Stravinsky's Chant funèbre (Funeral Song), Op. 5 is the third composition Stravinsky wrote for orchestra in the year 1908. The piece was to commemorate the death of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, whom Stravinsky highly regarded. Just like the two orchestral pieces he composed prior to Chant funèbre, the work is scored for a large orchestra. Unlike the two earlier orchestral pieces of 1908, however, Chant funèbre never really departs from the solemn mood established at its beginning, avoiding the splendiferous sound of his other early orchestral works. This is reflected in Stravinsky’s later recollection of the piece. He says, “All the solo instruments of the orchestra filed past the tomb of the master in succession, each laying down its own melody as its wreath.”
The most amazing aspect of Chant funèbre is the recent discovery of it. The composition premiered on January 30, 1909, after which the whereabouts of the score and orchestra parts were unknown for over one hundred years. It was not until the year 2015 the performance materials were finally found in a small room in the library of the St. Petersburg Conservatory. The modern premiere of the composition took place on December 2, 2016.