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Song of the Volga Boatmen

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

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