Thursday, October 20, 2016

HALLOWEEN: The Firebird

For my third piece of Halloween art music, I like Igor Stravinsky's The Firebird, specifically the 1919 suite version of his 1910 ballet (originally composed for the Ballets Russes). The version I wanted to highlight, the complete version conducted by Leonard Bernstein, is on YouTube but in pieces (I recommend listening to them, starting here), so here is the excerpt version that was used in Fantasia 2000. It's cut down, but it's an excellent, emotional performance, with James Levine conducting the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. It probably doesn't seem very Halloween-ish, but that first appearance of the "infernal dance" section always scares the hell out of me. In this one, I think hope soars out of evil's hands, but the struggle in the middle just sounds like evil trying to exert its will, and that kind of scare goes good with the season.

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