The scintillating orchestral effects of Fireworks so impressed Sergei Diaghilev that the impresario hastened to commission a new work from Stravinsky for his Ballet Russes. Evoking Prince Ivan's fantastic adventures in the demonic King Kastchei's magic realm, The Firebird is virtuosic in every regard, its colorful sonorities and dramatic impact bringing Stravinsky instant fame. Gramophone acclaimed this 1986 recording as "polished and brilliant."
"The 'Entrance of the Enchanted Princesses' and their play with the golden apples seem especially well done, the music characterful, spirited, and enchanting. One of the highlights … is the gentle 'Round Dance' … which [Gerard] Schwarz manages with elegance and grace. It's one of the most beautiful melodies Stravinsky ever wrote…. 'Daybreak' marks the beginning of the ballet's more energetic segments, and Schwarz is no less compelling in these lively passages than he is in the more lyrical sections. By the time we reach the climactic 'Infernal Dance,' we have to admire the conductor's ability to keep all the diverse elements of the score moving forward at an engrossing clip."—Classical Candor