Persephone, of her own free will, descends to the Underworld in compassion for the hapless Shades, there to become Pluto's wife. Springtime accompanies her ascent back to terrestrial life and a second marriage – to Triptolemus, the first farmer. According to the cycle of the seasons, thus established, she will in due course return to the Underworld. Persephone, writes David Schiff, is Stravinsky's "other" Rite of Spring – another fertility myth about Spring's arrival. "Unlike the Chosen One in Le Sacre, Persephone chooses her fate . . . out of compassion for the forlorn inhabitants of Pluto's dark realm . . . Persephone can be read as a type of Christ, sacrificing her own life to redeem human suffering, or as an image of the socially committed artist who moves between the realms of aesthetic delight and human misery. Stravinsky's music, full of religious awe and humanistic wisdom, mirrors both readings."
This programme note can be reproduced free of charge in concert programmes with a credit to Boosey & Hawkes/Joseph Horowitz.
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