K32 Piano-Rag music
Title: In all the historical printed versions, the title appears as ‘Piano-Rag music’, as well as ‘Piano-Rag-Music’ and ‘Piano-Rag Music’. The title may stem from the knowledge of rag music acquired by the Ansermet-Strawinsky circle and with title, he hoped to cause works of the same genre to be written, but he was unsuccessful.
Scored for: There is no version for any other instrument, ensemble or for orchestra, and one was never planned.
Performance practice: In spite of the constant meter that is kept throughout the work, the piece does not have a mechanistic character but should be played agogically in the usual manner for Strawinsky.
Construction: The work is in one movement in two parts with changing metre but the same tempo throughout, crochet = 144. The extended sections, in the manner of cadenzas and written without bar lines, are not included in the bar numbering [82 bars + the section without bar lines, which is 125 quavers in length + 4 bars (10 quavers in duration) + the section without bar lines, which is 22 quavers in length + 4 bars (10 quavers in duration) + the section without bar lines, which is 144 quavers in length + 25 bars + the section without bar lines, which is 27 bars in length]. The Piano-Rag-Music begins with a nine-bar introduction which is itself in three parts, consisting of 4 + 3 + 2 bars; from this, Strawinsky derives the motific and rhythmic elements of the entire work, which is divided into two parts, one of which is metrically structured and the other without bar lines. The bars of the introduction are not so much an introduction as an exposition of the material. Each successive bar has a new meaning in the construction of the work, and can be defined according to the degree of its derivation from the introductory bars.
see Construction (above)
Style: The Piano-Rag-Music distances itself from the rhythmic clarity of the corresponding sections in the Histoire du Soldat and in Ragtime, and thus polarises more strongly the genre-specific contrast between figured and improvised material which is constructed using the same compositional means as one of Strawinsky’s classic compositions. Furthermore, the Piano-Rag-Music is Strawinsky’s only composition which hints at an open form, something which was accepted in serial music in Cologne after 1952. The work has no end, but just stops. The second section is constructed in an improvisatory manner and was presumably also conceived in an improvisatory manner, for which reason it has no bar lines; it continues with an arbitrary framework and, in this way, contrasts with the defined parts of the montage of the first section. The work gains colour by the change in register, which reaches across the different registers, and the inner tension is achieved by means of chromatic overlapping. The metrically detached chordal blocks are intermingled with the quasi-improvisatory sections of the second part, with their stiff chordal central points and inserted accompanying melodic flourishes, and thus define the different sections. The repeated bars appear with minimal alterations and turn in on themselves kaleidoscopically. The image is of a diverse number of montages which could always be spun out further, and with it the open end of the Piano-Rag-Music is formally logical.
Dedication: >dédié à Arthur Rubinstein< [dedicated to Arthur Rubinstein].
Duration: 3' 07".
Date of origin: It was started in February 1918 in Morges and, after a yearlong interruption, was completed on 28th June 1919. At the end of a neat copy Strawinsky noted centred in black >Morges / 1919 / 28 Juin à midi / Igor Strawinsky< and below in justified text with pencil >Les cloches de l’eglise sonnesant / midi; à 3 heures j’entensais les canons / à la frontoire qui teneraint la signa- / ture de la paix à Versail<.
History of origin: On 23rd March 1918, Strawinsky sent a telegram to Eugenia Errazuriz in which he sincerely thanked her for the commission for which Arthur Rubinstein had presumably approached him via his benefactor. Strawinsky promised the composition of a meaningful piano work expressly for Rubinstein and, at the same time, announced that he would send a Ragtime which he had composed for Frau Errazuriz. Strawinsky had obviously begun to work on sketches before the commission had been received, from which the piano music was later developed for Rubinstein. Strawinsky sketched the first plans for the Piano-Rag-Music, a rough version of the introduction, directly after 5th February 1918, but then left the work for more than a year, finally returning to it in March 1919. He finished the introduction shortly before the completion of the entire piece, as was his custom, as well as the finalised rhythm of bars 10-13 and 15-17, as Craft has demonstrated. After the bars of the introduction, written in the previous year, he recommenced his work with bars 20-32. He obviously originally considered a part for percussion (cymbals, 3 different high drums without snares, and bass drum), as can be seen from the sketches. The composition of the Piano-Rag-Music is connected with that of the Ragtime. Here, as in that piece, the sketches were considerable (for the Piano-Rag-Music alone, there are 33 pages). Strawinsky planned several sections each inside the other, from which he derived his music and of which he did not use all the material for the final score. Work was completed on 28th June 1919. The original copy, which remains in his estate, bears the date >Morges / 1919 / 28 juin à midi / Igor Strawinsky<. On 23rd July, he asked Ernest Ansermet to show the work to the Chester representative, Otto Kling.
