K85 Greeting Prelude*
for the eightieth birthday of Pierre Monteux – Begrüßungs[Gruß]-Präludium** zum achtzigsten Geburtstag von Pierre Monteux – Prélude du salut [de la salutation] composé pour le 80ème anniversaire de Pierre Monteux – Preludio di Saluto per l’ottantesimo compleanno di Pierre Monteux
* The plural version ‘Greetings Prelude’, which appeared in the publishers’ advertisements in 1965 is clearly an error.
** Sometimes the German rendering and the original English title do not correspond.
Scored for: : a) First edition: Piccolo, 2 Flauti, 2 Oboi, 2 Clarinetti in Do, 2 Fagotti, Contrafagotto, 4 Corni in Fa, 2 Trombe in Do, 3 Tromboni, Tuba, Timpani, Gran Cassa, Pianoforte, Archi [Piccolo Flute, 2 Flutes, 2 Oboes, 2 Clarinets in C, 2 Bassoons, Contrabassoon, 4 Horns in F, 2 Trumpets in C, 3 Trombones, Tuba, Timpani, Big drum, Pianoforte, Strings]; b) Performance requirements: Piccolo Flute, 2 Flutes, 2 Oboes, 2 Clarinets in C, 2 Bassoons, Contrabassoon, 4 Horns in F, 2 Trumpets in C, 2 Tenor Trombones, Bass trombone, Tuba, Timpani, Big drum, Pianoforte, Strings** (First Violins, Second Violins, Violas, Violoncellos, Double basses).
* Both the orchestral legend and the full score prescribe kettle drums (plural); since the kettle drums are to sound the G only, there is really only one drum required for the performance.
** Not divided.
Source: Greeting Prelude is composed on the popular melody by Mildred J. Hill and the text of ‘Happy birthday to you’ by Robert H. Coleman (in Strawinskys work not sung).
Construction: There is a proportionally balanced A-B-A1 structure with a tutti -orchestra section A (bars 1-10), a trio interlude B (bars 11-21) played by bassoons, tuba and strings, and a repetition of the tutti section A, altered mainly in the string parts, A1 (bars 22-32).
32 bars minim = 102
Style: Compositionally, the work is made up from a tenor, who sings the folk melody, to which contrapuntal parts are added in canonic form, constructed using variation, augmentation, diminution and all other contrapuntal processes. Mixed in with this are also classical formal elements of the most varied sort. Their pictorial interpretation or, more carefully expressed, the possibility of this is, as always with Stravinsky, simultaneously a moment of outburst in a structure that is stationary in itself, which can stand for itself, but as a result, also allows an extramusical interpretation. To regard instruments and keys as persons and to ascribe to them actions, to sound a farewell to a living or dead person individually or in groups has been a popular compositional form element since baroque times. Strawinsky used it in his ‘Greeting to Monteux’ where he depicts most graphically by musical means the events at a birthday reception where people do not stand orderly in line waiting to speak a few well-turned congratulary phrases but there is a chaos of many strong and less strong personalities, some rather shy and retiring, some pushing ahead importantly (horns) and occupying the birthday child’s attention whereas other, waiting, make feeble efforts to have ‘their turn’ some time until they, feeling superfluous and disturbed by the ‘important’ people, have their say as quickly as possible (strings). Strawinsky spread in this birthday music all his wit for which he is known. Part of a ballet or pantomime, the greeting prelude could have become one of those very fine miniatures we have come to know from Petrouchka, ideal for choregraphers and open to interpretation – because composed in a perfectly harmonious way.
The greeting groups, which enter together, are the brass, the woodwinds and the strings, while the piano is assigned to each of these variously. The horns, introduced by tuba and trombones, are the “serious ones”, who complacently dominate the entire A section and “wipe” aside the strings as they enter on two occasions. The piano submissively joins company with the orchestral primadonnas, the horns, with strongly accented bass notes. The woodwind only have their say from time to time, because the horns do not make space for them. The trumpets and trombones gain their independence after a while, and simply blow in between. For the worthy bassoon and the tuba, their time comes in the middle section. They present their best wishes academically and correctly, but very stiffly, and then retreat, as one should, in order to make space for others. In the meantime, no one has dared to disturb them; on the contrary, the strings politely give them priority and underline what has been said, with the 2nd violins playing the greeting theme backwards - i.e., they make room for others - and with the violas memorising in their own way. When they have even believed that they might finally express their good wishes in a proper fashion, they appear perplexed as the weighty horns have returned and again monopolize the attention of the master of the house, once again relating what they have already been telling him at length. It is now the strings, to judge from the score, who finally lose patience. As they can no longer see any possibility of stating their good wishes in an ordered fashion, they simply play across the horn sound with fast fortissimo version of the main theme three times with an equalised rhythm, jerkily and starkly accented. Now the horns have understood and stay quiet so that the strings might at least state the final phrases in a sedate fashion.
