Conductor and Tarantula (lost piano and vocal piece by Igor Stravinsky; 1906)

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A photograph of Stravinsky from 1903.

Status: Lost

Igor Fyodorovic Stravinsky (June 17th, 1882-April 6th, 1971) is a very well-known Russian composer, most notable for his biggest three ballets: The Rite of Spring, The Firebird, and Petrushka.

Other Lost Work

Quite a bit of lost work by Igor Stravinsky exists, but of the two lost pieces known to be by the Russian composer, only one is still lost. The found piece was Funeral Song (or Chant funèbre). The piece that is still missing was composed in 1906 and is called Conductor and Tarantula.


The reason why the piece ended up being lost is due to the fact that it was never published, resulting in it never seeing the light of day. The most compelling thing about Conductor and Tarantula that sets it apart from Chant funèbre is that we had some information before the piece's discovery. As for Conductor and Tarantula, we don't have much information. The piece doesn't even have a Wikipedia page about it. The only information we have readily available about the piece is that Stravinsky composed it in 1906, that it was unpublished and now lost, and the text for the score was credited to Kozma Prutkov.[1]

Kozma Prutkov was, interestingly enough, a fictional author created by Aleksy Tolstoy, and his cousins, the three Zhemchuzhnikov brothers, Alexei, Vladimir, and Alexander during the later part of Czar Nicholas I's rule over Russia. Meaning that the text was written by a fictional character used as a pen name for satirical works, it could be inferred that the piece was made as a satire of some sort. However, that also begs the question as to which person was under the Kozma Prutkov name wrote the text for Conductor and Tarantula. Judging by the letters of the participants, author of original text of Conductor and Tarantula was Alexis Zhemchuzhnikov with a little help of Alexander Zhemchuzhnikov. They wrote it at 1851 as part of the cycle of parody poetic fables, published later under the name of Kozma Prutkov.

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