Camille Saint-Saëns performing Mozart at the Salle Gaveau, Pierre Monteux conducting—Paris, November 5th, 1913. 
Earlier that year, Saint-Saëns was awarded France’s highest order, the Grand-Croix de la Légion d’honneur. It has often been recounted that Saint-Saëns stormed out of the première of Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring on 29 May 1913, infuriated over what he considered the misuse of the bassoon in the ballet’s opening bars. In fact, according to Stravinsky, he was not present on that occasion, but did walk out of the first concert performance of the score, conducted by Pierre Monteux in April 1914; Saint-Saëns remarked that Stravinsky was “mad”.

Camille Saint-Saëns performing Mozart at the Salle Gaveau, Pierre Monteux conductingParis, November 5th, 1913.

Earlier that year, Saint-Saëns was awarded France’s highest order, the Grand-Croix de la Légion d’honneur. It has often been recounted that Saint-Saëns stormed out of the première of Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring on 29 May 1913, infuriated over what he considered the misuse of the bassoon in the ballet’s opening bars. In fact, according to Stravinsky, he was not present on that occasion, but did walk out of the first concert performance of the score, conducted by Pierre Monteux in April 1914; Saint-Saëns remarked that Stravinsky was “mad”.

Catherine and Igor Stravinsky, hôtel du Châtelard, Clarens, 1913.

Catherine and Igor Stravinsky, hôtel du Châtelard, Clarens, 1913.

Serge Diaghilev in Ouchy - Mikhail Fiodorovich Larionov, 1915
Russian artist Mikhail Larionov sketched several spontaneous moments of Diaghilev and his circle, both at work and at leisure. This one struck me as somewhat amusing for its candidness. The young man in the background is more than likely dancer Léonide Massine, who frequently travelled with Diaghilev and choreographed Soleil de nuit for the Ballets Russes, which premiered in Geneva in December of 1915.

Serge Diaghilev in OuchyMikhail Fiodorovich Larionov, 1915

Russian artist Mikhail Larionov sketched several spontaneous moments of Diaghilev and his circle, both at work and at leisure. This one struck me as somewhat amusing for its candidness. The young man in the background is more than likely dancer Léonide Massine, who frequently travelled with Diaghilev and choreographed Soleil de nuit for the Ballets Russes, which premiered in Geneva in December of 1915.

"I was … attacked for being a pasticheur, chided for composing ‘simple’ music, blamed for deserting ‘modernism,’ accused of renouncing my ‘true Russian heritage.’ People who had never heard of, or cared about, the originals cried ‘sacrilege’: ‘The classics are ours. Leave the classics alone.’ To them all my answer was and is the same: You ‘respect,’ but I love."

— Igor Stravinsky, Expositions and Developments, 1959

Stravinsky, Diaghilev, Cocteau and Erik Satie in Paris - Mikhail Fiodorovich Larionov, 1917

Stravinsky, Diaghilev, Cocteau and Erik Satie in Paris - Mikhail Fiodorovich Larionov, 1917

Maurice Ravel and Igor Stravinsky, c. 1913. Stravinsky recalled fondly of Ravel’s defense of The Rite of Spring in later years during one of his Harvard lectures: "I hold that it was wrong to have considered me a revolutionary. When the Rite appeared, many opinions were advanced concerning it. In the tumult of contradictory opinions, my friend Maurice Ravel intervened practically alone to set matters right. He was able to see, and he said, that the novelty of the Rite consisted, not in the writing, not in the orchestration, not in the technical apparatus of the work, but in the musical entity.”

Maurice Ravel and Igor Stravinsky, c. 1913. Stravinsky recalled fondly of Ravel’s defense of The Rite of Spring in later years during one of his Harvard lectures: "I hold that it was wrong to have considered me a revolutionary. When the Rite appeared, many opinions were advanced concerning it. In the tumult of contradictory opinions, my friend Maurice Ravel intervened practically alone to set matters right. He was able to see, and he said, that the novelty of the Rite consisted, not in the writing, not in the orchestration, not in the technical apparatus of the work, but in the musical entity.”

The wise elders of Le Sacre. Costumes by Nicholas Roerich. 1913.

The wise elders of Le Sacre. Costumes by Nicholas Roerich. 1913.

Elevation of the facade of the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, preparatory drawing. Auguste Perret c. 1908

Elevation of the facade of the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, preparatory drawing. Auguste Perret c. 1908

"Look out! Be on your guard, because alone of all the arts, music moves all around you."

— Jean Cocteau, Le Coq et l’Arlequin, 1918

Jean Cocteau in 1909, the year he met Sergei Diaghilev, who encouraged him to venture into the genre of ballet. Cocteau wrote the story for Le Dieu bleu which premiered in May of 1912. A year later, he was in attendance at the premiere of The RIte of Spring, and remarked, rather scathingly, of the crowd “the smart audience in tails and tulle, diamonds and ospreys, was interspersed with the suits and bandeaux of the aesthetic crowd. The latter would applaud novelty simply to show their contempt for the people in the boxes… Innumerable shades of snobbery, super-snobbery and inverted snobbery were represented.”

Jean Cocteau in 1909, the year he met Sergei Diaghilev, who encouraged him to venture into the genre of ballet. Cocteau wrote the story for Le Dieu bleu which premiered in May of 1912. A year later, he was in attendance at the premiere of The RIte of Spring, and remarked, rather scathingly, of the crowd “the smart audience in tails and tulle, diamonds and ospreys, was interspersed with the suits and bandeaux of the aesthetic crowd. The latter would applaud novelty simply to show their contempt for the people in the boxes… Innumerable shades of snobbery, super-snobbery and inverted snobbery were represented.”