Chapter 3, 1 August 1941


Chapter 3, 1 August 1941


Igor Stravinsky


Nadia Boulanger


1 August 1941


Paul Sacher Stiftung



Extracted Text

Boulanger to Stravinsky
Chicago, Illinois [stamp]
c/o Mrs. Arthur Sachs
Ra Ben Farm
Hope Ranch Park
Santa Barbara Cal.
Mr. Igor Strawinsky
1260 North Wetherly Drive
August 1, 1941
Dear Friend,
Thank you for your letter—I will be in Santa Barbara on Monday, but will be resting for at least
ten days. I just finished my courses at the Convent, and . . . I don’t have a choice. It is nothing,
and it is not important. But an old tired heart does not bear it—in addition to the daily effort, the
remorse—and I cannot get used to the idea of having left them there, suffering, oh what
suffering. I know that certain tasks can only be accomplished this way, and I have the dearest
friends here like you couldn’t imagine—the most faithful. I have understood the value of these
weeks at the Convent, the work demands all of my attention—but . . . something stronger than all
that haunts my thoughts: “You left everything.” [Even] if I were to face hardship here,
everything is easy—and despite all that I have, my conscience is troubled and that is greater than
any reason, even the serious, concrete [ones], that I have to pursue my work here. And I know
this is all that one can do.
See you soon, I hope. We will arrange something, because we must settle these parts once and
for all (if that is even imaginable!).
You told me nothing of Milène, of Sviétik, but I guess there is the world between you, and
Théodore, harder again for you than for him!
To Vera and to you, with all my affection,
Boulanger à Stravinsky
Chicago, Illinois
C/O Mrs. Arthur Sachs
Ra Ben [sic] Farm
Hope Ranch Park
Santa Barbara Cal.
Monsieur Igor Strawinsky
1260 North Wetherly Drive
] août 1941
Cher Ami,
Merci de votre lettre—je serai à Santa Barbara lundi, mais pour être au repos pendant au moins
[dix] jours. Je viens de finir mes cours au Couvent, et…je n’ai pas le [sic] choix. Ce n’est rien, et
cela n’a pas d’importance. Mais un vieux cœur fatigué ne supporte pas, en plus de l’effort
journalier, les remords—et je ne peux me faire à l’idée de les avoir laissé là-bas, souffrant, quelle
souffrance. Je sais, certains devoirs ne sont possibles qu’ainsi, et j’ai ici des amis, comme on
n’en peut imaginer de plus chers—de plus fidèles. J’ai compris la valeur de ces semaines au
Couvent, le travail demande toute mon activité—mais…quelque chose de plus fort que tout
obsède ma pensée : « Tu as tout quitté ». Si je vivais ici de privations, mais tout est facile—et
malgré tout ce que j’ai le trouble de ma conscience est plus grand que toutes les raisons, même
sérieuses, réelles, que j’ai de poursuivre ma tache [sic] ici. Et je sais tou[t] ce qu’on peut faire.
A bientôt, j’espère—nous arrangerons quelque chose—car il faut regler [sic] ce matériel une fois
pour toutes (si cela est imaginable !)
Vous ne me dîtes rien de Milène— de Sviétik—et je devine ce qu’est ce monde entre vous—et
Theodore—plus dur encore pour vous que pour lui !
A Vera et à vous, en toute affection.



Nadia Boulanger , “Chapter 3, 1 August 1941,” Digital Exhibits, accessed April 22, 2024,

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