Stravinsky (1882 - 1971)

“Scherzo à la russe” (4')

For Stravinsky 1939 was a devastating year. His first wife Katya died of tuberculosis in March, to whom Stravinsky had been married for thirty-three years (Stravinsky had an ongoing love affair with Vera de Bosset since 1921 but he undoubtedly had a deep affection for his wife). The composer himself was sick and was hospitalized for five months. His mother then passed away while he was still ill. Stravinsky was finally fed up with his life in Paris and decided to leave Europe for the United States of America, arriving there in September 1939. He eventually settled in Hollywood and obtained American citizenship in 1945. There Stravinsky composed Scherzo à la russe as film music between 1943 and 1944. The piece, however, was never utilized in the movie. He was then commissioned to write a jazz piece, for which he reworked the film music. In 1946 Stravinsky made the piece appropriate for symphonic concerts.

[Akira Ishii]