Marianne Langner Zeitlin, widow of the late violinist Zvi Zeitlin, got to know Igor and Vera Stravinsky while they were touring Israel for concerts in the summer of 1962. She has some wonderful tales to tell. For instance:
That evening at dinner, the Stravinskys regaled us with stories about their recent visit at the White House. The Kennedys were charming, they were elegant, and the dinner, French haute cuisine, but of course, as Jackie was proud of her newly-acquired French chef. Kissing his thumb and forefinger expressively, Stravinsky said: “Tres delicieux, tres delicieux… But…”
It turned out to be a long, drawn-out and big “but.” “Yes, elegant, charming but they surprised me, these people.” He lifted his eyeglasses to place them on his forehead and raised his voice a notch. “They never hear of my ‘Sacre’ [‘Sacre du Printemps,’ or ‘Rite of Spring’]. Never heard the work, never heard about the premiere.”
“Ah, bubushkin,” Vera said, shaking her head disdainfully. “What did you expect? He doesn’t know the first thing about music. But from Jackie, with her cultural background, I expected better, but no, she didn’t say anything. Maybe she didn’t want to show him up.”
It’s our Slipped Disc long read for the weekend. Click here for the full story.