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)..