First performance: 8th November 1919, Konservatorium Lausanne, José Iturbi, Piano.
Remarks: The Piano-Rag-Music was a commission from the pianist Arthur Rubinstein (although it is not acknowledged as such); he never played the work, which was not necessarily for artistic reasons. Rubinstein had already commissioned Strawinsky for a composition, requesting a transcription from the ballet Petrushka (which was very well paid). Despite Rubinstein’s memoirs, little is known about the background of the second commission. Craft, who seemed to regard Rubinstein rather critically, disapproved of the fact that he had never played the music which he so highly prized himself. According to Craft, he would complicate relations between them. Rubinstein had sent a telegraph to Strawinsky from London on 15th October 1919 asking him for the exclusive rights for a year, an offer which was standard and justified if Rubinstein had in fact commissioned this music and indeed paid for it. Strawinsky sent a telegraph back on the same day. He probably did not mention the matter of the exclusive rights at all because the première in Lausanne had long been agreed; rather he shared with the pianist that he had already sent the manuscript to New York and he would get a copy in London by the Chester publishing house. The Piano-Rag-Music was clearly published in the second half of the year 1920. Craft claimed that Rubinstein did not understand the music and therefore did not play it. If he had however commissioned such a composition from Strawinsky but had not been allowed the limited right to perform the première at that time, then there may probably have been other crucial reasons for it being held back. In any case, it is strange that Rubinstein did not even perform the première, even if one implies that the Piano-Rag-Music was a long way from his expectations, which in Rubinstein’s case were conservative. He had obviously learnt of the work’s completion from other people and not from Strawinsky while it was in the hands of Chester in London, a fact which probably touched a nerve and put friendships under a certain amount of strain. In fact, Ansermet was the first person to see the new work and not Rubinstein nor even the publisher Otto Kling, to whom it was shown by Ansermet, according to a letter of Strawinsky of 23rd July 1919.
Significance: The Piano-Rag-Music held a certain topicality as a historical first work with an open form. Several moments in the form can be found later in the neo-classical Piano Sonata.
Versions: The Piano-Rag-Music was published by the end of September 1920 at the latest by Chester in a fairly large-sized edition. The copy in the London library bears the date 23rd September 1920. A subsequent edition in the Chester library, which is almost impossible to date from the copy and which has a decorative page-size picture of the Chester lyre, went back from folio to quart and added the price in French (4.50 Francs) to the English price (3 Shillings). The work was printed in this form for over a quarter of a century until after the Second World War, and contained appropriate advertising on the empty pages; in any case, the older stored editions were modernised with Chester advertising. Likewise, there was an edition in the Chester library bearing a Chester lyre and the price in English currency. This version was also sold after the Second World War. In addition, there was a further edition after the War with the famous Chester advertising which hailed the accomplishments of the publishers that they had had Strawinsky on their books for more than twenty-five years; this was made into a Chester edition from the Chester library. The editions after the War were unbound, and were later stapled. The version printed in Moscow of 1968 included the work in a two-volume edition of piano works without acknowledging the original publishers. An attempt to orchestrate the Piano-Rag-Music was not implemented and is dated >IStrawinsky / New York / 6 thof Febr. 37<.
Historical Record: Paris 5th July 1934, Studio Albert, Igor Strawinsky, Piano.
CD edition: VII-2/14.
Autograph: Of the two neat copies of the Piano-Rag-Music, one is owned by the publishers J. & W. Chester in London and the other, with a dedication to Arthur Rubinstein, went from Strawinsky’s estate into the Paul Sacher Stiftung in Basel, where the other sketches are also to be found.
Copyright: 1920 by J. & W. Chester in London.
32-1 1920; J. & W. Chester London; 10 pp.; Pl.-Nr. J. W. C. 2061.
32-1Straw ibd. [with annotations].
32-2 ; Chester London; 10 pp.; J. W. C. 2061.
32-3 Chester London; 8 pp.; J. W. C. 2061.
32-4 Chester; 8 pp.; J.W.C. 2061.
