Berceuse and Finale from "The Firebird" (arr McAlister)

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Igor Stravinsky

Igor Stravinsky (arr. Clark McAlister; ed. Alfred Reed)

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General Info

Year: 1910 / 2005
Duration: c. 7:00
Difficulty: IV (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Ludwig Masters
Cost: Score and Parts - $40.00


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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 Anatoly Lyadov was commissioned to write the music. When Lyadov 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

The Firebird marked the beginning of the now legendary collaboration between Igor Stravinsky and Serge Diaghilev, the impressario of the famous Ballet Russe. Stravinsky was a totally unknown pianist and composer in 1910, but The Firebird, followed by Petroushka and The Rite of Spring, catapulted him to the forefront of contemporary composers, a position never relinquished.

The story concerns the Firebird, a beautiful ballerina with orange wings, and Ivan, a young prince who hunts for the Firebird, finally capturing her. She gives him a golden feather as ransom and disappears. Later, Ivan is captured by the demon Kastchei, but he waves the golden feather and the beautiful Firebird comes to his rescue. He is taken to a metal box containing an egg, which is the soul of Kastchei the Terrible. He smashes the egg, and the princess and nobles are forever freed of the spell of Kastchei and his followers.

- Program Note from Program Notes for Band


State Ratings

  • Louisiana: V
  • North Carolina: V
  • Oklahoma: V-A
  • Tennessee: V


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Works for Winds by This Composer


  • The Firebird. Wikipedia. Accessed 7 August 2023
  • Smith, Norman E. (2002). Program Notes for Band. Chicago: GIA Publications, pp. 571.