Dedication: The dedication is part of the main title.
Duration: 0’ 49”.
Date of origin: Hollywood February 1955.
First performance: 4th April 1955 in Boston, Boston Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Charles Munch.
Remarks: When Strawinsky gave the first entry during a rehearsal in Aspen, the orchestra did not play as expected the first notes of Tchaikovsky’s 2nd Symphony but instead intoned a flourish, which on account of its suddenness was like a shock to him. – A member of the orchestra had become a father and the musicians congratulated him by playing Summy’s melody. Strawinsky could not get over the experience of having been torn out of his expectant mood, which was getting ready for the pained strains of Tchaikovsky’s music into a wholly other by this rather silly melody. He began his canonic exposition of the Summy theme after he had been invited to compose a fanfare for a music festival in North Carolina. The project did not materialise. When, however, the birthday of Pierre Monteux drew near, who had conducted both the world premières of Pétrouchka’ and Sacre, and Charles Munch approached Strawinsky in February 1955 about a birthday piece for him, Strawinsky had the idea of composing for him a kind of singing or sounding telegram. He completed the piece, entitling it ‘Greeting Prelude’*.
* One year later, on his own 75th birthday, he was to receive a similar present when Herbert Eimert, founder of the first electronic studio, sent him a composition entitled Zu Ehren von Igor Strawinsky (‘In Honour of Igor Strawinsky’). This had been the first attempt to derive sounds from the spectrum of the speaking voice only and to process them electronically, in the present case to let the words ‘Zu Ehren von Igor Strawinsky’ be spectrally split in accordance with different mathematically defined time sequences in a continuous up and down ‘movement’ and at the very end reunite the sounds again to make an intelligible sentence. Eimert called the piece a ‘sounding birthday garland’. Strawinsky thanked Eimert in written form for the piece.
Versions : The full score of Greeting Prelude was published by Boosey & Hawkes in January 1956. Further editions were not published during Strawinsky’s lifetime. Strawinsky received his copy within the month of publication, January 1956. The contract with Boosey & Hawkes was concluded on 7th April 1955.
Historical Recording: New York City , 17th December 1963, Columbia Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Igor Strawinsky.
CD edition: VI/1.
Autograph: The sketches and short score are in the Paul Sacher Stiftung in Basel.
Copyright: 1956 by Boosey & Hawkes, Inc., New York.
85-1 1956 FuSc; Boosey & Hawkes London; 5 p.; B. & H. 18139.
85-1  ibd.
b) Characteristic features
85-1 igor strawinsky / greeting prelude / for the eightieth birthday of/ pierre monteux / full score/ boosey & hawkes // Igor Strawinsky / Greeting Prelude / for the eightieth birthday of/ Pierre Monteux / 1955/ Full Score/ Boosey & Hawkes / London · Paris · Bonn · Capetown · Sydney · Toronto · Buenos Aires · New York // (Full score sewn in red 23.5 x 30.9 (2°[4°]); 5  pages + 4 cover pages brown-red on green-beige [front cover title, 2 empty pages, page with publisher’s advertisements > Igor Strawinsky<* production data >No. 693< [#] >12.53<] + 2 pages front matter [title page, legend >Orchestra< Italian + duration data English >c. 45 seconds< with English-French-German > Duration: Durée: Spieldauer:< headline + plate number] + 1 page back matter [page with publisher’s advertisements > Igor Strawinsky<** production data >No. 692< [#] >12.53<]; title head >Greeting