Chapter 5, 27 February 1956


Chapter 5, 27 February 1956


Nadia Boulanger


Igor Stravinsky


27 February 1956


Bibliothèque nationale de France



Extracted Text

Stravinsky to Boulanger
Beverly Hills, California
Miss Nadia Boulanger
36 rue Ballu
Paris, IXth
February 27, 1956
My very dear Nadia,
I have just read your kind letter of Feb. 21 and thank you with all my heart for having thought of
March 2.
What Halffter solicits is at the same time both touching and impossible for me. If you only knew
everything I have to do before embarking in mid-June for Europe (Greece and Constantinople for
our vacation, then concerts: Venice, Switzerland, Germany, Vienna and London, then returning
to New York for Christmas, triple concert with the Philharmonic—Rite and Persephone—and
recording Persephone with Columbia.)*
I finished my Canticum Sacrum (short, 16 minutes, and quite difficult) and now . . . proofs,
which means—corrections!
Having finished the Canticum, I have put myself to work on an instrumental version (with choir)
of J. S. Bach's Canonic Variations on Vom Himmel hoch da komm' ich her, which I have decided
to do with my Canticum in Venice along with other compositions of a religious nature: Andrea
Gabrieli, Schütz, Monteverdi, Gesualdo. The Bach Variations are taking more time than I
thought. I am going to have Bob perform them here in the Ojai Festival in May where I am
conducting my Noces. This work is interrupted by all sorts of things and right at this moment, for
at least a week, by an “abbreviated version of Petroushka” for TV cartoons, length—12 minutes.
They are making episodes of the start, of Petroushka's cell, of the Moor, one part of the
Disguises and of Petroushka's death. In brief —a potpourri; and I am doing it for money!!! Yes,
sir, it is certainly blameworthy but also excusable when one thinks of the taxes that gouge us
without pity.
*All this at the beginning of January 1957 to which a showing of Vera's paintings has just been
added. Tomorrow the showing of her work at the Santa Barbara Museum will take place . . .
I Str.
Stravinsky à Boulanger
Beverly Hills, California
Miss Nadia Boulanger
36 rue Ballu
Paris, IXeme
27 fev/[19]56
Tres chere Nadia,
Je viens de lire votre bonne lettre du 21 fvr. et vous remercie de tout cœur d’avoir pense au 2
La chose que Halffter sollicite est à la fois touchante et irrealisable pour moi. Si vous sachiez
seulement tout ce que j’ai a faire avant de m’embarquer mi-juin pou[r] l’Europe (Grece et
Constantinople pour nos vacances, puis les concerts: Venise, Suisse, Allemagne, Vienne et
Londres, puis retour a New York pour Christmas, triple concert a la Philharmonie—Sacre et
Persephone—et enregistrement de Persephone avec Columbia.)*
J’ai fini mon Canticum Sacrum (court, 16 minutes, et plutot difficile) et maintenant …..
epreuves, j’entends—corrections !
Ayant termine le Canticum je me suis mis au travail d’une version instrumentale (avec chœur)
des Variations canoniques de J.S. Bach sur Vom Himmel hoch da komm’ ich her, que j’ai decide
de faire avec mon Canticum a Venise a cote d’autre composition de caractere religieux : Andrea
Gabrielli, Schutz, Monteverd[i], Gesualdo. Les Variations de Bach me prennent plus de temps
que je pensais. Je vais les faire jouer ici par Bob dans les festivals d’Ojai en mai ou je dirige mes
Noces. Ce travail est interrompu par toute espece de choses et en ce moment pour une semaine
au moins, par une « abreviated [sic] version of Petroushka » pour des dessins animes a la TV,
duree—12 minutes. On prend des episodes du debut, de la cellule de Petrouchka, du Maure, une
partie des Deguises et de la mort de Petr. Bref—un potpourri ; et je la fais pour l’argent !!! yes
[sic] sir, c’est certe blamable mais aussi explicable quand on pense aux taxes qu’on nous extirpe
sans pitie.
*Tout cela debut janvier 1957 a quoi vient de s’ajouter une exposition de tableaux de Vera.
Demain aura lieu le vernissage au musee de Santa Barbara de son exposition par la…
I Str.



Igor Stravinsky , “Chapter 5, 27 February 1956,” Digital Exhibits, accessed April 22, 2024,

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