The George Bragg Library

. . . from the "Director's Diary"


On the Death of Igor Stravinsky (April 1971)


Igor Stravinsky, the immortal innovator of music, passed away April 6,1971. That he was a giant among the greats of composers is a fact recorded for history in hundreds of books written since the name "Stravinsky" suddenly loomed luminously through Paris in 1910. His importance never diminished.

In 1966 the TEXAS BOYS CHOIR had the privilege of participating in one of Columbia's definitive recordings with the Maestro, himself, conducting. The work was "Persephone" with narration by Vera Zorina, produced by John McClure, with the Gregg Smith Singers. During the preliminary rehearsals I remember having a chance to speak with him, saying, as I was wont to do, that I wished to thank him for writing so much of his choral music with the Boy Choir sound in mind ... and for writing such singable music, always within reasonable range. To this he replied, "It is my pleasure. I must always write reasonably for I have not such a good voice."

His joy in music seemed to me to be equaled only by his joy in children, which became evident when after a rehearsal he came over to our choirboys, helped by Carlo Chavez, composer from Mexico. He seemed transformed for just a moment in time when he and the choirboys were ageless in the excitement of making music together. They were all smiles, and happiness, and full of anticipation ... which later carried over into the recording session when the entire forty-minute work was recorded in one "take" - which in itself is a remarkable fact of music-making history.

We will always bear with greatest pride and guard with greatest care - the label which Maestro Stravinsky gave our TEXAS BOYS CHOIR OF FORT WORTH ... calling it "the best in the world." We shall ever be grateful!

Je t' ecoute de tout mon coeur,

Chant du premiere matin du monde

"Hail to thee, first morning of the worid!

My heart is listening to thy song."

(from Persephone, by Gide)


Copyright 2002
This page was last modified on 06 December 2005