Russian composers have been a great source for ballet music over the years.
Igor Stravinsky took the ballet tradition to an extreme when he collaborated with the choreographer Sergey Diaghilev.
Their first big success was The Firebird, a ballet based on Slavic mythology about a magical bird that would be a blessing and a curse to its owner.
In the ballet, a prince captures the firebird and uses its powers to rescue a princess from the clutches of an evil goblin.
This selection, the “Infernal Dance”, is the dance of that gruesome goblin.
While The Firebird provided Stravinsky’s first big hit, it was his highly controversial Rite of Spring that made sealed his place in musical history.
Both of these pieces have been featured in the two Fantasia films of Walt Disney.