The Concert “Stravinsky’s Firebird And Ravel”

The concert “Stravinsky’s Firebird and Ravel” was performed at the David Geffen Hall on Friday, February 22, 2019. The David Geffen Hall is located in the Lincoln Center and is the home to the world-renowned New York Philharmonic. The hall is very beautiful with a very spacious lobby. The walkway feature “eminent artwork as Rodin’s bust of Gustav Mahler and Dimitri Hadzi’s sculpture The Hunt, in addition to wraparound views of the Lincoln Center campus” (Lincoln Center, n.d.). The classical look of the hall also gives you a sense of the type of music being performed. The atmosphere inside was very subtle and calming; nothing compared to a Beyoncé or Bruno Mars concert. It was very formal to semi-formal with only intermittent applauding by the audience.

The program featured works by three major composers, that is, Igor Stravinsky, Maurice Ravel and Matthias Pintscher. Igor Stravinsky was born on June 17, 1882 in Oranienbaum, Russia and widely considered a late bloomer due to his late musical career. He started private lessons at age nine in harmony and counterpoint. After Stravinsky father died in 1902, celebrated composer Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov became his mentor, both personally and musically. By age twenty-five Stravinsky dedicated his Symphony in E-flat major, to his mentor. The Firebird by Stravinsky premier in 1910 in collaboration with Serge Diaghilev. This piece has become one of the most irreplaceable pieces in the history of modern stage music. The Firebird tale involves Prince Ivan, “who finds himself one-night wandering through the garden of King Kashchei, an evil monarch whose power resides in a magic egg that he guards in an elegant box” (New York Philharmonic, n.d.). The Prince catches a Firebird while in the garden and keeps one of its feathers which he uses to reveal to him the secret of the magic egg. The magic eggs were destroyed, and the web of evil charm was abolished.

Folk tune melodies were used to represent human character like the Prince Ivan and princesses, for example, “Do, Re, Me.” Melodies and harmonies were created that were pleasing to the ears using the diatonic scale. However, character like King Kashchei were represented by chromatic musical scales. The different music scales were used to differentiate the character and create a mysterious scene. Every scene uses different music, depending on who is involved with changes in harmony, rhythms and dissonance.

Maurice Ravel was born on March 7, 1875 in Ciboure, Basses-Pyrenees, France. His music is influenced by his mother Maria, who was born in Spain. Ravel produced his five-movement piano suite Miroirs, of which the fourth movement was titled Alborada del gracioso (Dawn of the Jester). Critic M.D. Calvocoressi give “Alborada” the highest praise for its humor and cheerful imagination. Ravel believed that “Spanish flavor often goes hand in hand with good humor” (New York Philharmonic, n.d.). Ravel composition of Alborada del gracioso was not his only Spanish composition. He composed many other as he showcased his love for Spanish, along with his roots. The music has energetic compound-meter rhythms, guitar sounds and castanets, which is a little similar to modern day Spanish music.

Matthias Pintscher was born on January 29, 1971 in Marl, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Pintscher is one of the most widely celebrated composers of this generation. He studied piano, violin and percussion while growing up in Germany. From an early age he was fascinated by the sonic capacities of orchestras. After he produced En sourdine in 2002, “mar’eh is his second concerto-like work to feature the violin as the solo instrument” (New York Philharmonic, n.d.). Mar’eh is a single movement, with mostly soft dynamics. Though, mar’eh is casted in a single movement it is twenty-three minutes long which is quite long for a single movement. Mar’eh is a Hebrew word that means “face, sign.” The composition brings out new sounds and the violin almost acting like the protagonist. The orchestra answers back whatever gesture the violin evokes and realizes its own tone-color melody. In the opening piece, the violin was answered by a grouping of tam-tams and gongs and a play from the alto flute.

The music was beautiful and so was the entire concert. I did not expect to enjoy a classical concert this much, but the effort and energy put into it was on full display. The music sounded similar to early 20th century classical music. Classical music has rebirthed over generation and has changed a lot over the years. One of the reasons I might have enjoyed the music is because this concert played music during the modern period in musical history.


  1. Lincoln Center. n.d. “David Geffen Hall.” Accessed February 23, 2019.
  2. New York Philharmonic. n.d. 'Stravinsky's Firebird and Ravel.' Accessed February 23, 2019.
07 July 2022
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