The Firebird Connection
Long before Igor Stravinsky’s celebrated ballet of 1910, the Firebird legend had for years haunted Russian art and music as a figure of irrepressible and unattainable beauty.
In fact, Stravinsky’s teacher, the composer Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov, wrote of a failed attempt in the 1860s by his own teacher, Mily Balakirev, to produce a musical treatment of the Firebird legend--a work now lost.
Well, not quite….
In this hour, how Balakirev used his unfinished Firebird as the basis for a new work that would chart a different direction for Russian music — one that would inspire Rimsky-Korsakov and others — and a half century later, launch Stravinsky’s amazing five-decade career.