Stravinsky's Firebird

Stravinsky's Firebird

The Modernist composer Igor Stravinsky wrote music for several ballets. One of his most famous ballets was The Firebird, based on an old Russian legend. In the story, the firebird is a spirit who protects Prince Ivan as he battles an evil sorcerer and saves a princess. 

It's not often that ballet troupes perform something entirely new. Typically, they stick to tried-and-true choreography and well-known pieces of music. When the Ballets Russes performed The Firebird for the first time, it was a bit of a gamble; it was the first time the ballet company had ever performed something entirely new and written just for them!

One reason so many people love The Firebird is that the music does such a wonderful job of bringing the story to life! Stravinsky was very thoughtful about which sounds he used (and when). For example, whenever the powerful firebird dances, the music sounds magical and mysterious. Stravinsky took inspiration from Russian folk music, as well; you'll hear folk-like music when human characters are dancing. 

Watch as much (or as little) of The Firebird as you'd like! While you do, pay attention to how the music changes depending on which character is dancing. How does Stravinsky use different instruments to tell this mystical story? 


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