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January 19, 2011 / GG54

Stravinsky the Criminal?

We all know that Stravinsky broke many rules. His orchestration was daring, his tonality was innovative and his textures were unheard-of.

But that’s not why you are looking at this mug shot of him.

Back in April 1940, Stravinsky was premiering a new arrangement he had done of the Star Spangled Banner. He did it as a homage and tip-of-the-hat to the American people and spirit.

What he didn’t know, was that Massachusetts had a law against the ‘tampering’ of national property. After the premier, the police were waiting out back and arrested him. He was released after explaining his good intentions.

You can hear Stravinsky’s Scherzo a la Russe this week on Sound Ideas. Check out the playlist for more.

Update: This site suggests that while this incident did occur, it occurred in 1944 and the photo actually has to do with Stravinsky applying for an increase on his visa.


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