Musical Mixology: The Rite of Spring

You must be parched! It’s been unbearably long since my last Musical Mixology post, but the wait is over. To quench your thirst and celebrate the DVD release of "The Rite of Spring: A Musical Odyssey," I’ve finally crafted not one, but two “Rite of Spring” cocktails recipes. With our film production still fresh in mind, and May 29th being the 104-year anniversary of The Rite of Spring’s premiere, now seemed the perfect time to reflect on Stravinsky’s masterwork and allow its lessons of risk and sacrifice inspire equally daring mixology concoctions

Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring will push any listener’s body and spirit to the brink, and as a performer/film producer, the piece is a real kick in the ass. As such, I aimed to craft a cocktail that could embody the visceral, raw power of the music… a drink that could approximate the incendiary rush of creation. Behold:

THE RITE OF SPRING COCKTAIL 1

Ingredients:

  • LOTS of VODKA

Instructions:

  • Pair with a performance of Stravinsky’ Rite of Spring
  • Take one shot before music commences.
  • Down a second shot immediately before “The Sacrificial Dance.”
  • Repeat as necessary.
  • 😬

For the more adventurous bartender, we have a more sophisticated, earthy brew inspired by the “Rite’s” climactic centerpiece, “The Dancing Out of the Earth.” The cocktail aspires to represent the explosion of springtime… a swirling dance of delirium, harmony, and ecstasy. Rye is the base, chosen for its dryness and hint of spice that pairs nicely with the woodiness of Birkir snaps, an Icelandic birch liqueur made by Foss Distillery. St-Germain adds spring florals and calls to mind the “Rite’s" Parisian premiere. Most significantly, the cocktail is rounded out with a charred tarragon leaf, imparting an herbal smokiness to the drink… and hinting at the flames to come. 
 

THE RITE OF SPRING COCKTAIL 2

(based on a recipe by Matthew Itkin)

Ingredients:

  • 2 ounces rye whiskey
  • 1 ounce Birkir snaps
  • 1/2 ounce St-Germain liqueur
  • 1 dash orange bitters
  • 1 tarragon leaf

Instructions:
Pour first four ingredients into a mixing glass filled with ice and stir. Strain into a coup glass. Using tongs, char a tarragon leaf over a flame and float over the cocktail as a fragrant garnish.
 

Watch our DVD "The Rite of Spring: A Musical Odyssey” with one of these cocktails in hand to quench your thirst and delight—or overwhelm!—your senses.

- Greg

A&R: 2017 Cliburn Competition Webcast Hosts

After a busy touring season (75+ performances worldwide, including appearances with the San Francisco Symphony and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic!), we’re shifting gears to host the official live webcast of the upcoming 2017 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition.

Join us online (and at movie theaters—see below!) May 25 – June 10 as we guide viewers through over 110 hours of live performances, interviews, and behind-the-scenes footage. The webcasts, broadcast by medici.tv, will be available both live and on demand for free to viewers around the world at Cliburn.org and for the first time ever, you can experience the final round performances (hosted by yours truly!) at over 300 movie theaters nationwide on Saturday, June 10. To find a participating theater near you, click here.

(And don't worry; we'll do our best to bring our Tara Lipinski & Johnny Weir charm to the proceedings. 😉 )

Lose Yourself to Dance!

Lights, skates, cameras, action! It's been a while in the making (due to our nonstop touring schedule!) but our latest music video is finally here—our two-piano cover of Daft Punk's "Lose Yourself to Dance," filmed at the Moonlight Rollerway in Los Angeles:

We managed to get two Steinway concert grands into this famed roller rink (featured in a plethora of TV shows, movies, and music videos), the ideal venue for Daft Punk's discotastic track. Joined by our wonderful co-director, producer and cinematographer, Victoria Sendra (with whom we collaborated on our recent "Mambo" and "Shake It Off" music videos), and her assistant Christopher Ruiz, we made the most of our brief shoot on and off the pianos (needless to say, our musical coordination as a duo doesn't translate so seamlessly to roller skating ... we may have taken a few spills during filming!). In the end, we envisioned a video that visually reflects the kaleidoscopic, hypnotic groove of the music, and we hope it inspires you to lose yourself in the best way possible.

Magic in the discolights...

UK Premiere of Thomas Adès' "Concert Paraphrase on Powder Her Face"

This week we're performing a recital on the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic's Close Up concert series, featuring the complete Rite of Spring and a special all-British music set, including Thomas Adès' Powder Her Face concert paraphrase and our arrangements of Arne's The Morning and the Beatles' "Let It Be" (a loving, gospel-gone-wild homage to the band's provenance). 

We're particularly excited to present the UK premiere of Thomas Adès latest work for piano (in this case, two pianos!) — it's a potent, kaleidoscopic, and topical addition to the repertoire.

On Thursday, we'll join forces with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and Maestro Christian Lindberg in Francis Poulenc's Double Concerto.

Rite of Spring DVD available for sale

Looking to cozy up with your loved ones this holiday season? You're in luck — we've already drawn up a fire... a 140-year-old piano ablaze in the desert, in fact.

Our film "The Rite of Spring: A Musical Odyssey" is finally available for sale on CDBaby.com. The music video fuses a ferocious dueling piano performance of Igor Stravinsky's 35-minute masterwork with an epic tale of soul-searching and survival, culminating in the sacrificial destruction of an ancient piano. Since 2013 when we uploaded the film to YouTube in 10 episodes, we've made countless adjustments to the work and presented it at multiple film festivals. Now, we're excited to release the complete, definitive version to the public.

In addition to the film itself, the DVD includes a 30-minute documentary featuring behind-the-scenes footage and interviews entitled "Chronicles of the Rite."

It's the perfect holiday gift for friends and family! Purchase the DVD here.