In case you were wondering what the Mariinsky Orchestra and conductor Valery Gergiev played as an encore Saturday night at Segerstrom Concert Hall, it was the nifty little ditty above, Liadov’s “Baba-Yaga.”
As Gergiev didn’t say anything, the irony of the choice must have been lost on most of the audience.
It was Liadov who was first approached by Diaghilev to write the ballet “The Firebird,” the complete version of which, composed by Stravinsky, we had just heard a performance of. Though the story goes that Liadov was working too slowly and Diaghilev got impatient, giving the commission to the inexperienced Stravinsky (who hit it out of the park), there apparently is no evidence of that. Still, had Liadov composed “Firebird,” would we know him today?