[* on a Russian popular tune] for Concert Introduction or Encore – Kanon* (* über ein russisches Volkslied) für Konzert-Eröffnung oder Zugabe – Canone* [* su una canzone populare russa] per l'apertura di un concerto o come bis
Scored for: a) First edition*: Flauto piccolo, 2 Flauti grandi, 2 Oboi, Corno Inglese, 2 Clarinetti in La, Clarinetto basso in Si b, 2 Fagotti, Contrafagotto, 4 Corni in Fa, 3 Trombe in Do, 2 Tromboni Tenore**, Trombone basso**, Tuba, 5 Timpani, Gran Cassa, Piano, Arpa, Violini I, Violini II, Viole, Violoncelli, Contrabassi [Piccolo Flute, 2 grande Flutes, 2 Oboes, English Horn, 2 Clarinets in A, Bass Clarinet in B, 2 Bassoons, Contrabassoon, 4 Horns in F, 3 Trumpets in C, 2 Tenor Trombones, Bass Trombone, Tuba, 5 Timpani, Bass drum, Piano, Harp, Violins I, Violins II, Violas, Violoncellos, Basses].
b) Performance requirements: = a) , strings not divided.
* Without an orchestral list given before.
** Original spelling.
Title: The original title reads ‘Canon for Concert Introduction or Encore’. In the published edition there is an asterisk behind ‘Canon’, the reference for which can be found on the first page of music under the final system on the left, reads ‘*on a Russian popular tune’. This reference owes its existence in the publishing rights.
Construction: The Canon is a short, canonic work for full orchestra in one movement without metronome marking which bears only the Italian marking ‘ Fortissimo e Moderato’. It has 35 bars, including repeats (bars 1-17 repeated: bar 35 final chord) as the instrumentation of the Russian folk melody ‘By the gate’, which was used in the final tableau of the ballet The Firebirdand which came from Rimsky-Korsakov’s collection of 100 Russian national songs, Op.24from 1876 with the number 21, which is intended to create counterpoint with itself. The Canonis constructed by an apparently simple canonic process for tutti orchestra which itself only makes up 13 bars. In addition, there is a four-bar chordal prefix, the unchanged repetition of the entire passage and after the repetition, a final bar with a single short chord which corresponds to the previous chord in the full wind section. The repeat is necessary because otherwise, the instruments playing the theme in augmentation are only able to play the melody once. The work is written in C and the transposing instruments are written in transposing parts. The entire melodic flow in the actual canonic theme (i.e. bars 5-17) consists of a static framework of crotchets and minims, apart from the two last bars of the repeat which augment the minim by a crotchet in order to take up the augmentation. The meter changes peacefully between 2/4 and 3/4.
Fortissimo e Moderato
(with repeat 35 [without repeat 18] bars)
Repeat bar 1-17 [= bar 18-34]
bar 18 [= bar 35]
Style: The flutes and oboes, including cor anglais, do not share the melodic line, and rather produce a high aural corona which remains unchanging on the supertonic. The melody of the song, different from the original, is stated in unchanged crotchet note values in the clarinets, piano and harp descant, two violins and violas (four in the repeat) after one another and enters on the second crotchet of the 3/4 bar, bar 5. The three trumpets begin an augmentation of the theme written in doubled note values at the fourth beginning on d, on the same beat of the bar, which ends when the other instruments have played their melody in its entirety twice. The aural effect of this canon is not entirely dependent upon the horn quartet. Together, they augment in octaves in the same manner as the trumpets only lowered by a second on a, but begin on the third crotchet of the bar so that the horn parts always sound a crotchet behind the trumpets , but with the second note holding over onto the next note of the trumpets. All the other instruments in the orchestra, together with the piano and harp in the bass, take on a canonic derivative unison accompaniment. Bass clarinet, bassoons including contrabassoon, trombones and tuba, the bass of the piano, violoncellos and double basses play the theme in inversion at the fourth so that the canon theme is played against its mirror image, but entering on the first beat of the bar. The bass of the harp and timpani take up the mirror-image form at the fifth, and augment it in double note values, beginning hesitantly on the first beat of the second bar of the theme. The two final repeated notes before the repeat marking are played by the timpani as a roll slide. At the final chord, the timpani play a chord of a third that is not rolled. The bass drum is struck seven times with accents: twice (four times) in the four-bar introduction, once (twice) in the canon section and once on the final chord. The entry in the canonic section occurs in a crotchet rest before the new entry. Thus this orchestral miniature canon consists of four entries in parallel at different intervals, with the beginning on four different beats of the bar and a counterbalance to the original theme and its mirror image. In comparison with the original, a starkly alienated sound-world comes out of this combination.
