Lost Stravinsky wind band work turns up after 100 years

Date: September 6th, 2015

The discovery was made by a school librarian and outlined in an article in The Guardian by Stravinsky biographer Stephen Walsh.

Stravinsky's own testimony about this long-lost work is in Memories and Commentaries(1960):

"The Chant fun├Ębre for wind instruments that I composed in Rimsky's memory was performed in a concert conducted by Blumenfeld in St. Petersburg shortly after Rimsky's death. I remember the piece as the best of my works before the Firebird, and the most advanced in chromatic harmony. The orchestral parts must have been preserved in one of the St. Petersburg orchestral libraries; I wish someone in Leningrad would look for the parts, for I would be curious myself to see what I was composing just before the Firebird."

The Funeral Song has been the subject of a series of unsuccessful searches, hindered by confusing storage systems at both the Conservatory and the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, as well as Stravinsky's own persona non grata status as an expatriate during the Soviet era.

Natalya Braginskaya, a Russian Stravinsky specialist who shepherded the work's recovery, described it as a "slow unvarying processional with contrasting instrumental timbres: a dialogue of sonorities, very much as Stravinsky himself vaguely remembered it in his autobiography 25 years later."

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