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6 Degrees Entertainment

Title - 'Stravinsky: Chant Funèbre, Le Sacre du Printemps'
Artist - Riccardo Chailly & Lucerne Festival Orchestra

For those not in the know, Riccardo Chailly Cavaliere di Gran Croce OMRI is an Italian conductor. He started his career as an opera conductor and gradually extended his repertoire to encompass symphonic music.

His undertaking here now on this just-released Stravinsky: Chant Funèbre, Le Sacre du Printemps via Decca Classics is the great Igor Fyodorovich Stravinsky.

A Russian-born composer, pianist, and conductor his is widely considered one of the most important and influential composers of the 20th century.

On this quite stunning new album, Ricardo Chailly and the Lucerne Festival Orchestra bring brilliance, detail and precision to Stravinsky works that include the rediscovered 'Chant Funèbre' (Funeral Song).

[1] Chant funèbre, op. 5 (Funeral Song)
[2] Feu d'artifice, op. 4 (Fireworks)
[3] Scherzo fantastique, op. 3
[4]-[6] Le Faune et la Bergére, op. 2 (The Faun and the Shepherdess)
I. La Bergére (The Shepherdess)
II. Le Faune (The Faun)
III. Le Torrent (The River)
[7]-[20] Le sacre du printemps (The Rite of Spring)

The story goes that in 2015, an early piece by Stravinsky, lost for over a century, made headlines when it was rediscovered among a pile of manuscripts in the St Petersburg Conservatory.

'Chant Funèbre' was composed in 1908, after the death of Stravinsky’s teacher Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, and it received a single performance at a concert in the conservatory the following January.

But then the score and parts disappeared, and though Stravinsky himself remembered it as one of the best of his early works, the assumption was that it had been destroyed during the turmoil of the Russian Revolution.

For me, listening to this piece (which only lasts 10 and a half minutes) for the first time ever just before this review, and whilst typing it out, once again, 'Chant Funèbre' is a wondrous, twirling work of musical art that showcases Stravinsky’s journey towards the three ballet scores for Diaghilev that would make his name.

Backed seamlessly by three other early pieces – Fireworks and the Scherzo Fantastique, and the tiny Pushkin settings of Le Faune et la Bergère (in which the mezzo Sophie Koch is the subtly nuanced soloist) – there truly isn't a musical note out of step here (as one would fully expect though, of course).

'Chant Funèbre' is followed by an equally wondrous piece entitled 'Le Sacre du Printemps' (The Rite of Spring), but for my money, it takes a wee bit too long to get going. Measured, perhaps a little too much, its detail is phenomenal, don't get me wrong, but not as convincing a work of art as 'Chant Funèbre'.

CD Purchase Link

Riccardo Chailly Biography