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Following the success of their recordings of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring and Petrushka, the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra and Andrew Litton here perform The Firebird.
The Firebird was Igor Stravinsky’s first full-length ballet, but not his first collaboration with Diaghilev and his Ballets Russes – he orchestrated two piano compositions by Chopin (also featured on this disc) for use in another project.
Andrew Litton here conducts the original ballet score.
The disc also includes arrangements of pieces by Tchaikovsky and Sibelius, ending with Stravinsky’s tongue-in-cheek 1955 Greeting Prelude for the 80th birthday of Pierre Monteux.
The Bergen Philharmonic’s disc featuring The Rite of Spring and Petrushka was met with critical acclaim – short-listed for a 2011 Gramophone Award, named Editor’s Choice in Classic FM Magazine.
Igor Stravinsky: The Firebird (original version)
Scene 1: Night. Kastchei's Enchanted Garden
Scene 1: The Firebird enters, pursued by Ivan Tsarevich
Scene 1: The Firebird's Dance
Scene 1: Ivan Tsarevich captures the Firebird
Scene 1: The Firebird begs to be released
Scene 1: Entrance of the Thirteen Enchanted Princesses
Scene 1: The Princesses play with the golden apples (Scherzo)
Scene 1: Ivan Tsarevich appears
Scene 1: The Princesses' Khorovod (Round Dance)
Scene 1: Daybreak
Scene 1: Magic Carillon - Appearance of Kastchei's Guardian Monsters - Capture of Ivan Tsarevich
Scene 1: The entrance of Kastchei the Immortal
Scene 1: Dialogue between Kastchei and Ivan Tsarevich
Scene 1: The Princesses plead for mercy
Scene I: The Firebird enters
Scene 1: Dance of Kastchei's retinue under the Firebird's magic spell
Scene 1: Infernal Dance of Kastchei and his subjects under the Firebird's magic spell
Scene 1: The Firebird's Lullaby
Scene 1: Kastchei awakens
Scene 1: Kastchei's death
Scene 2: Kastchei's spell is broken, his palace disappears, and the Petrified Knights return to life. General Thanksgiving
Igor Stravinsky: The Sleeping Beauty, Op. 66 (arr. I. Stravinsky for orchestra)
Act III: Bluebird Pas de deux: Adagio
Act III: Bluebird Pas de deux: Variation 1: Tempo di valse
Act III: Bluebird Pas de deux: Variation 2: Andantino
Act III: Bluebird Pas de deux: Coda - Con moto
Jean Sibelius: Canzonetta, Op. 62a (arr. I. Stravinsky for orchestra)
Canzonetta, Op. 62a (arr. I. Stravinsky for orchestra)
Fryderyk Chopin: Nocturne No. 10 in A flat major, Op. 32, No. 2 (arr. I. Stravinsky for orchestra)
Nocturne No. 10 in A flat major, Op. 32, No. 2 (arr. I. Stravinsky for orchestra)
Fryderyk Chopin: Waltz No. 1 in E flat major, Op. 18, "Grande valse brillante" (arr. I. Stravinsky for orchestra)
Waltz No. 1 in E flat major, Op. 18, "Grande valse brillante" (arr. I. Stravinsky for orchestra)
Igor Stravinsky: Greeting Prelude
“The playing on this disc from Andrew Litton and the Bergen Philharmonic is in many ways marvellous, with a good sense of pace throughout much of the ballet. Recorded sound is sensational, especially in surround...The caveat, though, is that...there is much excellent music-making but not such convincing drama.”
“Litton allows [The Firebird] more delicacy than some of its later interpreters, to its great advantage in such moments as the very opening...If Kashchey has sounded more formidable in the hands of others (including the composer himself), Litton gives the old sorcerer a spectral quality that is at least as sinister. It is all beautifully played, not least thanks to a woodwind section of players who really listen to one another.”
29th March 2012
“the fine grain of the recording ensures that nothing in this remarkable score is missed; the Bergen orchestra really is a very fine ensemble these days. Yet too often it's hard to believe that this is a work that was intended for the theatre”
Click on any of the works listed above for alternative recordings.