Stravinsky Wind Work Discovered
The orchestral parts for a Stravinsky score believed to have been lost or destroyed in the 1917 revolutions have turned up in a pile of old manuscripts at the St. Petersburg Conservatory.
The 12-minute work, Pogrebal'naya Pesnya (Funeral Song), was written in memory of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, Stravinsky's teacher at the time, shortly after Rimsky's death in June 1908. It was performed only once, on Jan. 17, 1909.
Stravinsky's own testimony about this long-lost work is in Memories and Commentaries(1960):
The Chant fun?bre 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."