Chapter 6, 11 December 1966


Chapter 6, 11 December 1966


Nadia Boulanger


Igor Stravinsky


11 December 1966


Bibliothèque nationale



Extracted Text

Stravinsky to Boulanger
1260 North Wetherly Drive
Hollywood 69 California
Miss Nadia Boulanger
36 rue Ballu, Paris
December 11, 1966
My Dear,
No time to write to you properly. Excuse me.
1) Variations dedicated to the memory of Aldous Huxley has nothing to do with his work. The
months that this composition took me [to write] were the months when dear Aldous left us
(throat cancer) and it was only natural that I dedicated this work to his memory. Of the rest, I am
certain (and this does not discourage me) that this music would mean nothing to him (or would
displease him) because what he liked was romantic and classical music, to which my
composition is very much foreign.
2) I am no longer going to give concerts in Paris after the public’s and the press’s affront at the
premiere of my Threni, conducted by myself in one of Boulez's concerts. This decision is final.
3) Moreover, let’s not forget that André Malraux—who (very naturally) is organizing an official
event for the centenary of the great Baudelaire—had said not long ago that he considers music to
be a secondary art. It would thus be ridiculous to impose on him (Minister of Public Instruction)
pieces of a secondary art on such an important occasion.
Those are the three things I wanted to say to you in response to your kind letter of December 4.
Despite this “business” letter, I wish to underscore my friendship and best wishes, with which
you are already familiar.
I Str.
P.S. Very touched by your letter in memory of my dear little girl.
* * *
Stravinsky à Boulanger
1260 North Wetherly Drive
Hollywood 69 Californie
Miss Nadia Boulanger
36 rue Ballu, Paris
11 décembre 1966
Pas de temps pour vous ecrire convenablement. Excusez.
1) Variations dedie a la mémoire de Aldous Huxley n’a rien a faire avec son œuvre. Les
mois que cette composition m’a pris furent les mois ou cher Aldous quittait sa vie (cancer
de la gorge) et il n’etait que naturel que je dedicasse ce travail a sa mémoire. Du reste je
suis certain (et cela ne me decourage pas) que cette musique ne lui dirait rien (ou lui
deplairerait) car ce qu’il aimait etait la musique romantique et classique, dont ma
composition est tres etrangere.
2) Je ne vais plus donner des concerts a Paris apres l’affrond du publique et de la presse a
la premiere de mes Threni dirige par moi-meme dans un des concerts Boulez. C’est
definitif cette decision.
3) D’autre part, ne l’oublions pas, que Andre Malraux qui (tres naturellement) organise
une manifestation officielle pour le centenaire du grand Beaudelaire avait declare il n’y a
pas longtemps qu’il considere la musique un art secondaire. Il serait donc ridicule de lui
(Ministre de l’instruction Publique) imposer pour une si important occasion des pieces
d’un art secondaire.
Voila les troi[s] choses que je tenais a vous dire en reponse a votre bonne lettre du 4
Malgre cette lettre « d’affaire » je tiens a vous renouveler mes affections les plus
cordiales que vous connaissez.
I Str.
P.-S. Tres touche par vos lignes a la mémoire de ma chere fille.



Igor Stravinsky , “Chapter 6, 11 December 1966,” Digital Exhibits, accessed July 24, 2024,

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