Saturday, 3 December 2016


Russian composer Igor Stravinsky
Mustn't you fret! Folks over at will have the full video available (viewable free of charge after a quick registration) for the next 18 days.

Esteemed maestro and Championer of the Stravinsky cause in Russia Valery Gergiev, as usual, delivered a powerful, impassioned performance of Igor Stravinsky’s long lost Pogrebal'naya Pesnya (Funeral Song) December 2nd to worldwide raving reviews.

Thanks to a somewhat lengthy introduction to the world première, held yesterday in St. Petersburg, we now know the fine details of how this discovery came to light – and the story of it’s re-birth, as regaled by the Head of the Restoration Team for the lost work Natalya Alexandra Braginskaya (who spoke through an interpreter) - and the story of it's history, is, I dare say, as moving and as heroic as Stravinsky’s music itself.

The Funeral Song, we are reminded, was penned in 1908 by Stravinsky as a loving tribute to his recently expired mentor and friend, fellow Russian composer Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov – to bid his former music teacher a fare thee well – and also, we are told, to bid adieu to Stravinsky’s now consummated phase of life as a mere pupil, and to bravely greet hello to an all new, freely independent phase of life as the composer ventured his first steps into the great unknown.

But it was the story of how Stravinsky’s prized Pogrebal'naya Pesnya was made preserved for over a century, surviving air raids, fires and other casualties of Revolutionary and civil war (by children of the St. Petersburg Conservatoire, no less) that seemed to share – if not hog – yesterday’s introductory spotlight.

From Braginskaya:
“…the Funeral Song is not only [part of] [St.] Petersburg but also [part of the] was in the building of the first Russian Conservatoire, located in theater square, in house no. 3. Now it is under reconstruction – but it was the building where this work of art was performed for the first, and the only time. It was there that the manuscript survived the war and blockade, and after the siege… After the air bombing, Conservatoire girls and boys that had not been evacuated – they spent time on the roof and they de-mined the bombs, saving the building from fires. Here, [in house number] 3, on the epoch of combating Cosmopolitanism, this manuscript was sentenced to liquidation – it was supposed to be written off but still it remained untouched. And it was there, in the summer of 2015, that it was discovered when the building of the conservatoire [had] [re]moved [it] from there, and it was then, that thanks to the initiative of the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation, the historical building was closed for reconstruction.. that happened for the first time in 120 years of its existence, and it was the effort of the Conservatoire that the musical score of the Funeral Song was restored.”
Below you will find video of yesterday’s concert – however I strongly urge the reader to view the performance - with introduction - in its entirety at Click here to go there now. 

*UPDATE: Pogrebal'naya Pesnya is no longer available on YouTube in either video nor audio. There is, however a promotional video (split into two parts) detailing background information on the work that is well worth a watch (seen below). Those interested in viewing the concert footage will have to visit at the link provided above.

Part II

For more background on this exciting historical discovery, see my original post preceding the concert here at Unraveling Musical Myths by clicking on the article below:



  1. classical_music_fan3 December 2016 at 20:33

    THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU FOR THIS!! I missed most of the live performance and have been having technical difficulty with the medici site (for some reason I cant reduce the video size and it keeps buffering as a result?)

    1. Hello again, classical_music_fan!

      You're most welcome. Try Gramophone's site:

      Stravinsky: Funeral Song livestream

      *if the video cuts off at a certain point register to and then reload the gramophone page.