Prelude / for the 80th birthday / of Pierre Monteux<; author specified 1st page of the score paginated p. 1 above and below 3. line title head flush right centred >IGOR STRAWINSKY / 1955<; legal reservations 1st page of the score below type area flush right >All rights of Reproduction in any form reserved< / flush left >"Happy Birthday to you" is used by kind permission of Keith Prowse & Co.Ltd., London, and Clayton F. Summy Co., Chicago. / Copyright © 1956 by Boosey & Hawkes, Inc., New York<; production indication 1st page of the score below type area centre inside right >Printed in England<; plate number >B. & H. 18139<; end number p. 5 flush right >1. 56. E.<) // (1956)
* Compositions are advertised in two columns without edition numbers and without price information in part multilingual >Pocket Scores° / Partitions de Poche · Taschenpartituren° / Apollon Musagète / Le Baiser de la Fée ( The Fairy’s Kiss) / Cantata / Capriccio for Piano and Orchestra/ Le Chant du Rossignol ( The Song of the / Nightingale) / Concerto in D for String Orchestra/ Divertimento / Messe°° / Octet for Wind Instruments / Oedipus Rex / Orpheus / Perséphone / Pétrouchka / Pulcinella Suite/ Four Studies for Orchestra / Quatre Etudes pour Orchestre / Vier Etüden für Orchester / Le Sacre du Primtemps°° ( The Rite of Spring) / Septet 1953 / Symphonie de Psaumes / Symphony of Psalms / Psalmensymphonie / Symphonies pour instruments à vents°° / Symphonies of Wind Instruments / Symphonien für Blasinstrumente / Piano Solo° / Piano Seul · Klavier zweihändig° / Apollon Musagète / Le Baiser de la Fée ( The Fairy’s Kiss) / Le Chant du Rossignol / ( The Song of the Nightingale) / Marche Chinoise de ”°° Chant du Rossignol ” / Mavra Overture°° / Octet for Wind Instruments ( arr. A. Lourié ) / Orpheus ( arr. L. Spinner) / Serenade en la / Sonate / Symphonies pour instruments à vents<°° / Trois Mouvements de “ Pétrouchka ” / Piano Duets° / Piano à Quatre Mains · Klavier vierhändig° / Pétrouchka / Le Sacre du Printemps ( The Rite of Spring) / Two Pianos° / Deux Pianos · Zwei Klaviere° / Capriccio for Piano and Orchestra/ Concerto / Madrid / Septet 1953 / Trois Mouvements de “ Pétrouchka ” ( Babin) // Violin and Piano° / Violon et Piano · Violine und Klavier° / Airs du Rossignol and Marche Chinoise ( Le/ Chant du Rossignol) / Ballad ( Le Baiser de la Fée) / Divertimento ( Le Baiser de la Fée) / Duo Concertant / Danse Russe ( Pétrouchka) / Russian Maiden’s Song / Suite after Pergolesi / Violoncello and Piano° / Violoncelle et Piano · Violoncello und Klavier° / Suite italienne ( Piatigorsky) / Russian Maiden’s Song ( Markevitch) / Chamber Music° / Musique de Chambre · Kammermusik° / Octet for Wind Instruments / Septet 1953 / Three pieces for String Quartet/ Vocal Scores° / Partitions Chant et Piano · Klavierauszüge° / Cantata / Le Rossignol / Mavra / Messe°° / Oedipus Rex / Perséphone / Symphonie de Psaumes / The Rake’s Progress / Voice and Piano° / Chant et Piano · Gesang und Klavier° / The Mother’s Song ( Mavra) / Le Rossignol / Introduction . Chant du Pedieur°° . Air du Rossignol / Paracha’s Song ( Mavra) / Russian Maiden’s Song / Two Poems of Balmont / Blue Forget-me-not . The Dove / Trois Poésies de la lyrique japonaise / Akahito . Mazatzuum°° . Tsarajuki°° / Trois petites chansons / La petite . Le Corbeau . Tchitcher-tatcher / Choral Music° / Musique Chorale · Chormusik° / Ave Maria ( Latin) S.A.T.B. a cappella/ Pater noster ( Latin) S.A.T.B. a cappella/ Credo ( Latin) S.A.T.B. a cappella< [° centre; °° original spelling]. After London the following places of printing are listed: Paris-Bonn-Capetown-Sydney-Toronto-Buenos Aires-New York.
