Firebird the Story of the Thesis

Excerpt from Thesis :

Arrival and Intercession by the Firebird

The Firebird flies in, typified by high and rapid notes, as he arrives, followed by his pleading, a sweet singing and an obvious pleading and intercession on the part of Prince Ivan.

Dance of Kastchei's Retinue, Enchanted by the Firebird

As all are enchanted by the Firebird, they dance and respond to his fiery brilliance, depicted by trills and arpeggios.

King Kastchei's Infernal Dance by All his Subjects

One can hear the tromping and panting of the subjects as they dance faster and faster in response to the Firebird. The music becomes more and more rapid and sweet, yet is interrupted by loud beats of percussion and phrases of increasing threats.


This part of the music is slow and rhythmical, putting one to sleep, as if one were drifting on a slow tide out to sea. The sweet melody is truly a beautiful lullaby which could be calming and peaceful.

Kastchei's Death,

As Kastchei dies, one hears him sinking, then rousing up in fear, then sinking again into death, through the music.

Finale: the Disappeance of Kastchei's Palace and Magical Creations - Return to Life of the Petrified Knights

Again, this section begins slowly, as the trills herald the awakening of the petrified knights and the coming again of life into the kingdom as the horrible Palace and Creatures disappear. it's repeated melody grows and grows, louder and louder, until it is a triumphant ending (Last, 2008).

This Russian fairytale may be listened to, watched as a ballet, as a symphonic performance or heard as a full orchestral arrangement (which is 2 minutes longer than the arrangement for the smaller symphony orchestra). However it is heard, it tells of magical creatures and of romantic love coming true. The music is familiar to anyone who has watched Fantasia, as it is so expressive that Disney built a whole section of his movie around it (Shoemaker, 2005).


Last.Fm. 2008. Igor Stravinsky, the Firebird, Listen Free at Last.FM. (Entire track of Igor Stravinsky's the Firebird). Retrieved November 18, 2008 at

Sherrane, Robert. 2007. Igor Stravinsky. Music History 102: A guide to western composers and their music. New York, NY: Julliard School.

Shoemaker, Paul. 2005. Igor Stravinsky, the Firebird Review, Music Web International. Retrieved November 18, 2008 at

Stravinsky, Igor. 2000. The Firebird (Original 1910 Version). (Score). New York, NY: Dover Miniature Series.

Igor Stravinsky or Igor' Fjodorovi? Stravinskij was born in 1882 in St. Petersburg, Russia into a musical Catholic family, where he was exposed to operas, ballets and other performances, and learned how to play the piano. Though he was expected to become a lawyer, the young man began studying with Nickolai Rimsky-Korsakov, the leading composer of the times, when his father died. He married his cousin, Katerina, in 1906 and they eventually had four children.

In 1909 his music, Fireworks (Feu d'artifice), was first performed in Saint Petersburg. It was heard by Sergei Diaghilev, the director of the Paris Ballet, who was so impressed that he asked Stravinsky to compose a full-length ballet, called L'Oiseau de feu ("The Firebird"). Stravinsky travelled to Paris in 1910 to attend the premiere and decided that he and his family would move to Switzerland. After composing many other famous works ("Petrushka," "The Rite of Spring," and Pulcinella") for Diaghilev, he visited Russia only once, returning just in time to avoid the closing borders for World War I. He did not return for 50 years.

Stravinsky moved to Paris in 1920 to compose for Diaghilev and run his business with his agent, Pleyel. When Stravinsky's wife died in 1939 of cancer, Stravinsky moved in with a younger woman, Vera de Bossett, whom he had met in 1921, and lived with her for the rest of his life. At the age of 58, he moved to Los Angeles, California, becoming a naturalized citizen of the United States in 1946. The cultural life in Los Angeles suited his temperament and need for artistic stimulation. He made many friends there and was honored by an adoring public. He continued composing and working in the field of music until his death in 1971. He is buried in Venice, Italy, near his friend and collaborator, Sergei Diaghilev, but he has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (Sadie, 1996, 197).

Sadie, Stanley.…

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