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Encyclopedia > The Firebird

The Firebird (French: L'Oiseau de feu; Russian: Жар-птица, Žar-ptica) is a 1910 ballet by Igor Stravinsky. The ballet is based on Russian folk tales of the magical glowing bird of the same name that is both a blessing and a curse to its captor. Year 1910 (MCMX) was a common year starting on Saturday (link will display calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Friday [1] of the 13-day-slower Julian calendar). ... Igor Stravinsky. ... Folklore is the ethnographic concept of the tales, legends, or superstitions current among a particular ethnic population, a part of the oral history of a particular culture. ... In Russian folklore, the Firebird (жар-птица, zhar-ptitsa, literally ember bird from жар ember, flameless fire) is a magical glowing bird from a faraway land, which is both blessing and doom of its captor. ...


The music was premiered as a ballet by Diaghilev's Ballets Russes in Paris on 25 June 1910 conducted by Gabriel Pierné. It was the first of their productions with music specially composed for them. Originally the music was to have been written by Russian composer Anatol Liadov (1855-1914); but when he was slow in starting work, Diaghilev transferred the commission to the 28-year old Stravinsky. The ballet has historic significance not only as Stravinsky's 'breakthrough piece' ("Mark him well", said Diaghilev to Tamara Karsavina, who was dancing the title role: "He is a man on the eve of celebrity..."), but also as the beginning of the collaboration between Diaghilev and Stravinsky that would also produce Petrushka and The Rite of Spring. Sergei Pavlovich Diaghilev (Сергей Павлович Дягилев) (March 19, 1872 – August 19, 1929), often known as Serge, was a Russian ballet impresario and founder of the Ballets Russes from which many famous... Léon Bakst: Firebird, Ballerina, 1910 There was also the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo from 1932 to 1963 The Ballets Russes was a ballet company established in 1909 by the Russian impresario Serge Diaghilev and resident first in the Théâtre Mogador and Théâtre du Châtelet, Paris... This article is about the capital of France. ... is the 176th day of the year (177th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1910 (MCMX) was a common year starting on Saturday (link will display calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Friday [1] of the 13-day-slower Julian calendar). ... Henri Constant Gabriel Pierné (Metz, 16 August 1863– Ploujean, Finistere, 17 July, 1937) was a French organist and composer. ... Anatoly Konstantinovich Lyadov (Анатолий Константинович Лядов), often transliterated Liadov, (May 11, 1855 - August 28, 1914) was a Russian composer, teacher and conductor. ... Tamara Platonovna Karsavina (March 10, 1885 – May 26, 1978) was a famous Russian ballerina who eventually settled in England, where she helped found the Royal Academy of Dancing in 1920. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... The Rite of Spring, commonly referred to by its original French title, Le Sacre du printemps (Russian: Весна священная, Vesna svjaščennaja) is a ballet with music by the Russian composer Igor Stravinsky, which was first performed in 1913. ...

Contents

Story

Stravinsky's ballet centers on the journey of its hero, Prince Ivan. Ivan enters the magical realm of Kashchei the Immortal; all of the magical objects and creatures of Kashchei are herein represented by a chromatic descending motif, usually in the strings. While wandering in the garden, he sees and chases the Firebird. The Firebird, once caught by Ivan, begs for its life and ultimately agrees to assist Ivan in exchange for eventual freedom. In Russian mythology, Koschei (Russian: , Koshschey) is an evil person of ugly senile appearance, menacing principally young women. ... The chromatic scale is a scale with twelve pitches, each a semitone or half step apart. ... In music, a motif is a perceivable or salient reoccurring fragment or succession of notes that may used to construct the entirety or parts of complete melodies, themes. ...


Next, Prince Ivan sees thirteen princesses, with one of whom he falls in love. The next day, Ivan chooses to confront Kashchei to ask to marry one of the princesses; the two talk and eventually begin quarreling. When Kashchei sends his magical creatures after Ivan, the Firebird, true to its pledge, intervenes, bewitching the creatures and making them dance an elaborate, energetic dance (the "Infernal Dance"). The creatures and Kashchei then fall asleep; however, Kashchei awakens and is killed by the Firebird. With Kashchei gone and his magic broken, the magical creatures and the palace all disappear, and all of the "real" beings (including the princesses) awaken and, with one final fleeting appearance from the Firebird, celebrate their victory.

