Chants du Printemps is an expanded version of a smaller work, completed in 2010, for two oboes, cor anglais, harp and percussion. The earlier piece, Canto di Primavera, included a couple of oblique references to Stravinsky’s Le Sacre du Printemps, which Stephen Pratt, during the centenary year of this iconic masterpiece, decided to develop in his recomposed work. There are few actual quotations — the references consist of half-remembered snatches of a rhythm or a melody, or a specific timbre (for example, the high bassoon at the end of the third movement, Misterioso). The somewhat lighter second movement hints at the famous ostinato from the Danse des Adolescentes, and the final movement, a celebration rather than a sacrifice, concludes with the clearest references to the original — a collage of three distorted snippets from Part I of Le Sacre. Despite such borrowings, it is hoped that the listener will enjoy Chants du Printemps in its own right (no pun intended).
“Stephen Pratt’s homage to Stravinsky, Chants du Printemps, was a fearless attempt to harness the brute energy of The Rite of Spring, like a rodeo rider clinging to a particularly implacable bull.”