Monday, June 25, 2012

The Firebird Burns Brightly After 102 Years

By Steve Evans

Russian composer Igor Stravinsky's Firebird Suite premiered in Paris 102 years ago today, in 1910, to ecstatic reviews. The suite is considered Stravinsky's breakthrough composition; its reception encouraged him to create later masterpieces such as The Rite of Spring. Stravinsky was 28 years old when he composed the Firebird for ballet. He died in 1971 at the age of 89.

Just 12 years ago, Walt Disney Studios released Fantasia 2000, which concludes with a gorgeous visual interpretation of the Firebird. It remains one of my favorite pieces of animation, even though it veers off Stravinsky’s storyline.

Although pop music has long been used in motion pictures to telegraph certain emotional cues in the audience, such songs have the unfortunate side effect of instantly dating any film that uses them. Not so with classical music, which conveys timelessness. That makes the classics a perfect choice for underscoring eternal themes such as life, death and rebirth.

A beautiful melding of sound and image from Fantasia 2000 to inspire the start of our week:

Cinema Uprising copyright © 2012 by Stephen B. Evans. All rights reserved.

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