Igor Stravinsky was a Russian composer, pianist, and conductor (1882-1971) who is considered one of the greatest composers of the 20th century. Stravinsky was a musical revolutionary in his use of unusual rhythmic structures, massive orchestras, and unique orchestral colors in his compositions.
His influence was important in the development of many forms of music, including jazz. His most widely known works are three ballets: The Firebird, Petrushka, and The Rite of Spring.
THE RITE OF SPRING (33:42)
The ballet,The Rite of Spring, is a totally cool piece of music! It's first performance in Paris in 1913 caused a riot in the audience, and people have been talking about it ever since.
Considered a milestone in 20th century music, the work describes a pagan ritual performed to offer the sacrifice of a young girl to the god of Spring. Imagine you are present in a tribe living thousands of years ago where life is lived in the belief that spirits animate the world around you. The tribal elders, led by the Ancient One, direct an elaborate series of dances intended to glorify the Earth and gain assurance of a successful continuation of the tribe. At the end of the ritual, the girl chosen for the sacrifice dances herself to death.
The music takes you there!
Stravinsky's beautiful and exciting ballet, The Firebird, was written in 1910. The story involves the journey of the hero, Ivan, who enters the magical realm of the evil and immortal ogre, Kashchei. Wandering in the magical garden, Ivan sees and then captures the Firebird. The Firebird begs for its life and gives one of its flame-colored feathers to Ivan as a pledge to assist him in time of need. Ivan sets free the Firebird. Ivan then sees 13 beautiful princesses who are under the power of Kashchei. He falls in love with one of them and confronts Kashchei and asks to marry her. They quarrel and Kashchei sends his troops of demons after Ivan to destroy him.
True to its promise, the Firebird comes to Ivan's rescue and bewitches Kashchei and his demons in a wonderful dance. The Firebird tells Ivan the secret of Kaschei's immortality and with this knowledge, Ivan is able to destory him and all his demons. This sets free the princesses, and with a final appearance of the Firebird, they celebrate their victory.
A wondrous story and the music is very cool!
THE FIREBIRD (46:47)