On first hearing you can hardly tell it’s Stravinsky

On first hearing you can hardly tell it’s Stravinsky


norman lebrecht

January 13, 2018

The latest Lebrecht Album of the Week listens to lost Stravinsky:

In 1908 Igor Stravinsky, unknown and in his mid-20s, wrote a funeral ode for his teacher, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov. The music was played at Rimsky’s obsequies and the music not again until the score turned up two years ago in a St Petersburg archive and Valery Gergiev won the rights to give the first modern performance.

On first hearing you can hardly tell it’s Stravinsky….

Read on here.

And here.


  • Cubs Fan says:

    Not Another Rite is exactly what I thought – I hope you’re right that this one is somehow different enough to justify owning yet another. Too bad they didn’t use the original version, which would make more sense. Besides, we already have a terrific Rite from Chailly.

  • harold braun says:

    It sounds very much like early Stravinsky,even at first hearing.Some lines appear almost identically in Fireworks and The Firebird.

  • Steve P says:

    I am so excited to hear this!

  • Joel Lazar says:

    My impression after a few hearings with/without score is that it has many early Stravinsky [pre-Firebird] fingerprints, but that it isn’t as interesting a piece as Stravinsky remembered it to be [in assorted published utterances]…

  • Martin says:

    and now here’s what happens when critics fail!

  • C Porumbescu says:

    Compared to such contemporaries as Glazunov & Prokofiev, Stravinsky was a relatively late developer, stylistically – everything he did pre-Firebird (and much of The Firebird itself) is heavily derivative of Rimsky and other composers of the St Petersburg school. And no bad thing, IMHO.

    • John Borstlap says:

      Indeed. But he ‘outdid’ Rimsky quite remarkably, the Firebird has much that is better music than Rimsky ever wrote. (The best bits of the Firebird Stravinsky gathered in the Suite.)

  • Petros Linardos says:

    “Beware the lost leavings of great composers. Time and again we get hyped up about a long-forsaken missing score, only to be cruelly awakened by the reality of its insignificance. ”
    Good point. When did we last hear a rediscovered truly first class work by a great composer?
    Personally, I have a soft spot for Chopin’s a-minor waltz op. posth., published in 1955. So more than a century after Chopin’s death, but more than 60 years ago.



    But what other true masterworks have been discovered in recent decades?

  • Richard Dubugnon says:

    What I find interesting is that even Stravinsky’s heirs haven’t had the possibility to see the original manuscript of this “rediscovered” piece. They reconstructed it after orchestra parts but it seems impossible to see those parts !