Dedication: The composition was written in memory of Pierre Monteux; the printed edition bears neither a dedication nor a memorial mark.
Duration: 0’ 30“.
Date of origin: [presumably the 2nd half of] 1965 up to [June] 1966 in Hollywood.
Première: 16th Dezember 1965, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Toronto, conducted by Robert Craft.
Remarks: On 1st July 1964, the conductor of the première of both ballets Petruschka and Sacre du Printemps as well as the opera, Le Rossignol, Pierre Monteux, died at the age of almost ninety in Hancock in the state of Maine; Strawinsky appreciated him more and more with his ever-increasing age. Pierre Monteux was born on 4th April 1875 in Paris. Diaghilev engaged him in 1911 for his ballet troupe. Since 1st January 1914, Monteux had been building up his own orchestra which was made impossible by the beginning of the First World War. Diaghilev took him with him to the United States in 1916. Between 1917 and 1919 he conducted at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, then until 1924 the Boston Symphony Orchestra, with which he gave over five hundred concerts, and until 1934, he conducted the Concertgebourworkest in Amsterdam, standing in for Willem Mengelberg. In Paris, he conducted the Orchestre Symphonique de Paris (in the Strawinsky correspondence, O.S.P for short) for many years up to 1938, which played an important role in Strawinsky’s French biography. Between 1936 and 1952, Monteux directed the San Francisco Symphony and encouraged Strawinsky in all possible ways. While Strawinsky often kept himself at a distance to Monteux in the earlier years, he came to see him as his only close friend at the end of his life. The aged, almost ninety-year-old Monteux conducted Sacre on 29th May 1963 for the 50th anniversary in the Albert Hall in London to the great wonder of Strawinsky and the entire audience, a piece which had accompanied him throughout his entire life. Strawinsky dedicated the Greeting Prelude to him on his 80th birthday and the Firebird Canonto him after his death. At what point the composition had been started and whether it was a commission or spontaneous remains unclear. That Strawinsky sent a neat copy to Monteux’s widow upon its completion, does not suggest a normal agreement in any way.
Versions: Strawinsky sent the Canon at the beginning of November 1965 to Rufina Ampenov from the publishers Boosey & Hawkes. Craft premièred the composition on 16th December 1965, but on 1st June 1966, Strawinsky asked the publishers by telegraph for the cessation of all the preparation of the printing materials for the piece because he had made a few adjustments. In this way, the period of composition extended beyond the stated date of 1965 as it also stands in the printed edition, into the middle of 1966 in any case. The Canon was printed for the first time in 1973 by Boosey & Hawkes after Strawinsky’s death, solely as a conductor’s score. The publishing rights to the Firebirdlay originally with Jurgenson in Moscow who sold them to Robert Forberg in Leipzig with once Lenin had assumed control of the press. When Strawinsky tried to produce a new Firebird Suite with Chester in London, there was a trial in Leipzig which Strawinsky, the English publishers, Chester, and the German publishers, Schott, lost. Strawinsky argued irreconcilably with Chester (Harry Kling) while the Schott publishers stood aside and granted him every assistance. In the fall-out of this, a friendly relationship was initiated between Strawinsky and Willy Strecker which meant that Schott publishers gradually became Strawinsky’s most important representatives. Strecker, who was in charge of the publishers, subsequently bought the rights for the Firebirdand gradually gave them to several publishers, in his own and Strawinsky’s interest, and thereby brought them together and made an end to the unholy mess around the work. While Strawinsky was writing the Firebird Canon work in memoriam Monteux, it would have been suggested to him for several reasons that he should give the rights for this Firebird-work over to Schott. Strawinsky however wanted absolutely to avoid that for unspoken reasons. Presumably, after Strecker’s death, he had no more personal friendships with the publishers. As he explained to Ampenow in a letter of 8th November 1965, Schott had no rights of any kind for this work. In order to prevent Schott from invoking their contract, Strawinsky explained that the theme of the canon was an old Russian folk melody which was not written by him but rather came from a new edition of folk melodies, and therefore could not be made to apply to the Firebird, a subtle point which he certainly had not thought up himself but had learnt from different trials in which his adversaries had used this argument against him and won. This may have been the reason for the curious title of the work and may explain why he made sure to put the asterisk by the main title ‘Canon’ in the printed edition referencing the Russian folk-song and he was not, as has been suggested, speaking of it as a Canon on the theme from the ballet The Firebird. By doing this, Strawinsky mentioned in a letter to Ampenov the relationship between the ‘Final Hymn’ of his ballet, The Firebirdand the new composition. The printing of an edition for retail must then have been abandoned as the disc number, which comes from 1965/66, demonstrates.
