Written for the Ida Rubinstein ballet company in Paris and first choreographed by Nijinska, Stravinsky here arranges a sequence of piano pieces and songs by Tchaikovsky in loving tribute to the great Russian composer who was such a strong early influence. The ballet tells the bitter-sweet tale, based on Hans Christian Andersen’s The Ice-Maiden, of an abandoned child kissed by a fairy whom the fairy later reclaims on his wedding day. For Stravinsky, the fairy represented Tchaikovsky’s muse. He later adapted the music into the Divertimento concert suite. It is a touching, nostalgic evocation of a Russia that, in the 1920s, had been lost to Stravinsky.
Repertoire note by Jonathan Cross