Stravinsky: Firebird

The Firebird ballet is one of the iconic works of the 20th century. It was composed by the 28 year old Igor Stravinsky, commissioned by Serge Diagheliv for his Ballet Russe.

Ballet = Art & Music & Movement & Literature.

Prince Ivan Tsarevich captures the Firebird. She begs for her life, and in return offers a magical feather which will summon her.
Prince Ivan Tsarevich captures the Firebird. She begs for her life, and in return offers a magical feather which will summon her.
Image from the Australian Ballet production.

Koschei is a snake-like demon who has captured souls and imprisoned the people in his walled garden (paradise).
Koschei is a snake-like demon who has captured souls and imprisoned the people in his walled garden (paradise). Traditionally the snake represents evil. Perhaps this is a relic from the times of our ancestral ape relatives caring for their infants, to whom snakes and pythons represented a constant threat?
Image from the Australian Ballet production.

Prince Ivan and the princess are returned to a naked, pure state after the defeat of Koschei.
Prince Ivan and the princess are returned to a naked, pure state after the defeat of Koschei.
Image from the Australian Ballet production.

In an echo of the Garden of Eden myth from book 1 of the Bible, Koschei (Satan) suddenly reappears and offers an apple to Eve, and the ballet finishes.

According to Jordan Peterson (video) the "fall from grace" in the Garden of Eden symbolises the rise of self-consciousness, awareness of the capacity to think ahead in time, and so to plan for good or evil.

stravinsky
Igor Stravinsky, one of the greatest musical creators of the 20th century. He studied law, and then music with the great composer Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, author of Principles of Orchestration (interactive version here), which is still used in composition syllabi to this day.

More info: Stravinsky's Firebird at Wikipedia.

Here are some of the more interesting versions of Firebird (YouTube playlist)..

Transcending everyday consciousness

Would you like to enter the higher reaches of human nature?

Or just chill out for a bit?

Let a great composer and a great performer get you 'into the zone'!.

Kazuhito Yamashita plays all the Bach pieces for solo violin.
Kazuhito Yamashita plays all the Bach pieces for solo violin.

J. S. Bach - German Lutheran organist and one of the greatest musical minds in Western music.
J. S. Bach - German Lutheran organist and one of the greatest musical minds in Western music.

Find a quiet five minutes to listen to this video of the great Japanese guitarist Kazuhito Yamashita interpreting a work by the great Lutheran German organist J. S. Bach.

Click here to watch the video at You Tube.

Read this great description, watch the video and look at the architecture as Blair Jackson describes his experience of the transcendental at a performance of Bach by Yamashita, in a Lutheran church in San Francisco.

Musical style, with S-T-Y-L-E !

I talk about 'style' in each lesson as we study Monet, Van Gogh and Cezanne, who all have very distinctive styles.

In this video Nahre Sol plays 'Mary had a little lamb' in the styles of about a dozen great composers.

There are plenty of labels and visual cues to help you follow the ideas. Enjoy!

If the video does not show, click here to see it at YouTube.

The video is played by Nahre Sol (Alice Gi-Young Hwang), a young pianist and composer. She likes to combine improvisation with traditional Western form and harmony. She completed her undergraduate studies in 2013 at The Juilliard School and did further composition study in Paris. www.nahresol.com

Please give her video a 'like'!