Funeral Song

From Wind Repertory Project
Igor Stravinsky

Igor Stravinsky

This work is also known as Chant funèbre or Pogrebal'naya Pesnya. It bears the designation Opus 5.

General Info

Year: 1908 / 2017
Duration: c. 12:00
Difficulty: (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Boosey & Hawkes
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - Unknown   |   Score Only (print) - $22.98


Flute I-II-III (III doubling Piccolo)
Oboe I-II
English Horn
Bassoon I-II-III (III doubling Contrabassoon)
A Soprano Clarinet I-II-III (III doubling Bass Clarinet)
C Trumpet I-II-III
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III
Harp (2 players)
Percussion (2 players), including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Cymbals
  • Tam-tam

Violins I-II


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

The orchestral parts for a Stravinsky score believed to have been lost or destroyed in the 1917 revolutions turned up in a pile of old manuscripts at the St. Petersburg Conservatory in 2015. The discovery was made by a school librarian and outlined in an article in The Guardian by Stravinsky biographer Stephen Walsh. 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.

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 January 17, 1909. Stravinsky's own testimony about this long-lost work is in Memories and Commentaries (1960):

"The Chant funèbre 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."

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."

- Program Note from WASBE


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra (St. Petersburg, Russia) (Valery Gergiev, conductor) - 2 December 2016
  • Count Aleksandr Sheremetev's orchestra (St. Petersburg, Russia) (Felix Blumenfeld, conductor) – January 1909

Works for Winds by This Composer