Léon Bakst: Firebird, Ballerina, 1910
Léon Bakst: Firebird, Ballerina, 1910

Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1576x2152, 500 KB) Description: Title: de: Ballettfigurine zu: Feuervogel Technique: de: Wasserfarben, Papier Dimensions: de: 25 × 18 cm Country of origin: de: Rußland Current location (city): de: Paris Current location (gallery): de: Sammlung de Béarn Other notes: Source: The... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1576x2152, 500 KB) Description: Title: de: Ballettfigurine zu: Feuervogel Technique: de: Wasserfarben, Papier Dimensions: de: 25 × 18 cm Country of origin: de: Rußland Current location (city): de: Paris Current location (gallery): de: Sammlung de Béarn Other notes: Source: The... Self-portrait Léon Nikolayevich Bakst (May 10, 1866 - December 28, 1924) was a Russian painter and scene- and costume- designer who revolutionized the arts he worked in. ...

Versions

People often speak of "Stravinsky's music for The Firebird" as if just one work exists; in fact, besides the complete 50-minute ballet score of 1909-10 (written for a very large orchestra including quadruple woodwind and three harps, as well as a piano), there also exist no fewer than three shorter 'suites', arranged by the composer himself for concert performance. These date from 1911, 1919 and 1945. While the 1919-suite remains the most wide spread and well known, the 1945 version contains the most music from the original ballet score (partly motivated by the need to secure copyright in a USA that did not recognise European agreements).


Note that there is no consensus for the precise naming of either the different versions, or the naming of the movements, or the numbering of the movements. Different recordings tend to follow different naming conventions. While this partly might be due to the English translation from the original French names, some recordings of the orchestral suites even avoid referring to the tale by just calling the movements by their formal names, i.e., Adagio, Scherzo, Rondo and Allegro.


1910 Ballet Score (aka "Ballet in 2 scenes for orchestra")

(1) Introduction; 1st Tableau: (2) The Enchanted Garden of Kashchei; (3) Appearance of the Firebird, Pursued by Prince Ivan; (4) Dance Of The Firebird; (5) Capture Of The Firebird By Prince Ivan; (6) Supplication Of The Firebird; (7) Appearance Of The Thirteen Enchanted Princesses; (8) The Princesses' Game With The Golden Apples; (9) Sudden Appearance Of Prince Ivan; (10) Khorovod (Round Dance) Of The Princesses; (11) Daybreak; (12) Magic Carillon, Appearance Of Kashchei's Monster Guardians, And Capture Of Prince Ivan; (13) Arrival Of Kashchei The Immortal; (14) Dialogue Of Kashchei And Prince Ivan; (15) Intercession Of The Princesses; (16) Appearance Of The Firebird; (17) Dance Of Kashchei's Retinue, Enchanted By The Firebird; (18) Infernal Dance Of All Kashchei's Subjects; (19) Lullaby; (20) Kashchei's Awakening; (21) Kashchei's Death; (22) Profound Darkness; 2nd Tableau: (23) Disappearance Of Kastchei's Palace and Magical Creations, Return to Life of the Petrified Knights, General Rejoicing


