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Footnotes to Stravinsky Studies: ‘Le Sacre du printemps‘

  • Lawrence Morton

Stravinsky said that he dreamed regularly, that his dreams were ‘the ground for innumerable solutions in my composing activity’. But it is just these composerly dreams about which he has been reticent. Instead, he has recalled the ‘time dreams and counting dreams [which] are common with me, and … dreams in which people shout, but inaudibly’. And again, ‘I am forever trying to tell the time and forever looking at my wrist watch, only to find it isn't there’. Then there was the dream of being a hunchback, which presaged an attack of intercostal neuralgia brought on by nicotine poisoning; another about the scent of Debussy's Eau de Cologne; and one more about his passport, ‘very yellow’. There are no musical portents in these dreams; but of the ones that are musical, the most practical was the one that prescribed the instrumentation of the Octet; and the most bizarre, even Freudian, was the pink dream (‘I often dream in colour’), during the time he was composing Threni, about the two warm, gelatinous, testicular eggs supporting ‘an elastic substance stretching exactly between the two notes [of an interval] I had composed.’ The tension of the stretched substance assured him that his interval was the right one.

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1. Stravinsky, Igor. Chronicle of My Life. London, 1936, p. 5556 [An Autobiography. New York, p.47.]

2. Stravinsky, Igor and Craft, Robert. Expositions and Developments. London, 1962, p.140. [New York, 1962, p.159].

3. Dialogues and a Diary. London, 1968, p.39 n. [New York, 1963, p.70 n.]

4. Expositions and Developments, p. 135 n. [p.154 n.]

5. Dialogues and a Diary, p.39 n. [p.70 n.]

6. Expositions and Developments, p. 135 n. [p. 154 n.]

7. Ibid. p.135. [p.154].

8. Retrospectives and Conclusions. New York, 1969, p.284–5.

9. Ibid. p. 259.

10. Dialogues and a Diary, p.39. [p.70]

11. Conversations with Igor Stravinsky. London 1959, p. 1718. [New York, 1959, p.14.’

12. Mirsky, D. S.. A History of Russian Literature. Edited and Abridged by Whitfield, Francis J.. New York, 1958, p.473

13. Stravinsky, and Craft, . Memories and Commentaries. London, 1960, p.82 [New York, 1960, p.78.]

14. Mirsky, , op. cit., p.473 .

15. pp. 40–41 and 47–48, respectively.

16. Translation by Deutsch, Babette and Yarmolinsky, Avraham in their Russian Poetry, An Anthology. New York, 1972, p.238 .

17. Expositions and Developments, p. 135 n. [p.154n.]

18. Lowes, John Livingston. The Road to Xanadu. Boston and New York, 1927. p.362 .

19. Memories and Commentaries, p.98. [p.92.]

20. Paris, 1931.

21. p.43 n.1.

22. In the catalogue of the Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris, the anthologist's name is transliterated as ‘louch-kevitch.’

23. The title page is in Polish and, verso, in German. The complete title reads as follows: ‘Lithuan ian Folk Melodies/collected by/Anton Juszkiewicz/ and after his death partly ‘arranged by/Oskar Kolberg and Isidor Kopernicki / and after their deaths finally arranged, / edited and published by / Sigmund Noskowski and Jean Baudouin de Courtenay’. The Foreword and other editorial materials are given in parallel columns in Polish and German.

24. Schaeffner neglected to enclose the third measure under a prima volta bracket, and the fourth measure under seconda volta, thus distorting the tune's three-measure phraseology. He also omitted the repeat sign for the second strain and gave D♯ rather than C♯ as the penultimate note.

25. Stravinsky, Igor. ‘The Rite of Spring’ Sketches. London, 1969 .

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