KN26 The Star-Spangled Banner

Written on . Last updated on .

deutsch KN26 Das Sternen-Banner

KN26 The Star-Spangled Banner [1941]

Das Sternen-Banner

Scored for: Chorus: Four-part mixed chorus (Soprano, Alto, Tenor, Bass); Orchestra: 3 Flutes, 2 Oboes, Englisch horn, 2 Clarinets in Bb, Bass Clarinet in Bb, 2 Bassoons, Contrabassoon (ad libitum), 4 Horns in F, 3 Trumpets in Bb, 2 Trombones, Bass Trombone, Tuba, Timpani, Strings* (First Violins*, Second Violins*, Violas*, Violoncellos, Double Basses)

* divide in two.

Date of origin: On 4th July 1941 in Los Angeles.

First performance: On 14th October 1941 in Los Angeles under the direction of James Sample.

Remarks: During his time in America in course of the War, Strawinsky was obliged to open his concerts with the American national anthem. A composer who visited him twice a week as a pupil encouraged him to replace the usual arrangements, all of which he considered to be artistically weak, with a better one. As a result of this, Strawinsky made his arrangement on 14 October 1941, and it was premiered by the composer’s (id est pupil’s) son-in-law with a black choir and orchestra. Strawinsky subsequently sent the manuscript to the wife of President Roosevelt as a contribution to an auction in aid of the war effort and the score was promptly returned with an apology. The distribution of Strawinsky’s arrangement was also restricted and frustrated by legal regulations. Strawinsky conducted his arrangement himself on 14 January 1944 in Boston with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. His expectation that the audience would sing along with the anthem was disappointed, despite the fact that he conducted with his back to the orchestra in order to lead the audience accordingly. The next day, shortly before the start of the concert with the same program, he received a visit in his green room from an American policeman, who explained to him that according to a law in effect in Massachusetts, tampering with national property was forbidden. While he was explaining this, the police were in fact in the process of removing the parts that had already been laid out on the music stands.

Significance: probably the most artistically significant arrangement of the American national anthem, however it is greatly limited in terms of practical use due to its use of a major seventh at the beginning of the second strophe.

Versions: The contract with the Mercury Music Corporation for The Star-Spangled Banner was signed on 19 August 1941. Mercury had been accounting separately for orchestral & vocal parts on the one hand and scores on the other for Strawinsky since 1941. The sale of 100 scores and more than 500 parts is recorded up to the end of 1958.

Historical recording: 8th May 1964, Massey Hall, Toronto, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Igor Strawinsky.

CD-Edition: not included. The recording of 1964 is published in the eight-part edition Sony Classical / The original Jacket Collection / Stravinsky sx9k 64136, 1999, number 64150 = 1st piece.

Autograph: The three-page autograph is to be found in the Library of Congress in Washington.

Copyright: 1941 by Igor Strawinsky, 1944; the rights went to the Mercury Music Corporation.


a) Overview

N26-1 FuSc [not identified]

N26-2 VoSc (voices with piano)

N26-3 Set of orchestral parts [not identified]

b) Characteristic features

26–2 >^THE° / STAR-SPANGLED° / BANNER°^ / Words by* [#] Music by* / FRANCIS SCOTT KEY* [#] JOHN STAFFORD SMITH* / Harmonized and Set for Chorus by° / IGOR STRAWINSKY° / [asterisk] / [**] / MERCURY MUSIC CORPORATION*l / Theodore Presser Company, Sole Representative* / Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania 19010* // (Score for mixed choir in four parts 14.9 x 22.9 ([4°]); 6 [4] pages without cover + 1 page front matter [couloured front title] + 1 page back matter [empty page with centre centred publisher’s emblem* 3.6 x 3 figure with Hermes wings on his helmet playing the lyre and leaning against the capital letter M on the left side]; title head >The Star — Spangled Banner>; authors specified 1st page of the score paginated p. 1 below title head flush left centred >Words by / FRANCIS SCOTT KEY< centre centred >Harmonized by / Igor Strawinsky / 1941< flush right centred >Music by / JOHN STAFFORD SMITH<; legal reservation 1st page of the score below type area centre centred >Copyright MCMXLI by Mercury Music Corporation, New York, N. Y. / International Copyright Secured and Reserved / All Rights Reserved, Including Public Performance for Profit< / [justified text framed] >The Right to Public Performance for Profit is Extended by the Publisher to All with / No Restriction Whatsoever No Fees need Be Paid and No Special Permission is Nec– / essary<; plate number [only p. 2] >151–00123<; without end marks p. 5) // (1941)

+ Three page-wide (20.1 cm) blue lines that are 0.3 centimetres apart.
° Red.
* Blue.
** In the copy in the Sacher Foundation in Basel >62 STRAW 131<, there is at this point a polite phrase that has been stuck on >WITH THE COMPLIMENTS OF / THE PUBLISHERS<.
^ ^ Encircled by 20 blue stars.

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. and