The Firebird (French: L'Oiseau de feu; Russian: Жар-птица, Zhar-ptitsa) is a ballet by the Russian composer Igor Stravinsky, written for the 1910 Paris season of Dergei Diaghilev's Ballets Russes, with choreography by Michel Fokine. The scenario by Alexandre Benois and Michel Fokine is based on Russian fairy tales of the magical glowing bird that can be both a blessing and a curse to its owner. At the premiere on 25 June 1910 in Paris, the work was an instant success with both audience and critics.
The ballet has historic significance not only as Stravinsky's breakthrough piece, but also as the beginning of the collaboration between Diaghilev and Stravinsky that would also produce Petrushka, The Rite of Spring, Pulcinella and others.
(..) Besides the complete 50-minute ballet score of 1909–10 (written for a very large orchestra including quadruple woodwind and three harps, as well as a piano), there are three shorter suites arranged by the composer himself for concert performance which date from 1911, 1919 and 1945. The 1919 and 1945 suites are scored for smaller orchestras. While the 1919 suite remains the most well known and often played, the 1945 version contains the most music from the original ballet score (partly motivated by the need to secure copyright in a USA that did not recognize European agreements).
There is no consensus for the precise naming of either the different versions, or of the movements, or the numbering of the movements. Different recordings tend to follow different naming conventions. While this partly might be due to the English translation from the original French names, some recordings of the orchestral suites even avoid referring to the tale by just calling the movements by their tempo markings (i.e., Adagio, Allegro, etc.) or the name of the musical form (Scherzo, Rondo, etc.).