In addition to birthing Depeche Mode and Soft Cell’s synth pop and the smooth robo-funk of Afrika Bambaataa’s seminal “Planet Rock,” the band built the architecture of post-punk, techno, acid house, and Britpop with their experiments throughout the 70s and 80s, including the infamous “Autobahn.”

Kraftwerk began as two long-haired students, Ralf Hütter and Florian Schneider, who met in Dusseldorf in 1969, playing experimental music with electric, acoustic, and electronic instruments and with a variety of musicians, including guitarist Michael Rother and drummer Klaus Dinger. In Dinger’s pounding, repetitive drumming, they found their mekanik sound as early as 1970 (above), but had not yet transitioned into pop, or the clean-cut suit and tie look, until fully absorbing the influence of British artists Gilbert and George and receiving the guidance of superproducer Conny Plank. The early incarnation of Kraftwerk—along with other so-called early “Krautrock” groups like Can, and especially Rother and Dinger’s hugely influential, if obscure, NEU!—created the scaffolding for bands from Joy Division to Suicide to Sonic Youth to Stereolab (and the hundreds and hundreds of bands those bands inspired).

The driving “motorik” beat played by Dinger, and later by a drum machine, has been described by Brian Eno as one of the three great beats of the 70s, next to Clyde Stubblefield’s funk and Tony Allen’s Afrobeat. But the band’s other, song-oriented elements are just as influential for different reasons. In “Autobahn,” they use a more typical beat, slowed to a leisurely cruise. Their deadpan sprechgesang over an entirely synthesized pop composition set the template for generations. “They were the first band to embrace modern technology—not only in the instruments they played, but in the subject matter of their songs,” William Cook writes at The Spectator, who argues that the “po-faced kraut-rockers have become the most influential pop group of all time.”

While “today urban alienation is a common theme in pop music… back in the 1970s they seemed so avant-garde, it was almost impossible to take them seriously.” Those who know little of their legacy may still find this to be the case. A stiff satirical joke playing with German stereotypes as much as Monty Python telegraphed broadly hilarious versions of Englishness. But they are not soulless pranksters, but brilliant musicians whose finest work—like 1981’s “Computer Love,” from the album of the same name—is “cold, clean and clear—and wonderfully harmonious.” These haunting songs contain all of the ennui of the internet-dating age, before the internet (“I call this number / For a data date.”), the musical forebear of Her.

Cook argues that Kraftwerk did “more to shape modern music than anything since the Beatles,” an idea he shares with many other critics, such as the L.A. Times’ Randall Roberts, who names 1977’s “Trans Europe Express” as “the most important pop album of the last 40 years” and the “first high-art electronic pop record.” Looking on the album’s cover like computer programmers on their way to the prom, Kraftwerk, Roberts insists, was as influential as the experiments of Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak around the same time. Dismiss these seemingly hyperbolic comparisons if you will, but consider the fish who do not know what water is. If you were born in the mid-seventies or later, there’s never been a time in your life when you haven’t heard the elements of Kraftwerk’s alienated, ultra-modern, and—at its best, a little tongue-in-cheek—sound coming from car, home, dance club, or shopping mall speakers.

So much more than a novelty act, the band created the gorgeous sounds of European electronic pop that defined the 80s, especially with singles like “Computer Love” and “Tour de France.” Their stylish revolution never stopped, though they withdrew for a few years only to return in the 90s and 2000s with fully updated sounds, and always with a perfectly synchronous vision. When Schnieder briefly left to pursue a solo career, The Independent remarked, “it has apparently taken Schneider and his musical partner Ralf Hütter, four decades to discover musical differences.” They have continued to tour, now in light-up, neoprene bodysuits, like robot surfers, who might be mistaken for Daft Punk or any number of other similar major dance music superstars…. Except that Kraftwerk got there first, and, many a die-hard fan would argue, did it best.

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Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

Neil Young Offers His Entire Catalog of Music Free Online (Until June), at the Highest Digital Audio Quality Possible

Neil Young has always been an artist in conversation with the world around him—a troubadour, truth-teller, town crier, and chronicler of the excesses and evils of his age. His is not always a subtle art, but is often all the better for it. When he speaks out in song, people listen. And though Canadian, he’s done as much as any American songwriter of his generation to crystalize the U.S.’s seemingly perpetual domestic and foreign conflicts.

Young often works quickly and to spec, so to speak, to the needs of the moment. (He wrote his classic After the Gold Rush album in three weeks.) 1970’s Kent State-shooting response “Ohio” is plain-spoken and spare, its most indelible line a stark newspaper headline: “Four dead in Ohio.” It’s such an effectively poignant treatment that the song still resonates deeply forty-seven years later in a recent cover by Gary Clark, Jr.  Young reportedly wrote the song in fifteen minutes.




His early 70s songs “Southern Man” and “Alabama” inspired one of the most famous, and famously misunderstood, feuds in rock history when Lynyrd Skynyrd responded with “Sweet Home Alabama.” Ronnie Van Zandt claimed he wrote the song as a joke, and he and Young were always mutual admirers and friends. But Young’s deservedly angry lyrics made millions of people furious in return. (He has since looked back on “Alabama” with some regret, calling it, “not fully thought out” and saying it “ richly deserved the shot” Van Zandt took at him.)

