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Firebird 1919, The

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Igor Stravinsky

Igor Stravinsky (trans. Earles, ed. Frederick Fennell)


Subtitle: Suite from the Ballet


General Info

Year: 1910 / 1919 / 1998
Duration: c. 22:30
Difficulty: VI (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Ludwig Music
Cost: Score and Parts - $195.00   |   Score Only - $35.00


Movements (played without pause)

1. Introduction
2. L’oiseau de feu et sa danse
3. Variation de l’oiseau de feu
4. Ronde des Princesses
5. Danse infernale du roi Kastchei
6. Berceuse
7. Finale


Instrumentation

Full Score
C Piccolo I-II
Flute I-II
Oboe I-II
English Horn
Bassoon I-II
Eb Clarinet
Bb Clarinet I-II-III
Eb Alto Clarinet
Bb Bass Clarinet
Eb Contra-alto Clarinet
Contrabass Clarinet
Alto Saxophone I-II
Tenor Saxophone
Baritone Saxophone
Cornet I-II-III
Trumpet (in Bb) I-II
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III
Euphonium (Bass Clef)
Tuba
String Bass
Piano
Harp
Timpani
Percussion, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Glockenspiel
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Tambourine
  • Triangle
  • Xylophone

Players whistling


Errata

None discovered thus far.


Program Notes

In 1910, Sergei Diaghilev, a Russian art critic, patron, ballet impresario and founder of the Ballets Russes, envisioned a lavishly mounted dance production entitled The Firebird, with its plot adapted from Russian fairy tales. The famous Russian composer ]]Anatoli Liadov]] was commissioned to write the music. When Liadov did not produce quickly enough, Diaghilev passed the commission along to the relatively unknown Igor Stravinsky. It was the beginning of a fertile relationship, including Petrushka (1911), The Rite of Spring (1913), Pulcinella (1920), and Les Noces (1923).

The story of The Firebird is the tale of Prince Ivan in the realm of the immortal King Katschai, a realm he enters quite unwittingly while lost in the forest. As he happens upon an enchanted garden, he spies and captures a luminous creature, the Firebird, half-bird, half-woman. He is startled by her brilliance and beauty, and releases her, in exchange for which he is given a magical feather. Next, the prince spies thirteen princesses and falls in love with Elena, the most beautiful. The prince follows the maidens to the palace after celebrating into the night, where guards capture him. With his magic feather, he summons the Firebird, and the king, along with the palace creatures, puts on an “infernal dance” unto exhaustion under the Firebird’s spell. The Firebird relates the secret of Katschai’s immortality to Prince Ivan (his soul is shielded in a magic egg), and Ivan is able to free the princesses from their enchantment.

The “Finale” celebrates the union of Ivan and Elena and, of course, the death of the antagonists. It might well celebrate the entrance on the scene of Stravinsky, for whom The Firebird remains his most frequently performed work.

- Program note by San Luis Obispo Wind Orchestra concert program, 23 March 2013


One of the masterpieces of 20th century music, regardless of medium, Stravinsky's Firebird is a magnificent and stunning addition to the wind band repertoire. Respectfully transcribed by Randy Earles with expert editing by Frederick Fennell, this truly is a significant work. With transparent scoring, solo exposures, and the overwhelmingly exciting tutti sections (such as the instantly identifiable Finale), this is a masterpiece.

- Program note by publisher


The ballet was first performed by Sergei Diaghilev’s Russian Ballet at the Paris Opera on June 25, 1910; on June 26 Stravinsky was a famous man. Diaghilev had predicted as much: at one of the final dress rehearsals he pointed to Stravinsky and said, “Mark him well; he is a man on the eve of celebrity.” Diaghilev was a good judge of such things, for in 1910 his circle included many of the most famous creative artists of the time. He was also, perhaps, excessively proud, for he had discovered Igor Stravinsky, or, to be more accurate, he was the one who put Stravinsky in the right place at the right time. The rest was all Stravinsky’s doing.

The Firebird was a spectacular success. According to Ravel, the Parisian audience wanted a taste of the avant-garde, and this dazzling music by the daring young Russian fit the bill. The Firebird was Stravinsky’s first large-scale commission, and, being an overnight hit, it was quickly followed by two more. The first, Petrushka, enhanced his reputation; the second, The Rite of Spring, made him the most notorious composer alive.

- Program Note from The Ohio State University Wind Symphony concert program, 29 November 2016


Commercial Discography


Audio Links


State Ratings

  • Florida: VI
  • Georgia: VI
  • Louisiana: V
  • Texas: V. Complete
  • Virginia: VI


Performances

To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Millikin University (Decatur, Ill.) Symphonic Wind Ensemble (Corey Seapy, conductor) – 20 November 2019
  • University of Alabama (Tuscaloosa) Wind Ensemble (Kenneth Ozzello, conductor) – 3 February 2018
  • The Ohio State University (Columbus) Wind Symphony (Russel C. Mikkelson, conductor) – 29 November 2016
  • State College (Penn.) Municipal Band (Ned Diehl, conductor) - 8 May 2016
  • San Luis Obispo Wind Orchestra (William V. Johnson, conductor) - 23 March 2013


Works for Winds by this Composer


References