Missing Stravinsky manuscript from 1908 is found in St. Petersburg, Russia

Posted on: September 8, 2015

“An important early orchestral work by one of the greatest composers of the 20th century, thought for more than 100 years to have been irretrievably lost, has turned up at last in a pile of old manuscripts in a back room of the St. Petersburg Conservatoire,” writes Stephen Walsh in Saturday’s (9/5) Guardian (London). “Igor Stravinsky composed his Pogrebal’naya Pesnya (Funeral Song) in memory of his teacher, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, shortly after Rimsky’s death in June 1908. The 12-minute work was performed only once, in a Russian symphony concert conducted by Felix Blumenfeld in the Conservatoire in January 1909, but was always thought to have been destroyed in the 1917 revolutions … It was only when the whole [conservatory] building had to be emptied last autumn to make way for a long-delayed overhaul that piles of previously hidden manuscripts emerged from behind rows of stacked piano and orchestral scores…. [Stravinsky specialist Natalya] Braginskaya described them in a paper delivered at a Stravinsky conference of the International Musicological Society in St. Petersburg on 4 September…. Braginskaya … describes The Funeral Song as a slow, unvarying processional with contrasting instrumental timbres: a dialogue of sonorities, very much as Stravinsky himself vaguely remembered it.”

Posted September 8, 2015