Chicago And New York Lead Historic First Performances Of STRAVINSKY's Long Lost Work
Stravinsky's early orchestral work Funeral Song-rediscovered in November 2015 after having been lost for 107 years-is celebrating its rebirth into the world with a packed debut tour, which so far includes more than 70 planned performances across the globe this season and next. The piece arrives in the US this spring: Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Maestro Charles Dutoitperform the North American premiere at Chicago's Symphony Center on Thursday, April 6 (with additional performances on April 7, 8, and 11); and the New York Philharmonic and Esa-Pekka Salonen present the East coast premiere in New York City on April 27in David Geffen Hall (with additional performances on April 28 and 29).
Written as a memorial for Rimsky-Korsakov, Funeral Song has been noted for its "extraordinary emotional power" (The Guardian) and certain musical qualities, such as low-string tremolos in the introduction and wind chords, that look ahead to Stravinsky's landmark ballet Firebird. Funeral Song features a mournful three-bar theme that is first introduced in the solo horn and then gets passed around the soloists and instrumental sections-Stravinsky claimed this represented a funeral procession of instruments filing past the "tomb of the master in succession." The Arts Desk pointed out that the music imitated Rimsky-Korsakov's style, "especially his rich orchestral colors and bold but constantly shifting harmonies."
Charles Dutoit, who introduces the piece to the US next month, also conducted the Singapore premiere of Funeral Song with the Singapore Symphony Orchestra on February 16, and will also lead the Australian premiere with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra onJune 29. He brings the piece to Tanglewood Festival with the Boston Symphony Orchestra on July 29.
Esa-Pekka Salonen has also been a great champion of the work, having conducted the Philharmonia Orchestra in the UK premiere (February 19) at Royal Festival Hall and the Spanish premiere (February 24) at the Auditorio Nacional de la Música in Madrid. After leading the East coast premiere of Funeral Song with the New York Philharmonic, Salonen will again join the Philharmonia Orchestra to give the Japanese premiere of the work on May 18 at Tokyo Opera City.
Other North American orchestras that have announced performances include the Cincinnati Symphony with Andrey Boreyko (December 2, 3); Seattle Symphony and Ludovic Morlot (January 4, 6); Utah Symphony and Thierry Fischer (January 11, 12, 13); and the Toronto Symphony with John Storgårds (January 25, 27).
For the current list of announced upcoming performances of Funeral Song, visit Boosey & Hawkes's performance calendar.
To learn more about Stravinsky's rediscovered work, read Boosey & Hawkes's news story here.
(Photo: Chris Lee)