Igor Stravinsky: An Autobiography
IGOR STRAVINSKY An Autobiography Foreword ONE Development of the Composer 1 TWO Composer and Performer 87 CITY MO. PUBLIC 6870524 Foreword The aim of this volume is to set down a few recollections connected with various periods of my life. It is equally in tended for those interested in my music and in myself. Rather therefore, than a biography it will be a simple account of im portant events side by side with facts of minor consequence bothy however, have a certain significance for me, and I wish to relate them according to the dictates of my memory. Naturally I shall not be able to keep within the bounds of bare statement. As I call my recollections to mind, I shall necessarily be obliged to speak of my opinions, my tastes, my preferences, and my abhorrences. I am but too well aware of how much these feelings vary in the course of time. This is why I shall take great care not to confuse my present reactions with those experienced at other stages in my life. There are still further reasons which induce me to write this book. In numerous interviews I have given, my thoughts, my words, and even facts have often been disfigured to the extent of becoming absolutely unrecognizable. I therefore undertake this task today in order to present to the reader a true picture of myself, and to dissipate the accumulation of misunderstandings that has gathered about both my work and my person. ONE Development of the Composer I As memory reaches back along the vista of the years, the increasing distance adds to the difficulty of seeing clearly and choosing between those incidents which make a deep impres sion and those which, though perhaps more important in themselves, leave no trace, and in no wayinfluence ones development. Thus, one of my earliest memories of sound will seem somewhat odd. It was in the country, where my parents, like most peo ple of their class, spent the summer with their children. I can see it now. An enormous peasant seated on the stump of a tree. The sharp resinous tang of fresh-cut wood in my nos trils. The peasant simply clad in a short red shirt. His bare legs covered with reddish hair, on his feet birch sandals, on his head a mop of hair as thick and as red as his beard not a white hair, yet an old man. He was dumb, but he had a way of clicking his tongue very noisily, and the children were afraid of him. So was I. But curiosity used to triumph over fear. The children would gather round him. Then, to amuse them, he would begin to sing. This song was composed of two syllables, the only ones he could pronounce. They were devoid of any meaning, but he made them alternate with incredible dexterity in a very rapid tempo. He used to accompany this clucking in the fol lowing way pressing the palm of his right hand under hi left armpit, he would work his left arm with a rapid move ment, making it press on the right hand...
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