** Compositions are advertised in two columns without edition numbers and without price information in part multilingual and (randomly) assigned to genres >Stage Works° / Oeuvres Théatrales · Bühnenwerke° / The Rake’s Progress [#] Le Rossignol / Le Libertin Der Wüstling [#] The Nightingale Die Nachtigall / Opera in three acts Opéra en trois actes [#] Musical tale in three acts after Anderson°° / Oper in drei Akten [#] Conte lyrique en trois actes d’apres Anderson°° / [#] Lyrisches Märchen in drei Akten nach Anderson°° / Mavra [#] Oedipus Rex / Opera buffa in one act after Pushkin [#] Opera - Oratorio in two acts after Sophocles / Opéra Buffe en un acte d’apres Pushkin [#] Opéra – Oratorio en deux actes d’apres Sophocle / Oper°° Buffa°° in einem Akt nach Puschkin [#] Opern - Oratorium in zwei Akten nach Sophokles / Persephone [#] Pétrouchka / Melodrama in three parts by André Gide [#] Burlesque in four scenes / Melodramé°° en trois parties d’Andre°° Gide [#] Burlesque en quatre tableaux / Melodrama in drei Teilen von André Gide [#] Burleska°° in vier Bildern / Le Sacre du Printemps [#] Le Chant du Rossignol / The Rite of Spring [#] The Song of the Nightingale / Pictures from pagan Russia in two parts [#] Symphonic poem in three acts / Tableaux de la Russie paienne en deux parties [#] Poème symphonique en trois parties / Bilder aus dem heidnischen Russland in zwei Teilen [#] Symphonische Dichtung in drei Teilen / Pulcinella [#] Apollon Musagète / Ballet with chorus in one act after Pergolesi [#] Ballet in two scenes / Ballet avec chant en un acte d’apres Pergolesi [#] Ballet en deux tableaux / Ballett with Chor in einem Akt nach Pergolesi [#] Ballett in zwei Bildern / Le Baiser de la Fée [#] Orpheus / Ballet - Allegory in two scenes [#] Ballet in thre scenes / Ballet - Allégorie en deux tableaux [#] Ballet en trois tableaux / Ballet°° - Allegorie in zwei Bildern [#] Ballett in drei Bildern / Symphonic Works° / Oeuvres Symphoniques · Symphonische Werke° / Pétrouchka Suite [#] Apollon Musagète / Pulcinella Suite[#] Symphonies pour°° instruments a°° vents°° / Le Sacre du Printemps [#] Symphonies of Wind Instruments / The Rite of Spring [#] Symphonien für Bläsinsrumente°° / Le Chant du Rossignol [#] Piano Concerto / The Song of the Nightingale [#] Capriccio / Divertimento [#] Quatre Etudes°° pour Orchestra°°/ Orpheus [#] Four Studies for Orchestra/ Symphonie de Psaumes [#] Vier Etüden für Orchester/ Symphony of Psalms [#] Concerto in D ( Basle Concerto) / Psalmensymphonie [#] Messe°° / Voice and Orchestra° / Chant et Orchestre · Gesang und Orchester° / Trois poésies de la Lyrique japonaise [#] Chant du Rossignol (tiré du “Rossignol”) / Three japanese Poems [#] The Nightingale’s Song (from “The Nightingale”) / Trois petites chansons [#] Mephistopheles Lied vom Floh / Three little Songs [#] The Song of the Flea / Two Songs (Paul Verlaine)° / Sagesse · Sleep · Ein dusterer°° Schlummer° / La bonne Chanson · A Moonlight Pallid · Glimmernder mondschein°°+°< [° centre; °° original spelling; in the opposite column slightly displaced between >Mavra< and the >Burlesque in four scenes<, likewise there is a dislocated line spacing after >Apollon Musagète< in the section for Symphonic Works]. After London the following places of printing are listed: Paris-Bonn-Capetown-Sydney-Toronto-Buenos Aires-New York.
85-1 igor stravinsky / greeting prelude / for the eightieth birthday of/ pierre monteux / full score/ boosey & hawkes // Igor Stravinsky / Greeting Prelude / for the eightieth birthday of/ Pierre Monteux / 1955/ Full Score/ Boosey & Hawkes / London · Paris · Bonn · Capetown · Sydney · Toronto · Buenos Aires · New York // (Full score [library binding] 23.5 x 31.1 (2° [4°]); 5  pages + 4 cover pages tomato-red on green-beige [front cover title, 2 empty pages, page with publisher’s advertisements >Igor Stravinsky<* production data >No. 40< [#] >7.65<] + 2 pages front matter [title page, legend >Orchestra< Italian + duration data English >c. 45 seconds< with English-French-German > Duration: Durée: Spieldauer:< headline + plate number centre centred] + 1 page back matter [empty page]; title head >Greeting Prelude / for the 80th birthday / of Pierre Monteux<; author specified 1st page of the score paginated p. 1 next to belowe line title head flush right centred >IGOR STRAWINSKY / 1955<; legal reservations 1st page of the score next to title head flush left in the text box contained >IMPORTANT NOTICE / The unauthorized copying / of the whole or any part of / this publication is illegal< below type area flush right >All rights of Reproduction in any form reserved< / flush left >"Happy Birthday to you" is used by kind permission of Keith Prowse & Co.Ltd., London, and Clayton F. Summy Co., Chicago. / Copyright © 1956 by Boosey & Hawkes, Inc., New York<; production indication 1st page of the score below type area centre inside right >Printed in England<; plate number >B. & H. 18139<; without end marks) // 
* Compositions are advertised in two columns without edition numbers, without price information 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.
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