Chapter 3, 19 May 1941


Chapter 3, 19 May 1941


Nadia Boulanger


Igor Stravinsky


19 May 1941


Bibliothque Nationale De Paris



Extracted Text

Stravinsky to Boulanger
2160 North Wetherly Drive
Hollywood, California
May 19, 1941
My dear Nadia,
Once again it has been a long time since I’ve heard any news of you. Are you still in Cambridge,
are you on vacation (rather implausible)? It has been an eternity (March 17) since you sent me
your (unfortunately sad) news. Since then, the Associated Music Publishers, in their letter from
April 1, spoke to me about you, letting me know that “the material of your Symphony was sent
to Miss Boulanger . . . she wrote us in the meantime that her corrections would be delayed as
she is rather busy at this time.” Is this time over? I’m wondering about this with a certain degree
of concern for two reasons: (1) My concert in Mexico City, where I am playing my symphony, is
approaching and I am wondering if I will be able to count on this newly corrected material from
you. (2) If we had sent you the unchanged piece from which I had conducted along with the
unaltered material (in order to help you with the corrections), I am scared that the Associated
Music Publishers, having to deliver this corrected material to the Mexico Philharmonic (it is
necessary to allow 10 to 14 days to send it from New York to Mexico) for my concerts
(beginning of July), will be obliged to take [the score] away from you, thereby interrupting your
precious work. Unless you will be able to continue correcting it according to the corrections
written partially in the gray score and on the bottom of the paper. As you see I am completely
ignorant of what is going on. A note from you would settle my nerves, providing the letter is
I received a letter from Mr. Forbes letting me know about his “Committee’s” refusal to publish
my lectures in two languages. I thought as much. They are now proposing to publish them only
in their original language, i.e., French. I consented. Their reasoning is incomprehensible to me. If
the edition, with the two combined texts, frightened them—a higher cost for the volume without
any great hope of a good run—what would be the advantage of publishing in French, I wonder?
All my affectionate and faithful thoughts, my very dear Nadia,
I. Str
[P.S.] The troubling news from Vichy scares me.
Stravinsky à Boulanger
2160 North Wetherly Drive
Hollywood, California
le 19 mai 1941
Ma chere Nadia,
Il y a denouveau[sic] longtemps que je n’entends plus parler de vous. Etes-vous toujours a
Cambridge, etes-vous en vacances (plustot [sic] invraisemblable)? Il y a des eternites (le 17
mars) que vous m’aviez envoye de vos (helas tristes) nouvelles. Depuis l’Associated Music
Publishers dans leur lettre du I-er avril me parlaient de vous en me faisant savoir que “the
material of your Symphony was sent to Miss Boulanger…she wrote us in the meantime that her
corrections would be delayed as she is rather busy at this time.” Is this time over? C’est ce que je
me demande avec une certaine inquietude pour deux raison [sic]: I.- Mon concert a Mexico, ou je
joue ma symphonie, s’approche et je me demande si je pourrai compter sur ce nouveau materiel
corrige par vous. 2.- Si on vous avait envoye avec le materiel vierge aussi celui d’apres lequel
j’ai dirige (afin de vous faciliter le travail de correction), j’ai bien peur que l’Associated Music
Publishers devant livrer ce materiel corrige a la Philharmonie de Mexico (il faut compter 10 a 14
jours, le transfert de New York a Mexico) pour mes concerts (commencement de juillet) se verra
oblige de vous l’enlever, interrompant ainsi votre precieux travail. A moins que vous puissiez le
continuer d’apres les corrections inscrites en partie sur la partition grise, en partie sur des bouts
de papier. Je suis comme vous voyez, dans l’ignorance complete de ce qui se passe. Un mot de
vous mettera [sic] en bon ordre mes nerfs, a condition que ce mot soit rassurant.
J’ai reçu une lettre de Mr.Forbes [sic] me faisant savoir le refus de son « Committee » de publier
mes cours en deux langues. Je m’y attendais. Ils me proposent maintenant de les publier
seulement dans leur langue originale, c. a d. en français. J’ai consenti. Leur raisonnement m’est
incomprehensible. Si l’edition, avec les deux textes ensemble, les effrayait—cout eleve du
volume sans grand espoir d’un fort tirage quel serait l’avantage de la publication en langue
française, je me demande.
Toutes mes affectueuses et fideles pensees, ma tres chere Nadia,
Votre Str
P.S. Les nouvelles troublantes de Vichy m’effrayent



Igor Stravinsky, “Chapter 3, 19 May 1941,” Digital Exhibits, accessed September 28, 2023,

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