Historical recording: none traceable.
CD edition: not included.
Autograph: The autography passed from the inventory of Boosey & Hawkes into the British Library in London.
Copyright: 1973 by Boosey & Hawkes Music Publishers Ltd.
105-1 1973 Dp; Boosey & Hawkes London; 3 pp.; B. & H. 19411.
b) Characteristic features
105-1 Igor Stravinsky / CANON / for Concert Introduction or Encore / Full Score / Boosey & Hawkes // Igor Stravinsky / CANON / for Concert Introduction or Encore / Full Score / Boosey & Hawkes / Music Publishers Limited / London · Paris · Bonn · Johannesburg · Sydney · Toronto · New York // (Full score stapled 26.3 x 35.3 (2°[gr. 4°]); 3  pages + 4 cover pages puce on grey green beige [front cover title, 2 empty pages, page with publisher’s advertisements >Igor Stravinsky<* production date >No. 40< [#] >7.65<] + 1 page front matter [title page] + 1 page back matter [empty page]; title head >Canon* / for Concert Introduction or Encore<; asterisk-commentary below type area flush left italic >* on a Russian popular tune.<; author specified 1. page of the score without pagination [p. 2] below subtitle flush right >Igor Stravinsky<; legal reservations 1. page of the score below type area flush right >All rights reserved< flush left below asterisk-commentary >© Copyright 1973 by Boosey & Hawkes Music Publishers Ltd<; production indication 1. page of the score flush right below legal reservation >Printed in England<; plate number: >B. & H. 19411<; end of score dated p. 3 >1965<; without end mark) // (1973)
* Compositions are advertised in two columns without edition numbers, without price informations and without specification of places of printing >Operas and Ballets° / Agon [#] Apollon musagète / Le baiser de la fée [#] Le rossignol / Mavra [#] Oedipus rex / Orpheus [#] Perséphone / Pétrouchka [#] Pulcinella / The flood [#] The rake’s progress / The rite of spring° / Symphonic Works° / Abraham and Isaac [#] Capriccio pour piano et orchestre / Concerto en ré (Bâle) [#] Concerto pour piano et orchestre / [#] d’harmonie / Divertimento [#] Greetings°° prelude / Le chant du rossignol [#] Monumentum / Movements for piano and orchestra [#] Quatre études pour orchestre / Suite from Pulcinella [#] Symphonies of wind instruments / Trois petites chansons [#] Two poems and three Japanese lyrics / Two poems of Verlaine [#] Variations in memoriam Aldous Huxley / Instrumental Music° / Double canon [#] Duo concertant / string quartet [#] violin and piano / Epitaphium [#] In memoriam Dylan Thomas / flute, clarinet and harp [#] tenor, string quartet and 4 trombones / Elegy for J.F.K. [#] Octet for wind instruments / mezzo-soprano or baritone [#] flute, clarinet, 2 bassoons, 2 trumpets and / and 3 clarinets [#] 2 trombones / Septet [#] Sérénade en la / clarinet, horn, bassoon, piano, violin, viola [#] piano / and violoncello [#] / Sonate pour piano [#] Three pieces for string quartet / piano [#] string quartet / Three songs from William Shakespeare° / mezzo-soprano, flute, clarinet and viola° / Songs and Song Cycles° / Trois petites chansons [#] Two poems and three Japanese lyrics / Two poems of Verlaine° / Choral Works° / Anthem [#] A sermon, a narrative, and a prayer / Ave Maria [#] Cantata / Canticum Sacrum [#] Credo / J. S. Bach: Choral-Variationen [#] Introitus in memoriam T. S. Eliot / Mass [#] Pater noster / Symphony of psalms [#] Threni / Tres sacrae cantiones°< [° centre centred; °° original mistake in the title].
K Catalog: Annotated Catalog of Works and Work Editions of Igor Strawinsky till 1971, revised version 2014 and ongoing, by Helmut Kirchmeyer.
© Helmut Kirchmeyer. All rights reserved.
http://www.kcatalog.org and http://www.kcatalog.net