KN14 Souvenir d’une Marche Boche 
Title: As Strawinsky said nothing about the piece, one can only speculate about the title and the conception of the work. The linguistic form Souvenir d’une is unusual to say the least. A French person would generally prefer Souvenir de. The matter is dependent on whether Strawinsky wanted to differentiate by means of the language between the German March in itself (de) and a specific March (d’une), or whether his knowledge of the French language was too small for him to appreciate these grammatical peculiarities. The word “Boche” was a French swear word for the Germans at that time meaning ‘blockhead’, and had not even a slightly friendly connotation in the mind of a Private.
Style: the piano writing in this short piece in three sections has both hands in the bass register, and appears to allude in the middle section to the March movement from Beethoven’s Piano Sonata, Op. 111. In any case, the title does not make reference to a specific, known German Military March. Many different sorts of references can be derived from the figuration in the middle section with its stamping bass notes.
Remarks: At the beginning of 1916, Edith Wharton in New York published a volume in support of American war victims, to which numerous American and French artists were invited, who delivered contributions that had not been taken from other sources and were artistically individual. The anthology was named The Book of the Homeless – Le Livre des Sans-Foyer and was published in London by Macmillan & Co. Strawinsky contributed a Souvenir d’une Marche Boche, which was printed in the form of a four-page autotype of the manuscript on pp. 52 to 54 under the title in capital letters MUSICAL SCORE / IGOR STRAVINSKY / SOUVENIR D’UNE MARCHE BOCHE. In the four-page preface beginning on p.48, there is a portrait of Strawinsky according to a study in oil by Jack-Émile Blanche. There was never an engraved publication of the March, which is regarded in the Strawinsky literature as inconsequential and is catalogued with the date of completion as Morges, 1 Sept. 1915. Strawinsky was clearly not interested in having the work printed. The publishing house Boosey & Hawkes issued a reprinting in 1997 after Strawinsky’s death as part of an 11-page anthology Stravinsky for piano. A collection of miniatures and arrangements for piano solo and duet (plate number: 10631); it was the first piece and appeared on pp. 2–3, putting the 1916 facsimile of the 1915 manuscript into print. The autograph score is located in the Library of Congress in Washington.
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