32-5Alb 1968; Editions Musique Moscou; 7 pp.; 5064.
b) Characteristic features
32-1 IGOR STRAWINSKY/ PIANO RAG - MUSIC/ DÉDIÈ À/ ARTHUR RUBINSTEIN / (1919)/ PRIX: 3/_ NET / J. & W. CHESTER, LTD. [#] SEULS DEPOSITAIRES POUR LA FRANCE / [#] ROUART, LEROLLE & C IE . / LONDON: [#] / [#] 29 RUE D'ASTORG, PARIS. / 11, GREAT MARLBOROUGH STREET, W.-1. [#] / [#] SEULS DEPOSITAIRES POUR LA BELGIQUE / GENÈVE: [#] / [#] MAISON CHESTER / 9-11 PLACE DE LA FUSTERIE [#] / [#] 86 RUE DE LA MONTAGNE, BRUXELLES. / DÉPOSÉ SELON LES TRAITÉS INTERNATIONAUX. / PROPRIÉTÉ POUR TOUS LES PAYS. / TOUS DROITS DE TRADUCTION DE REPRODUCTION ET / D'ARRANGEMENTS RÉSERVÉS. // IGOR STRAWINSKY/ PIANO RAG - MUSIC/ DÉDIÈ À/ ARTHUR RUBINSTEIN / (1919)/ PRIX: 3/_ NET / J. & W. CHESTER, LTD. [#] SEULS DEPOSITAIRES POUR LA FRANCE / [#] ROUART, LEROLLE & C IE . / LONDON: [#] / [#] 29 RUE D'ASTORG, PARIS. / 11, GREAT MARLBOROUGH STREET, W.-1 [#] / [#] SEULS DEPOSITAIRES POUR LA BELGIQUE / GENÈVE: [#] / [#] MAISON CHESTER / 9-11 PLACE DE LA FUSTERIE [#] / [#] 86 RUE DE LA MONTAGNE, BRUXELLES. / DÉPOSÉ SELON LES TRAITÉS INTERNATIONAUX. / PROPRIÉTÉ POUR TOUS LES PAYS. / TOUS DROITS DE TRADUCTION DE REPRODUCTION ET / D'ARRANGEMENTS RÉSERVÉS. / ENGRAVED & PRINTED BY C. G. RÖDER, LEIPZIG. // ( Piano edition stapled 26.5 x 33.2 (2° [4°]); 10  pages + 4 cover pages thicker paper black on creme [front cover title, 3 empty pages] + 2 pages front matter [title page, empty page] + 2 pages back matter [2 empty pages]; title head >Piano-Rag-music.<; dedication 1. page of the score paginated p. 3 above title head >dédié à Arthur Rubinstein.<; author specified 1. page of the score below Titel flush right centred >Igor Strawinsky. / Juin 1919.<; legal reservations 1. page of the score below type area flush left >Copyright 1920 by J. & W. Chester Ltd.< flush right partly in italics >Tous droits réservés. / All Rights reserved<; plate number: J. W. C. 2061; without end mark) // (1920)
Strawinsk’s copy from his estate contains fingerings, but no corrections.
32-2 CHESTER / LIBRARY / IGOR STRAWINSKY / PIANO-RAG-MUSIC / PRICE 3/- (Frs. 4.50) NET. / J. & W. CHESTER L TD // IGOR STRAWINSKY / PIANO-RAG-MUSIC / J. & W. CHESTER, LTD., / LONDON: II, GREAT MARLBOROUGH STREET, W. I. / SEULS DÉPOSITAIRES POUR LA FRANCE. [#*] SEULS DÉPOSITAIRES POUR LA BELGIQUE. / ROUART, LEROLLE & CIE., [#*] LES EDITIONS MODERNES. / 29, RUE D'ASTORG, [#*] 86, RUE DE LA MONTAGNE. / PARIS. [#*] BRUXELLES. // (Piano edition [library binding] 23 x 28.9 (4° [Lex 8°]); 10  pages + 4 cover pages black on (fibered) green beige [ornamental front cover title in full-page Chester Lyre , 2 empty pages, page with publisher’s advertisements > ŒUVRES DE/ IGOR STRAWINSKY / PUBLIÉÉS PAR / J. & W. CHESTER, Ltd., LONDRES.<* without production data] + 2 pages front matter [ornamental title page framed flower design (flower tendrils) with separate composer name and work title surrounded by a coat of arms black on white with (presumably) the artist’s signature >H J M< # >1922< entered left and flush right at the bottom of the frame, empty page] + 2 pages back matter [2 empty pages]; title head >Piano–Rag–music<; dedication above title head centre >dédié à Arthur Rubinstein.<; author specified 1. page of the score paginated p. 3 below title head flush right centred >Igor Strawinsky. / Juin 1919.<; legal reservations 1. page of the score below type area flush left >Copyright 1920 by J. & W. Chester Ltd.< flush right >Tous droits réservés. / All Rights reserved.<; plate number >J. W. C. 2061<; without end marks) // [1925***]
* An ornamental dividing line spanning four lines vertically.
