Stravinsky was the great chameleon among composers, always reinventing himself. His colourful, opulent music for the fairy tale ballet »The Firebird« evokes French impressionism and Russian folklore, all spiced up with some scintillating modern orchestral effects. »The Firebird« brought Stravinsky international fame almost overnight in 1910, and the work remains a real favourite on concert stages around the world to this day.
His ballet »Apollon musagète« is less well known. In it one gets to know a very different Stravinsky: the composer approached the subject of the birth of Apollo, leader of the muses, with a minimal, classical string line-up – very melodic, transparent and conflict-free, i.e. quintessentially »Apollonian« in tone.
Between these two pieces of ballet music, Kirill Gerstein interprets a rarely performed instrumental work that Stravinsky – himself a pianist in great demand – often played: the Concerto for Piano and Wind Instruments (1924). The music breathes neo-classicism, very much in the spirit of Jean Cocteau’s anti-Romantic appeal: »One may soon hope for an orchestra without the caressing of strings. A rich band of woodwind, brass and percussion.« – Stravinsky made that reality.
An online festival marking the 50th anniversary of the composer’s death, with three live streams from the Elbphilharmonie.
NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra
Kirill Gerstein piano
conductor Thomas Adès
Concerto for Piano and Wind Instruments
The Firebird / Suite for Orchestra