The book not only presents the compositional process of Stravinsky through his sketches but also takes into account the annotations Stravinsky made in the score used by Ernest Ansermet
, who conducted the first performance.
Scott Fitzgerald, Pablo Picasso, Serge Diaghilev, Andre Gide, and Les Six play cameo roles in these accounts, while Ernest Ansermet
, Jean Cocteau, and Darius Milhaud are directly quoted.
Mussorgsky's "Dance of the Persian Slaves" from Khovanshchina, with Ernest Ansermet
and the L'Orchestre de la Suisse Romande from 1964, was more up my alley, lighter and more exotic.
Today, the collection keeps musical manuscripts in the hands of Belgian composers such as Jules Denefve (1814-1877), and many unique Belgian editions of the 18th century, as well as concert programs, posters, letters, and autographs from the hands of famous musicians and composers (including Alban Berg, Alfred Cortot, Vincent d'Indy, Ernest Ansermet
, Charles-Marie Widor, and Guillaume Lekeu).
(Stravinsky officially made this change in the 1945 suite.) The composer even recorded the ballet with the short-note version, and evidently instructed Ernest Ansermet
to do likewise, for Ansermet's copy of the score in the Geneva public library has the short-note version written in by hand.
His perceptive examination and criticism of twelve-note technique, seen as an abstraction rather than a linguistic tool (and analogous in some ways to that of Ernest Ansermet
in Les Fondements de la Musique dans la Conscience Humaine), his rebuttal of contemporary historicist and evolutionary dogmas, and his appreciation of composers at the time considered too traditional, too popular and therefore irrelevant, such as Nino Rota or Benjamin Britten (whose A Midsummer Night's Dream he defines as 'a non-conformist modern opera'), make him stand out from the chorus of critical voices of the 20th century.
There is no original publishing information supplied -- no engineer, producer, or recording date; there are no track timings; and there is an erroneous listing on the spine for Ernest Ansermet
rather than Kenneth Alwyn as the conductor.
By Munch to: Ernest Ansermet
, Joseph Calvet (2), Alfred Cortot, Dag Hammarskjold, Arthur Honegger (2), Jacques Ibert, Andre Jolivet, Bohuslav Martinu, Anne-Rose Mehu-Ebersolt (2), Celestine Munch (4), Fritz Munch (7), Isadore Philipp, Guy Ropartz (4), Albert Schweitzer, Nicole and Jean-Jacques Schweitzer, Emma Schweitzer (2), Walter Toscanini, and Henri Weill.
(1883--1969) is primarily known to the world of music for his work with the baton.