Chapter 4, 18 March 1949


Chapter 4, 18 March 1949


Nadia Boulanger


Igor Stravinsky


18 March 1949


Bibliothèque Nationale De Paris



Extracted Text

Stravinsky to Boulanger
1260 N. Wetherly Drive
Hollywood, California
March 18, 1949
Dearest Nadia,
Just a note accompanies this Latin version of my a cappella chorale works with which you are
familiar—“Pater Noster” and “Ave Maria.” I have just arranged this version for use in the
Catholic Church, of course, but it would certainly be desirable for Protestant churches to take
advantage of them as well.
Did you hear my Mass by Ansermet in London (BBC) not long ago? The BBC also performed
Orpheus.* I’ve just recorded both of them (Mass and Orpheus) in New York (Victor). Orpheus
will come out in September and the Mass at Christmas. I did the latter with children (not with
women, like Ansermet) who were unfortunately not quite of the highest level. Unlike in Europe,
here they don't have the tradition of training Discanti and Alti. However, I had to settle on the
children, because the presence of women's voices, however perfect they might be, would be a
much more serious error in the music of my Mass (for the sense and the spirit of this music) than
the imperfection of a children's choir.
I Str.
*I tremble at the idea of what the music of my poor Orpheus must have been in the hands of Mr.
Lichine and the Ballet des Champs Elysees!
Stravinsky à Boulanger
1260 N. Wetherly Drive
Hollywood, California
18 mars 1949
Dearest Nadia,
Juste un mot accompagnant cette version latine de mes chœurs a capella que vous connessez
[sic] —Pater Noster et Ave Maria. Je viens d’arranger cette version pour l’usage du culte
catholique bien entendu, mais il serait certainement souhaitable que les eglises [sic] protestante
en profitent eux aussi.
Avez-vous entendu dernierement ma Messe par Ansermet a Londres (BBC) ? Il y joua egalement
Orphée.* Viens d’enregistrer tous les deux (Messe et Orphée) a New York (VICTOR). Orphée
paraitra en Septembre et la Messe a Noel. Cette derniere, je l’avais fait avec des enfants (pas
avec des femmes, comme Ansermet) qui etaient malheureusement pas tout a fait de premier
ordre. Ici, ils n’ont pas, comme en Europe, la tradition des metrieses [sic] des Discanti et Alti.
Cependant j’ai du me decider pour les enfants car la presence des voix de femmes, aussi parfaites
soient-elles, dans la musique de ma Messe serait une imprudence bien plus grave (pour le sens et
l’esprit de cette musique) que l’imperfection d’un chœur d’enfants.
I Str.
*Je tremble a l’idee [sic] de ce qui a du etre la musique de mon pauvre Orphée entre les mains de
Mr. Lishine et le Ballet des Champs Elysees !



Igor Stravinsky , “Chapter 4, 18 March 1949,” Digital Exhibits, accessed May 19, 2024,

Item Relations

This item has no relations.

The library is committed to ensuring that members of our user community with disabilities have equal access to our services and resources and that their dignity and independence is always respected. If you encounter a barrier and/or need an alternate format, please fill out our Library Print and Multimedia Alternate-Format Request Form. Contact us if you’d like to provide feedback: