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STRAVINSKY, Igor.

Inscribed original portrait photograph.

Hollywood: 1960 Stock Code: 121805
£1,850.00
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Fine candid portrait with an enticing provenance

Fine "unguarded" photograph of the great Russian composer, captured by Columbia Records chief engineer and amateur photographer Fred Plaut (1907-1985). Inscribed by Stravinsky in ballpoint pen: "To Jack Gottlieb my best greetings, sincerely I. Stravinsky, Hollywood Feb. 1960". Jack Gottlieb (1930-2011) was a composer and musician "who wished to be remembered first for his own music. But it was as assistant to the composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein that he made the greatest impact, and, at his last public appearance - at the Library of Congress in Washington - he admitted wryly that Bernstein, who died in 1990, was still part of his DNA. His book Working with Bernstein 2010 is by far the most valuable Bernstein memoir and will surely remain so, both for its candour and its musical insights" (The Guardian obituary, 4 May 2011). In February 1960 Bernstein was at the Columbia studios in New York committing to disc his first Mahler recording, the 4th or "Pastoral", with the New York Philharmonic. That same month (on 12, 15 and 17 February) Stravinsky was in the same 30th Street studio conducting the 1946 revised orchestration of Petrushka with the Columbia Symphony Orchestra.

Stravinsky had settled in Hollywood in 1940, soon after his arrival in the United States. The German-born photographer, Fred Plaut, arrived in America in the same year, from Paris. He became the award-winning chief engineer for Columbia Records and oversaw the majority of the Columbia Masterworks series; he was also a fine amateur photographer and this memorable image - Stravinsky is pictured seated, in open-neck shirt and dark cardigan, with cigarette holder poised "Russian-style" between thumb and forefinger - may have been taken while the composer was listening to a playback in the studio: It was used on the cover of L'Histoire du Soldat Suite, Octet for Wind Instruments and Symphonies of Wind Instruments (Columbia Masterworks) conducted by Stravinsky and released in 1955.

A very appealing candid portrait with an attractive provenance.

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Description

6 x 4 inch (152 x 102 mm) photograph by Fred Plaut.

Condition

Irregularly trimmed at top, professional repair to short closed-tear into right margin, old tape neatly removed from verso, light silvering to edges and foot otherwise in excellent condition.

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