Written by Roy Turse
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Wednesday, 17 June 2009

image for Igor Stravinsky conducts FreeBird on YouTube
The orchestra launches into the twelve minute interlude including the trademark cello solo

To celebrate Igor Stravinsky's birthday, his estate has released a previously unseen film of the renowned Russian composer conducting a performance of FreeBird performed in 1971 by Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra.

The film has been uploaded to YouTube and is proving a hit with fans from both musical bases.

Stravinsky, died in 1971 and the original recording of Free Bird by Lynyrd Skynyrd did not appear until 1973, prompting many to suggest that the film is a fake. However, information released with the film shows that the song was originally written in 1970 and although it has been developed significantly since, many of the key elements are there.

At the time the film was made. Stavinsky was experimenting with an avant-guard fusion of styles, and his choice of song for the recording, made in secret in a studio in New York, indicates a keen understanding of popular music of the time. Free Bird went on to become a huge international hit and is listed by many as one of their all-time favorite songs.

The film was made when Lynyrd Skynyrd were practically unknown, and had not yet fixed on the final spelling of their name. In one document a new member of the band, Billy Powell, calls the band Leonard Skinnerd, and another name, The Noble Five, is also mentioned.

It is not known why the film has been suppressed for so long, although it may be associated with Stravinsky's death or the possibly the 1977 air crash that saw several members of Lynyrd Skynyrd killed, including one of the co-composers of Free Bird, Ronnie Van Zant.

The film can be found here:
Igor Stravinsky Conducts FreeBird

There is now talk that this classical version of Free Bird may be included in the next version of Guitar Hero, and a CD or DVD offering is likely.

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The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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