Flourishing Firebird. The Firebird myth didn't begin and end with Stravinsky - rather, it was plucked by him after weaving its way through various cultures. The myth is traced through illustrated books, costume sketches, advertisements, and other materials in "Stravinsky and Multiculturalism," a show at the Fleisher Collection of Orchestral Music at the Free Library on the Parkway, through July 31. The show - in conjunction with several citywide events and shows related to the Mann Center's Firebird: Spirit Rising project this summer - includes not only a facsimile score of Stravinsky's masterpiece, but also albums by the English rock band Yes.
"The phoenix or firebird has proven itself as an enduring allegorical symbol representing renewal and uniqueness as it continues to appear in modern popular culture," says Gina Bixler, the show's curator. "There are versions of the firebird that build on Stravinsky's manifestation, and there are others that build on the archetypal legend of the phoenix. Yes regularly used the ending section of Stravinsky's Firebird as their walk-on music during concerts." Information: www.freelibrary.org or 215-686-5313. - Peter Dobrin
One-woman Kronos Quartet - and then some. Cellist Maya Beiser, whose new Innova-label disc Tranceclassical (out July 29, but available for preorder) is the latest wide-ranging collection of up-to-the-minute composers, including new works by Julia Wolfe, Michael Gordon, and Glenn Kotche. Beiser's cello is augmented with all manner of high-tech studio wizardry and guest stars that yield orchestral-size textures. Bigger surprises include the Lou Reed song "Heroin" with dreamy Bachlike arpeggios in an arrangement by David Lang. David T. Little's "Hellhound" is a cauldron of metal-prone, electric-driven textures. Best is last: "O Virtus Sapientiae" by the 12th-century abbess Hildegard of Bingen is presented as a stripped-down sparsely accompanied cello solo. - David Patrick Stearns