Orchestration: 4 Flutes (3rd & 4th also Piccolo); 3 Oboes; English Horn; 3 Clarinets (3rd also D Clarinet); Bass Clarinet; 3 Bassoons (2nd also 2nd Contrabassoon); Contrabassoon; 4 Horns; 3 Trumpets; 3 Trombones; Tuba; 3 Trumpets (onstage); 2 Tenor Tubas (onstage); 2 Bass Tubas (onstage); Timpani; Percussion; Glockenspiel; Xylophone; Celesta; 3 Harps; Pianoforte; Strings. This article pertains to the musical instrument. ... The piccolo is a small flute. ... Modern Oboe The Oboe is a musical instrument of the woodwind family. ... Cor anglais The cor anglais or English horn is a musical instrument of the woodwind family. ... A bass clarinet, which sounds an octave lower than the more common Bb soprano clarinet. ... Eâ™­ clarinet with Oehler system keywork. ... The bass clarinet is a musical instrument of the clarinet family. ... Bassoon Playing range of a bassoon The bassoon is the tenor member of the woodwind family. ... This is a contrabassoon. ... The horn (popularly known also as the French horn) is a brass instrument decended from the natural horn that consists of tubing wrapped into a coiled form. ... Trumpets in the Bible According to Eastons Bible Dictionary, trumpets in the Bible were of a great variety of forms and were made of various materials. ... Never look at the trombones. ... For other uses, see Tuba (disambiguation). ... The euphonium is a conical-bore, baritone-voiced brass instrument. ... For other uses, see Tuba (disambiguation). ... A timpanist in the United States Air Forces in Europe Band. ... Percussion instruments are played by being struck, shaken, rubbed or scraped. ... Most orchestral glockenspiels are mounted in a case. ... Kulintang a Kayo, a Philippine xylophone The xylophone (from the Greek meaning wooden sound) is a musical instrument in the percussion family which probably originated in Indonesia. ... French type, four-octave Celesta The Celesta (IPA ) is a struck idiophone operated by a keyboard. ... The High Accuracy Radial velocity Planet Searcher (HARPS) is a high-precision echelle spectrograph installed in 2002 with first light achieved February 2003 on ESOs 3. ... The piano Piano is a common abbreviation for pianoforte, a large musical instrument with a keyboard (see keyboard instrument). ... A string instrument (also stringed instrument) is a musical instrument that produces sound by means of vibrating strings. ...


Notice: the naming convention of the movements and their numberings may be slightly different from one recording to another. E.g. the three parts of the 2nd Tableau may - amongst several others - be seen as: Part II, No. 19a, "Disappearance of the Palace and Dissolution of Kascheri's Enchantments"; No. 19b, "Captive Warriors Emerge From Spell"; No. 19c, "General Thanksgiving".


1911 Suite (aka "Concert suite for orchestra No. 1")

1) Introduction - Kashchei’s Enchanted Garden - Dance of the Firebird; (2) Supplication of the Firebird; (3) The Princesses’ Game with Apples; (4) The Princesses’ Khorovod (Rondo, round dance); (5) Infernal dance of all Kashchei’s Subjects.


Orchestration: essentially as per the original ballet - the score was printed from the same plates, with only the new endings for the movements being newly engraved.


Notice:

  • Some recordings will list movement no. 1) as three movements.
  • The 2005 remastered edition on Sony with conductor Pierre Boulez calls it "Ballet suite for orchestra", while the same previous 1991 edition on Sony called it "Suite, 1910". One could argue that the later is more correct even if they missed it by a year. The "Ballet suite for orchestra" would have been a more appropriate name for the "1945 Suite" as this compared to the two other orchestral suites contains most of the music from the original ballet score.
  • Might also be referred to as a "Symphonic Suite".

1919 Suite (aka "Concert suite for orchestra No. 2")

(1) Introduction - The Firebird and its dance - The Firebird's variation; (2) The Princesses’ Khorovod (Rondo, round dance); (3) Infernal dance of King Kashchei; (4) Berceuse (Lullaby); (5) Finale.


Orchestration: 2 Flutes (inc. Piccolo); 2 Oboes (inc. English Horn); 2 Clarinets; 2 Bassoons; 4 Horns; 2 Trumpets; 3 Trombones; Tuba; Timpani; Percussion; Harp; Pianoforte; Strings.


Notice:

  • Some recordings will list movement no. 1) as two or three movements.
  • Might also be referred to as a "Symphonic Suite".