As a longtime fan of Young’s loose, noisy, abstract psychedelic garage rock and of his tender acoustic ballads, I feel that it’s profoundly reductive to call him a protest singer. He's had a long and incredibly varied career, which he now invites us to survey, all of it, with the release of the Neil Young Archives, a smart, chronologically-organized online catalog spanning over 50 years, 39 studio albums, records made with Buffalo Springfield and CSNY, ten unreleased albums, and a few unreleased films.

The archive, Young says, “is designed to be a living document, constantly evolving and including every new recording and film as it is made.” All of this music is currently free, until June 30th, though you’ll have to create an account. After that date, users can subscribe for an unspecified but “very modest” cost.

The breadth of Young’s songwriting interests is on full display, from gentle love songs to dusty western sagas. In each decade, however, he has never hesitated to get political when he feels the call. And when Neil Young writes a protest song, he goes all in.

He’s taken in the past few years to writing entire protest albums. There’s the 2006 Iraq War protest, Living with War, a rush release Young penned quickly and recorded in only 9 days after seeing a USA Today headline. It went on to earn a Grammy nomination.

There’s the 2015 The Monsanto Years, recorded with his recent band Promise of the Real (which includes Willie Nelson’s sons Lukas and Micah). Recorded in live sessions at a converted movie theater, the album prompted Billboard to solicit responses from the corporations Young takes to task, including not only Monsanto but also Starbucks, Chevron, and Walmart.

The Visitors, Young’s new album with Promise of the Real, released just yesterday, may not be a full protest album, but it does have some straightforward protest songs, “Already Great” (top) contains the lyrics “You’re already great / You’re the promised land / You’re the helping hand” and ends with chants of “Whose streets? Our streets!” The track “Children of Destiny,” with its earnestly patriotic video (above) recalls, in some respects, Bruce Springsteen’s anthem “The Rising,” but with unambiguously lefty messaging referencing, among other things, the brutally repressed Standing Rock protests and the need to “stand up for the land.”

Young looks around him and looks ahead even when he’s looking back, seeking out new sounds, styles, recording techniques and technologies. Fittingly, on the day of The Visitors’ release, Young announced the Archives, which provides, as he wrote in a tweet, “fans & music historians with access to all of my music and to my entire archives in one location.” True to his forward-looking vision, he has updated the sound quality of these recordings to suit the needs of a digital age.

Rather than succumbing to the trend of streaming services’ low quality mp3s—a phenomenon he has long fought—Young offers all of this music at the highest quality possible, “not compromised,” he writes on the site, “by compression schemes to save memory.” He promises “the clarity richness, transparency, and detail of the original performance.” He doesn’t promise that the hundreds of live, studio, and unreleased songs in the archive merit this careful, high-tech treatment, but if you’re a Neil Young fan, you’re already convinced most of them do, from the most earnest political anthems to the quietest ballads and most raucous free-form jams.

Visit the Neil Young Archive here.

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Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

Hear The Rite of Spring Conducted by Igor Stravinsky Himself: A Vintage Recording from 1929

Though more than a century of musical change has passed since its infamously near-riotous debut at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, The Rite of Spring remains a formidable challenge for any conductor. "I remember the first time I conducted the 'Rite' more than half a century ago," the late Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos told The Los Angeles Times in 2013, the year of the pagan ballet and orchestral work's centenary. "I needed two weeks to prepare it. This piece, no matter how many times you have performed it, is a monster who can eat you in one moment. There are so many places that are dangerous. This will never be a normal piece."

Seiji Ozawa, who has recorded The Rite of Spring with the Chicago and Boston Symphony Orchestras, knows that full well. In Absolutely on Music, his book of conversations with novelist Haruki Murakami, he addresses the "fiasco" of that very first performance: "The piece itself is partly to blame, but it could well be that the orchestra wasn't fully prepared to perform it. The piece is full of musical acrobatics. I wish I had asked Pierre Monteux about it directly. We were very close for a while." He means the conductor of The Rite of Spring's debut, who went on to record it in 1929, just as soon as electronic microphones made it possible to do so.




So, however, did Stravinsky himself, whose own 1929 recording with the Walther Straram Concerts Orchestra, performing again in the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, you can hear at the top of the post. But this record, as Peter Gutmann writes at Classicalnotes.net, is "not by the composer of the Rite. No, I haven't uncovered a fraud. It's indeed Stravinsky who wields the baton, but in the 16 years since the premiere he had undergone a vast change of artistic personality. No longer the wild firebrand who had scandalized musical society, he had converted to neoclassicism, and that's just the type of reading he leads here – dispassionate, manicured and reticent, with the final sacrificial dance downright labored." You can compare Stravinsky's first recording to Monteux's first recording, with the Grand Orchestre Symphonique, just below.

That 1929 record hardly marked the end of Monteux's relationship with the piece: "When Stravinsky first played him the music for The Rite, Monteux had to go and sit down in another room, concluding that he would stick to conducting Brahms," writes WQXR's Phil Kline. But after first conducting it, he worked with the composer on score touch-ups and became the leading proponent of The Rite as a concert work," ultimately recording it not just once but four times. Recent generations, of course, have mostly come to know The Rite of Spring through Leopold Stokowski's version in Disney's Fantasia, a rendition Stravinsky called "execrable." But if the sheer, brutal-seeming unconventionality of the piece shocked its Parisian audience in 1913, we in the 21st century, listening to the many interpretations that have come out in the past 89 years, might well find ourselves startled at how many possibilities The Rite of Spring still contains.

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Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities and culture. His projects include the book The Stateless City: a Walk through 21st-Century Los Angeles and the video series The City in Cinema. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.

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