Nadia Boulanger and Igor Stravinsky began corresponding in 1929 when Stravinsky sought someone to supervise the musical education of his younger son, Soulima. Boulanger accepted the position and began what would prove to be a warm and lasting dialogue with the Stravinsky family. For fifty years, Boulanger exchanged letters with Igor Stravinsky. An additional 140 letters exist written to Boulanger from Stravinsky's immediate family: his wife Catherine, his mother Anna, and his sons Théodore and Soulima.
Nadia Boulanger and the Stravinskys: A Selected Correspondence makes available a rich selection from this many-sided dialogue. The letters are published here in English translation (most for the first time in their entirety or at all). The little-known French originals are available on the book's companion website. The letters allow us to follow the conversation shared between Boulanger and the Stravinskys from 1929 until 1972, the year following Igor Stravinsky's death. Through the words they exchanged, we see Boulanger and Stravinsky transition from respectful colleagues to close friends to, finally, distant icons, with music serving always as a central topic. These letters are a testament to one master teacher's power to shape the cultural canon and one composer's desire to embed himself within historical narratives. Their words touch upon matters professional and personal, musical and social, with the overall narrative reflecting the turmoil of life during the twentieth century and the fragility of artists hoping to leave their mark on the modernist period.
Kimberly A. Francis