(Fireworks), op. 4
Fantasy for large orchestra
Critical Edition by Ulrich Mosch
Premiere: February 6, 1909 St. Petersburg (RUS) Siloti-Konzerte · Conductor: Alexander Siloti (private first performance)
Orchestra instrumentation: Picc. · 2 · 2 (2. auch Engl. Hr.) · 3 (3. auch Bassklar.) · 2 - 6 · 3 · 3 · 1 - P. S. (Trgl. · Beck. · gr. Tr. · Glsp.) (2 Spieler) - 2 Hfn. · Cel. - Str. (16 · 14 · 12 · 10 · 8)
Publisher: Schott Music
Duration: 4' 0''
Year of composition: 1908
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‘The presentation marked a date of importance for the whole future of my musical career’, wrote Igor Stravinsky in his memoirs about the World Première of his two orchestral pieces Scherzo fantastique and Feu d’artifice in St. Petersburg in 1909. For it was at this concert that Serge Diaghilev, director of the Ballets Russes, discovered Stravinsky, thus laying the foundation for their long and fruitful collaboration. Diaghilev was so taken by the young Stravinsky’s music that he turned to him shortly afterwards to compose the music for the ballet L’oiseau de feu when Anatoly Liadow failed to deliver his score in time, which premièred so triumphantly in Paris in 1910.
The title of the short orchestral fantasia Feu d’artifice promises musical fireworks and the music lives up to it. This early work already contains many elements that are characteristic of Stravinsky – the rhythmic conciseness, brilliant instrumentation and the arrangement of motifs in layers. A dreamy Lento passage is placed between two fast-paced outer sections in this short Scherzo movement.
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