Classical Music Library Free Download of the Week

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Every two weeks, Alexander Street offers a free music download from our popular online music collection. This download is freely available, regardless of whether or not your library subscribes to the collection.

The Firebird Suite by Igor Stravinsky

Russian composer Igor Stravinsky (1882–1971) made a tremendous international debut with three ballets: The Firebird (1910), Petrushka (1911), and The Rite of Spring (1913). These ballets were commissioned by the esteemed impresario of the Ballets Russes, Sergei Diaghilev. The first, The Firebird, was commissioned when Stravinsky was a relatively unknown composer. Just 28, Stravinsky had composed some instrumental, choral, and vocal works under the tutelage of Russian composer Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, but never a ballet. Diaghilev had also never commissioned a work for the Ballets Russes before The Firebird, so it was a risky venture for both that resulted in a resounding success. The story is based on a popular Russian folktale of a magical bird that, first caught by Prince Ivan, vows to help the prince escape the wiles of the evil Kashchei in exchange for its freedom. 
 
The full 45-minute ballet is in two tableaux, and Stravinsky rearranged the ballet into three orchestral suites in 1911, 1919, and 1945. This version is of the 1919 suite, performed by the Orchestre National de Lille under the direction of Jean-Claude Casadesus. 

Alexander Street also offers free World Music downloads.

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