The manuscript of Igor Stravinsky's Funeral Song was thought to have been lost forever in the chaos of the 1917 revolution. But last year, librarians at the St. Petersburg Conservatoire unexpectedly found it in a pile in a back room. On December 2, the piece will be performed for the first time in over a century.
Conductor Valery Gergiev will lead the Mariinsky Orchestra in St. Petersburg, in a concert that will be broadcast online by Medici.tv. It will be only the second time that the Funeral Song has ever been performed in concert, the first having been in 1909. It's an early work by Stravinsky, written to commemorate his recently-deceased teacher, Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov. Within a year, Stravinsky would compose his ballet The Firebird and become one of the most famous musicians in the world, but at the time of Funeral Song he was relatively unknown. Years later, Stravinsky reflected on the piece in his memoirs, claiming that he couldn't remember a single measure. He wrote that he would love to hear it, being "curious to see what I was composing just before The Firebird."
The concert at the Mariinsky Theatre will also include The Firebird and Rimsky-Korsakov's Kitezh Suite, as a nod to the Funeral Song's origins.
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