Igor Stravinsky
The Firebird: Ballet Suite

Arranged by Vikentios Gionanidis

Brass choir; Brass ensemble: B-flat piccolo trumpet, 5 C trumpets, (B-flat flugelhorn), 4 F horns, 2 tenor trombones, 1 bass trombone, 2 tubas (euphonium), timpani, xylophone, percussion

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Publisher: Cherry Classics Music
Date of Publication: 2020

Score and parts.

Primary Genre: Brass Ensemble - 6+ brass (choir)

Gionanidis is a Greek tuba player, arranger for brass, and currently serves as principal tubist of the German Opera in Berlin. This suite is a collection of movements from the original orchestral score and includes Infernal Dance, Lullaby (Berceuse), and Finale.

This suite is a challenging work for a college or professional level brass ensemble, similar to the orchestral transcriptions found in the brass band repertory. It is scored for an expanded orchestra brass section, adding a fifth trumpet and second tuba. Multiple mutes and some doubles are expected (piccolo trumpet, flugelhorn, euphonium). Percussion is taken exactly from the original orchestral score. For the most part, the writing is idiomatic; clever decisions have been made to accommodate other instruments effects, i.e. harp sweeps, pizzicato, etc. Informed orchestration choices have been made to preserve color changes, tessitura issues (vertical compression), and sound mass preservation, lines flowing through the strings, etc.

The original key centers are retained, which are not exactly brass-friendly. 44 measures of the Infernal Dance are not included in this suite (orig. reh. 150-157). All parts present technical challenges, be they rhythm, range, articulation, or tempo. Some trombone glissandi will not be possible; some valve trills will be easier with alternate fingerings, and valve glissandi are indicated in non-trombone parts.

Parts are crisp and easy to read. The score was submitted as a .pdf file with the designation that it can be printed to be bound, front to back. The “do not copy” notice overlaps percussion notation in the score. This could easily fill half of a concert program.


Reviewer: David Stern
Review Published June 23, 2023