1945 Suite (aka "Ballet suite for orchestra")

(1) Introduction - The Firebird and its dance - The Firebird's variation; (2) Pantomime I; (3) Pas de deux: Firebird and Ivan Tsarevich; (4) Pantomime II; (5) Scherzo: Dance of the Princesses; (6) Pantomime III; (7) The Princesses' Khorovod (Rondo, round dance); (8) Infernal dance of King Kashchei; (9) Berceuse (Lullaby); (10) Finale.


Orchestration: 2 Flutes (inc. Piccolo); 2 Oboes; 2 Clarinets; 2 Bassoons; 4 Horns; 2 Trumpets; 3 Trombones; Tuba; Timpani; Percussion; Harp; Pianoforte; Strings.


Notice:

  • Some recordings will list movement no. 1) as three movements.
  • Might also be referred to as a "Symphonic Suite".

Trivia

Léon Bakst's costume of the Firebird.

Electronic musician Isao Tomita arranged a synthesized version of the short 1919 Firebird suite for his 1975 album of the same name. Image File history File links Broom_icon. ... Image File history File links Zharptitsa. ... Image File history File links Zharptitsa. ... Self-portrait Léon Nikolayevich Bakst (May 10, 1866 - December 28, 1924) was a Russian painter and scene- and costume- designer who revolutionized the arts he worked in. ... An electronic musician is a musician who composes or plays music from synthetic sounds generated with synthesizers, samplers, drum machines or music sequencers. ... Isao Tomita , born April 22, 1932), is a renowned Japanese electronic music composer. ... For other uses, see Synthesizer (disambiguation). ...


Many adaptations of the Firebird Suite for Concert Band, Marching Band and Drum Corps have been made throughout the years. A concert band, also called wind band, symphonic band, symphonic winds, wind orchestra, wind symphony, or wind ensemble, is a performing ensemble consisting of several members of the woodwind instrument family, brass instrument family and percussion instrument family. ... An American college marching band on the field (University of Texas) A marching band is a group of instrumental musicians who generally perform outdoors, and who incorporate movement â€“ usually some type of marching â€“ with their musical performance. ... Drum and bugle corps is a name used to describe two forms of marching units. ...


The chapter in the animated film Fantasia 2000 based on Stravinsky's piece takes an unrelated approach, using an abridged version of the 1919 suite to tell the story of a spring sprite and her companion elk. After a long winter the sprite attempts to restore life to a forest but accidentally wakes the "Firebird" spirit of a nearby volcano. Angered, the Firebird proceeds to destroy the forest and seemingly the sprite. She is restored to life after the destruction and the forest life is reborn with her. The Fantasia 2000 Firebird chapter is considered an exercise in the theme of life-death-rebirth deities; the depiction of the Firebird in it as a violent, flaming volcanic spirit is not related to Stravinsky's original theme. Arguably, this depiction acts as a literal Rite of Spring, another Stravinsky ballet used by Disney in the previous Fantasia film. The bouncing ball animation (below) consists of these 6 frames. ... “Moving picture” redirects here. ... Fantasia 2000 is an animated feature produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation and released by Walt Disney Pictures. ... This article is about the legendary or mythical sprite. ... Binomial name Cervus elaphus Linnaeus, 1758 Red Deer (Cervus elaphus) is one of the largest species of deer in the world. ... The Rite of Spring is a ballet with music by the Russian composer Igor Stravinsky. ... Fantasia is a 1940 motion picture, produced by Walt Disney and first released on November 13, 1940 in the United States. ...


Stravinsky's work has also had a great deal of influence in musical genres outside of classical. Throughout their career, the progressive rock group Yes have opened their live concerts with an excerpt from The Firebird, and their 1974 song "The Gates of Delirium" is heavily influenced by musical ideas pioneered by Stravinsky. Classical music is a broad, somewhat imprecise term, referring to music produced in, or rooted in the traditions of, European art, ecclesiastical and concert music, encompassing a broad period from roughly 1000 to the present day. ... For the Swedish political music movement, see progg. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ...


Cliff Eidelman's score for the 1991 film Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country borrows thematic elements from the Firebird. Cliff Eidelman (born December 5, 1964) is an American film score composer and conductor most famous for scoring the dramatic scores Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country and Christopher Columbus: The Discovery at a very young age. ... Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (Paramount Pictures, 1991; see also 1991 in film) is the sixth feature film based on the popular Star Trek science fiction television series. ...


