Why did Stravinsky leave Russia

: Stravinsky in Russia

The The Soviet Encyclopedia disdainfully dismissed his works as a mixture of the greatest primitiveness and decadent bourgeois excessiveness; the Izvestia called him himself, in 1951, a bourgeois formalist and cosmopolitan - in Soviet parlance at the time, three swear words of roughly equal weight. Now, on September 21, after fifty-three years of voluntary exile (he was only briefly returned to a single concert in 1914, to what was then still tsarist Russia), Igor Stravinsky (accompanied in front of his wife Vera and his adjutant Robert Craft) went for the first Paint Russian soil again. "I have left tsarist Russia and returned to the Soviet Union; it gives me great pleasure," he told the crowd that had gathered with bouquets of flowers to greet him at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport. And the Pravda he said a day later: "I have found a people full of optimism and I feel rejuvenated."

Four concerts in Moscow (the second of which was televised), in the hall of the Tchaikovsky Conservatory, two in Leningrad: "Sacre du Printemps", "Petrushka", "Orpheus", "Firebird" and, as an encore, his orchestration of " Volga Schiffer ", which he had created for Diaghilev in 1917. He directed the rehearsals himself and was mostly at the desk himself. In between receptions: the one at the Soviet composers' association, for example, and the state reception given for him by the Minister of Education, Ekaterina Furzewa. On October 9th, one day before his return to Hollywood, where he - an American citizen since 1945 - lives in a bungalow above Sunset Boulevard, he also paid a visit to Oranienbaum, a suburb of Leningrad. He was born here in 1882 - his father was a singer, bass player, at the Petersburg Opera Theater - and in Petersburg he had studied with Rimsky-Korssakoff.

One follows the stages of this journey with emotion, not only because a tall old man was finally able to see his homeland again - he himself would certainly not be a friend of such sentimentality - but because this reunion took place in an atmosphere of enthusiastic reconciliation, so to speak. Apparently, after decades of ideological despotism, people in the Soviet Union are willing to let it - and one day perhaps not only it - live and apply. The Soviet citizens can now openly call him "our Stravinsky". Is that much? It's already a lot today. D. Z.