Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971)
Song of the Volga Boatmen
In 1917 Stravinsky made an arrangement for brass, woodwind
and percussion of the famous traditional Russian song The Volga Boatmen whilst he
was in Rome conducting The Firebird with Diaghilev’s Ballet Russes on tour.
News of the February Russian Revolution had just come through, and as it would thus have
been inappropriate to preface the performance with the Russian anthem of God save the
Tsar, at almost immediate notice Stravinsky provided his arrangement of the Song
of the Volga Boatmen as a substitute ‘anthem’.
© Jon Tolansky