I have to admit I never get tired of this movie, and I show pieces of to to my elementary music classes around the end of the year. First of all, it starts with Beethoven – what’s not to love about that? But the part I want to talk about here is the final section, featuring Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite. It is a stunning piece of music, and the artwork is beautifully paired with it. The underlying messages are what makes this so intriguing. The beautiful wood sprite and her friend, the elk, are enjoying the return of spring after a long winter. Everything is brimming with life until she accidentally awakens the Firebird in a nearby volcano, and all of the forest goes up in flames. After the destruction, the elk looks for her. She is barely alive, as he lifts her with his horns to his head, to carry her. Her tears, falling to the ground, breathe new life into the forest, and she herself finds her life returning. This is a powerful image of death, destruction and loss, as well as the healing that happens when we grieve. I think it’s a great message for kids – that bad things happen, it’s OK to grieve, and life can go on.
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