Typed letter in French signed ("votre IStrawinsky"), with long autograph postscript in pencil, 1 page (11 ½ x 8 ½ in.; 292 x 216 mm) written on the verso of the headed notepaper of Harvard University, Department of Music, Hollywood, 25 December 1941, to the conductor Pierre Monteux ("Mon cher Monteux"), a typed addition with similar annotations "l'etrange fragment de la letter de Mr. Gerald G. Rosse. Red half-morocco drop-box, gilt-stamped title on spine.
A testy letter written after a sleepless night and delayed train journey, in which Stravinsky makes clear that the short programme he is planning for an orchestral concert, containing his symphony, divertimento and suite from The Firebird (1919) is deliberate, thanks to the limited rehearsal time, brought about by the power of the unions; he specifies that the majority of the rehearsals will be devoted to the symphony and expresses his concerns that neither the suite nor the divertimento are easy pieces to play; and explaining why he is so late in replying.
Pierre Monteux's place in musical history is assured by his conducting the premiere of Stravinsky's Le sacre du printemps. At the time of this letter, he was director of the San Francisco Philharmonic Orchestra. The concert programme discussed here contained two of Stravinsky's more recent orchestral works, the Symphony in C and the Divertimento, arranged from his ballet The Fairy's Kiss.
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