Selected recorded versions

Complete Ballet

  • Antal Dorati conducting the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, recorded in 1982 on the DECCA label. Released in 1992 along with Apollon.

Igor Stravinsky. ... The Columbia Symphony Orchestra is, (or was) an orchestra formed by the recording company Columbia, and provided a vehicle for some of their better known recording artists, with perhaps the most important contributions made by the conductor Bruno Walter, who made recordings of Beethoven and Mozart symphonies, amongst others, with... Year 1962 (MCMLXII) was a common year starting on Monday (the link is to a full 1962 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Columbia Masterworks Records was a record label started in 1927 as Masterworks Records, a subsidiary of Columbia Records. ... CD may stand for: Compact Disc Canadian Forces Decoration Cash Dispenser (at least used in Japan) CD LPMud Driver Centrum-Demokraterne (Centre Democrats of Denmark) Certificate of Deposit ÄŒeské Dráhy (Czech Railways) Chad (NATO country code) Chalmers Datorförening (computer club of the Chalmers University of Technology) a 1960s... Seiji Ozawa , born September 1, 1935) is a Japanese conductor. ... The Orchestre de Paris is a French orchestra created in 1967, based in Paris, whose current Music Director is Christoph Eschenbach. ... For the song by James Blunt, see 1973 (song). ... The EMI Group (LSE: EMI) is a British music company comprising of the major record company EMI Music which operates several labels, based in Kensington in London, England, and EMI Music Publishing, based in New York. ... The Royal Danish Orchestra (Det Kongelige Kapel, literally The Royal Band) is a Danish orchestra based in the Royal Danish Theatre, Copenhagen. ... The Royal Danish Ballet is one of the oldest ballet troupes in Europe. ... Glen Tetley (b. ... Year 1982 (MCMLXXXII) was a common year starting on Friday (link displays the 1982 Gregorian calendar). ... Size comparison: A 12 cm Sony DVD+RW and a 19 cm Dixon Ticonderoga pencil. ... Also see: 2002 (number). ... Pierre Boulez Pierre Boulez (IPA: /pjɛʁ.buˈlÉ›z/) (born March 26, 1925) is a conductor and composer of classical music. ... Also see: 2002 (number). ... Logo Deutsche Grammophon is a German record label. ... Antal Dor ti (April 9, 1906 - November 13, 1988) was a conductor and composer. ... Robert Lawson Craft (October 20th, 1923 - ) is an American conductor and writer on music best known for his intimate working friendship with Igor Stravinsky, a relationship which has resulted in a number of recordings and books. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... -1... Pétrouchka (English: Petrushka; Russian: петрушка) is a ballet with music by the Russian composer Igor Stravinsky. ... Michael Tilson Thomas (born December 21, 1944), nicknamed MTT, is an American conductor, pianist and composer. ... The San Francisco Symphony is a major orchestra based in San Francisco, California. ... The San Francisco Symphony Chorus is the resident chorus of the San Francisco Symphony (SFS). ... The tone or style of this article or section may not be appropriate for Wikipedia. ... The Rite of Spring, commonly referred to by its original French title, Le Sacre du printemps (Russian: Весна священная, Vesna svjaščennaja) is a ballet with music by the Russian composer Igor Stravinsky, which was first performed in 1913. ... See also: 2000 in music (UK) Musical groups established in 2000 Record labels established in 2000 2000s in music. ... The Grammy Award for Best Orchestral Performance has been awarded since 1959. ... The Grammy Award for Best Classical Album has been awarded since 1962. ...