** All works for sale with Chester are advertised in alphabetical order with edition and net price as well as with self-arrangements by Strawinsky marked in bold type behind fill character (dots in groups of three > Berceuses du chat,suite de chants pour voix de femme et trois clarinettes: / Partition d’ensemble° 6/- / Parties° 6/- / Réduction pour chant et piano par l’auteur*° 2/- / BERCEUSE ET FINALE (“ L’Oiseau de Feu ”): / Arrangement pour orgue de Mausice Besly° 2/- / CHANT DES BATELIERS SUR LE VOLGA, pour instruments à vent: / Partition et parties° 5/-/ LES CINQ DOIGTS, huit pièces faciles pour piano° 3/- / CINQ PIECES°° FACILES pour piano à quatre mains (main droite facile)° 3/- / ), L’HISTOIRE DU SOLDAT, grande suite: / Arrangement pour piano par l’auteur*° 10/- / Suite pour clarinette, violon et piano, arrangement par l’auteur*° 20/- / LES NOCES, scènes chorégraphiques russes avec chant: / Réduction pour piano et chant par l’auteur*° 20/- / L’OISEAU DE FEU, nouvelle suite pour orchestre moyen: / Partition° 40/- / Parties° 50/- / PIANO RAG MUSIC pour piano seul° 3/- / PRIBAOUTKI, chansons plaisantes pour une voix et huit instruments: Partition° 8/- / Parties° 10/- / Réduction pour chant et piano par l’auteur*° 4/- / PULCINELLA, ballet d’après Pergolesi: / Réduction pour piano par l’auteur*° 15/- / QUATRE CHANTS RUSSES, chant et piano° 3/- / RAG-TIME pour petit orchestre: / Partition° 7/- / Réduction pour piano par l’auteur*° 4/- / RENARD, Histoire burlesque en un acte: / Réduction pour piano et chant par l’auteur*° 15/- / RONDE DES PRINCESSES (“ L’Oiseau de Feu ”): / Arrangement pour orgue de Mausice Besly° 2/- / TROIS HISTOIRES POUR ENFANTS, chant et piano° 2/6 / TROIS PIÈCES°° FACILES pour piano à quatre mains (main gauche facile)° 2/6 / TROIS PIÈCES pour clarinette seul° 3/- [°fill character (dots in groups of three; °° original spelling; * bold print].
*** According to Bayerische Staatsbibliothek >2 Mus.pr. 8186<.
32-5 Alb Stravinsky* / И. СТРАВИНСКИЙ // IGOR STRAVINSKY / ŒUVRES POUR PIANO / VOLUME / I / EDITIONS MUSIQUE MOSCOU · 1968 // ИГОРЬ СТРАВИНСКИЙ / СОЧИНЕНИЯ ДЛЯ ФОРТЕПИАНО / ТОМ / I / ИЗДАТЕЛЬСТВО МУЗЫКА · МОСКВА · 1968 // [Text on spine:] ИГОРЬ СТРАВИНСКИЙ 1° СОЧИНЕНИЯ ДЛЯ ФОРТЕПИАНО // (Album 1.6 x 22 [22.3] x 28.9 [29,4] [Lex 8°]; 143  pages + 4 pages bound in imitation leather [front cover title black on cream white, 2 empty pages red, empty page cream] + 8 pages front matter (including binding sides) [empty page red, empty page white, whole-page portrait of the young Strawinsky facing left, 2 empty pages, title page French, title page Russian, editors specified Russian >Составлние и редакция / А. КОНДРАТЬЕВА и К. СОРОКИНА< French >Complétés et rédigés par / A. KONDRATJEV et K. SOROKINE<] + 7 pages backmatter (included binding sides) [page with annotation >ПРИМЕЧАНИЯ< with notes about the genesis of the work and dedications Russian, index >СОДЕРЖАНИЕ< Russian, imprint Russian >Индекс 9-4-4< with billing of names >Редактор А. Бакулов/ Художник В. Антипов/ Худож .редактор Г. Христиани/ Техн. редактор В. Кичороская< and itemized statements of format and origin, 3 empty pages, empty page red]; reprint pp. 29-36; title head [exclusively] English >PIANO-RAG-MUSIC<; plate number >5064<; without author specified, legal reservations and acknowledging the original publishers on the pages of the score, without end marks) // 1968
° Vertical to text.
* A n imprinted, stylized signature risen up in grey-black on black with a first letter the size of the entire page.
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