Igor Stravinsky (1882–1971)
Firebird, Suite (1945)
Petrushka, Burlesque in Four Scenes (ed. 1947)
Sergei Diaghilev’s private ballet company Ballets Russes got to the apron stage of European music theatre thanks to two masterpieces. In 1910 “The Firebird” became a remarkable success with the audience of Théâtre du Châtelet. The music for the ballet was composed by a literally unknown Igor Stravinsky. Next year the ballet impresario brought to Paris another performance which would astonish not only ballet lovers, but even the most sophisticated connoisseurs of music. “Petrushka” originated as a synthetic piece. Igor Stravinsky composed the music and wrote the libretto in cooperation with Alexandre Benois who participated as both theatre designer and head of the troupe. Choreographer Michel Fokine and other Diaghilev’s associates took part in the creation of this magnum opus of 1911 Russian Seasons.
“The Firebird” develops and pushes to the limit the music language of late romanticism, that was inherited by Stravinsky from his teacher, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov. In “Petrushka” Igor Stravinsky made a breakthrough in his approach to music writing. The music for this “street ballet”, to use Benois’ definition, featured previously never-heard-before tones, rhythms and polytonality which gave birth to European neo-folklore style.
The music for these one-act plays has become an all-time classic of the world’s orchestral music. The Suite from the Firebird (1945) and the full score of Petrushka in revised version (1947) will be performed by musicAeterna and its conductor Teodor Currentzis in one evening show. This key event of Diaghilev+ will demonstrate how XIX-century music stepped into XX-century and what resonance this endeavor has had a hundred years later.