Firebird Suite

  • Kazuhito Yamashita - arrangement for classical guitar (released on RCA Records in 1989; the disc also includes a classical guitar arrangement of Antonín Dvořák's Symphony No. 9)
  • Jahni Mardjani conducting the Georgian Festival Orchestra. This disc also has a version of Claude Debussy's Nocturnes


The great Russian ballerina Natalia Makarova provides narration in a recording of the complete ballet score that features the Seattle Symphony and conductor Gerard Schwarz. This Delos CD brings the story alive, especially for those new to ballet and/or the younger set. Ms. Makarova danced the role of the Firebird many times in her career. This article does not cite any references or sources. ... The Cleveland Orchestra is one of the major symphony orchestras in the United States. ... Epic Records is an American record label, owned and operated by Sony BMG. // Epic was launched originally as a jazz and classical music label in 1953 by CBS. Its bright-yellow, black and blue logo became a familiar trademark for many jazz and classical releases. ... Sir William Turner Walton, OM (March 29, 1902–March 8, 1983) was a British composer whose style was influenced by the works of Stravinsky, Sibelius and jazz. ... Pierre Monteux (April 4, 1875 – July 1, 1964) was an orchestra conductor. ... The Orchestre de la Société des Concerts du Conservatoire was a symphony orchestra established in Paris in 1828. ... It has been suggested that Decca Music Group be merged into this article or section. ... Year 1972 (MCMLXXII) was a leap year starting on Saturday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Pétrouchka (English: Petrushka; Russian: петрушка) is a ballet with music by the Russian composer Igor Stravinsky. ... Russian conductor Gennady Rozhdestvensky (left) with Czech composer Lukáš Matoušek at the closing concert of Prague Spring Festival 2007, Municipal Hall, Prague. ... The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra (Koninklijk Concertgebouworkest in Dutch) is the best known and most respected orchestra in the Netherlands, and is generally considered to be among the worlds finest. ... “Mozart” redirects here. ... Le nozze di Figaro ossia la folle giornata (Trans: ), K. 492, is an opera buffa (comic opera) composed in 1786 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, with libretto by Lorenzo da Ponte, based on a stage comedy by Pierre Beaumarchais, Le mariage de Figaro (1784). ... The Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra (RPHO) is a Dutch symphony orchestra based in Rotterdam. ... If you are looking for Jean Fournet, NATO Assistant Secretary General for Public Diplomacy, please got to the USC Center on Public Diplomacy Profile Jean Fournet (born 14 April 1913) is a French conductor. ... Johannes Brahms Johannes Brahms (May 7, 1833 – April 3, 1897) was a German composer of the Romantic period. ... Erich Leinsdorf (February 4, 1912 - September 11, 1993) was a conductor. ... Kazuhito Yamashita is a Japanese classical guitarist. ... RCA Records is one of the flagship labels of Sony BMG Music Entertainment. ... Year 1989 (MCMLXXXIX) was a common year starting on Sunday (link displays 1989 Gregorian calendar). ... Antonín Leopold Dvořák ( ; September 8, 1841 – May 1, 1904) was a Czech composer of Romantic music, who employed the idioms and melodies of the folk music of his native Bohemiaand Moravia in symphonic, oratorial, chamber and operatic works. ... Claude Debussy, photo by Félix Nadar, 1908. ... Leonard Bernstein in 1971 Leonard Bernstein (IPA pronunciation: )[1] (August 25, 1918 – October 14, 1990) was an American conductor, composer, and pianist. ... The New York Philharmonic is the oldest active symphony orchestra in the United States, organized during 1842. ... The London Symphony Orchestra (LSO) is one of the major orchestras of the United Kingdom. ... Fredric R. Mann Auditorum (he:Hichal Hatarbot), home of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra The Leonard Bernstein Plaza in front of the Mann Auditorum The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra (abbreviation IPO; Hebrew: התזמורת הפילהרמונית הישראלית, ha-Tizmoret ha-Filharmonit ha-Yisreelit) is the leading symphony orchestra in Israel, and one of the top orchestras...


Excerpts from the Firebird Suite

  • Danse Infernal: Igor Stravinsky conducting the Columbia Symphony Orchestra (released on Columbia Records as MS 7094; disc includes five other Stravinsky compositions)
  • The progressive rock band, Yes used an excerpt from Firebird Suite to open concerts, and also appears as the first track on many live CDs and DVDs.

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