From the beginning of the 20th century, Parisians have adored the exoticism and culture of far-away countries. Following a fascination with the Far East, a Russian art exhibition at the Pétit Palais in 1906 further evoked fashion for Russia and Russian music. The interest of the French was skilfully utilised by Sergei Diaghilev, the impresario and founder of the Russian Ballet. He turned to the unknown young composer Igor Stravinsky for music to a new ballet. Stravinsky’s orchestral fantasy "Feu d'artifice" made an enormous impression on him in St. Petersburg. In 1909, the Russian Ballet performed "Saison Russe" with Stravinsky’s "Les Sylphides" - ballet music based on Fryderyk Chopin's compositions, and a year later Diaghilev ordered a full-length composition for the ballet "Firebird". It was the first such extended orchestral composition in the 27-year-old artist’s output.
The subject of the ballet was aptly suited to the taste of Parisian audiences thirsty for exotic impressions. Mikhail Fokine's libretto is based on folk tales, the action of which focuses on the figure of Ivan Carewicz, Immortal Koschei, Tzarina of Dazzling Beauty and the title Firebird, who are accompanied by numerous princesses, pages, knights and magical monsters. The music of the young composer is based partly on Russian folklore. To a large extent he uses the models of his great predecessors: Alexander Glazunov, Alexander Scriabin and Stravinsky’s teacher Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov.
The premiere, which took place on June 25th, 1910 in Paris, was a huge success, with Stravinsky gaining the recognition of such celebrities as Claude Debussy, Maurice Ravel, Manuel de Falla and Jean Cocteau. The piece was described as a "dance symphony", with Diaghilev adding two extra performances to the initial three.
Symphony HallFilharmonia im. Mieczysława Karłowicza w Szczecinie
ul. Małopolska 48