The Stravinsky Family -

The Stravinsky Family -
The Stravinsky Family 

– CBS Radio – Invitation To Music – Igor Stravinsky Conducts the CBS Symphony and Choir – Dec. 16, 1946 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –

Something slightly out of the ordinary this weekend.Igor Stravinsky appeared frequently on the CBS Radio program Invitation To Music in the 1940s. Just one of the many programs on the air at that time which concentrated on new Classical music or music not all that familiar to audiences.

On this episode of the program, from December 16, 1946, Igor Stravinsky leads the CBS Symphony in the Woodwind Choral from his Symphony for Wind Instruments and Symphony of Psalms.

Stravinsky arrived in New York City on 30 September 1939 and headed for Cambridge, Massachusetts to fulfill his engagements at Harvard. During his first two months in the US, Stravinsky stayed at Gerry’s Landing, the home of art historian Edward W. Forbes. Vera arrived in January 1940 and the couple married on 9 March in Bedford, Massachusetts. After a period of travel, the two moved into a home in Beverly Hills, California before they settled in Hollywood from 1941. Stravinsky felt the warmer Californian climate would benefit his health. Stravinsky had adapted to life in France, but moving to America at the age of 58 was a very different prospect. For a while, he maintained a circle of contacts and émigré friends from Russia, but he eventually found that this did not sustain his intellectual and professional life. He was drawn to the growing cultural life of Los Angeles, especially during World War II, when writers, musicians, composers, and conductors settled in the area. Music critic Bernard Holland claimed Stravinsky was especially fond of British writers, who visited him in Beverly Hills, “like W. H. Auden, Christopher Isherwood, Dylan Thomas. They shared the composer’s taste for hard spirits – especially Aldous Huxley, with whom Stravinsky spoke in French.” Stravinsky and Huxley had a tradition of Saturday lunches for west coast avant-garde and luminaries.

The Symphonies of Wind Instruments is a concert work written by Stravinsky in 1920, for an ensemble of woodwind and brass instruments. The piece is in one movement, lasting about 9 minutes. It is dedicated to the memory of Claude Debussy, who died in 1918, and was premiered in London on June 10, 1921, conducted by Serge Koussevitzky.

The Symphony of Psalms is a choral symphony in three movements composed in 1930 during his neoclassical period. The work was commissioned by Serge Koussevitzky to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

I don’t believe either of these two performances have been reissued, since there are so many studio versions featuring Stravinsky conducting his own work. But still, a nice addition to the Stravinsky collection.


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