f u

SM096: The Firebird's Feather

Cover ImageThe Firebird's Feather
David Gough

This piece was inspired by Russian Romantic repertoire and is a semi-programmatical piece based on a Russian folk-tale, Princess Vassilissi and the Firebird’s Feather.

Buy this music now £5.00 +p&p

Profile page & list of other publications from Beartramka

Further Information

The Story of the Firebird’s Feather & Princess Vassilissi

This piece is loosely based on a Russian folk story, The Firebird’s Feather & Princess Vassilissi, which is summarised below:

An archer; riding in the woods, discovers a Firebird's feather Against the advice of his horse, he decides to present the feather, seeking his favour, to the King. However, although the King is indeed pleased, he commands the archer to bring him the firebird itself or he will chop off his head The archer is, of course, very scared but his horse reassures him and hatches a plan to capture the firebird, which they succeed in doing.

The King is pleased & so impressed that he then commands him to find the beautiful Princess Vassilissi & bring her to the King for him to marry. If he fails, it ‘11 be off with his head. Eventually with his horse ‘s help, he succeeds, but the Princess refuses to be married without her special wedding dress, which is at the bottom of the sea. The archer rides off and again, returns eventually, with the dress.

However, the Princess then insists that before she weds the King, the archer should jump into a cauldron of boiling water The archer knows that this time he will surely die, but his horse again reassures him by telling him that he will give him a magic spell which will protect him. Sure enough, the archer climbs into the cauldron, but is unharmed and climbs out more handsome than ever The King seeing the effect this has had on the archer; jumps into the cauldron and dies. The Princess marries the archer and they live happily ever after - as does the horse!

The themes were all composed as fragments before I read the story but I felt that they could fit well enough so that the story could provide a basic structure for the piece. It is not therefore strictly programmatic - the music does not describe the action, but it may be possible to ‘follow the story’ if one chooses, by associating certain themes with certain characters, situations, actions or emotions in a leitmotivic sense.

However, I would like to insert a word of caution here - This is a piece of music which works just as well without, and is more important than, the story. As a performer, your interpretative decisions should be musically­based, not just story-based, and I would like to think that listeners who enjoy the piece are enjoying the music, not just the story!


David Gough


Front cover

Sample Page
Title The Firebird's Feather
Composer David Gough
Instrumentation: Pedal Harp
Level Advanced
Printed Parts: A4 comb bound
Pages of music: 10
Weight: 95g
Our Ref: SM0096
Publisher: Beartramka
Edition/Year: 2003
Origin: UK