Saturday, February 4, 2012

Stravinsky on the Telephone

Above Separated at birth? (Left to right) German architect Peter Behrens (in a portrait by Max Liebermann, 1911), and designer Roy R. Behrens.

Below From Robert Craft, Stravinsky: Chronicle of a Friendship. Nashville TN: Vanderbilt University (1994), p. 188—

I.S [Stravinsky], telephoning the G. Wittenberg Surgical Appliances Company: "This is Mr. Stravinsky, S-T-R-A-" He spells it out loudly and deliberately, as he does when dictating a telegram. "Two years ago you fitted me with a truss. I want an appointment to have it repaired." He has dialed a wrong number, however, and the other party has apparently had to hear the entire speech without finding an opportunity to interrupt. I.S. ill-humoredly cradles the receiver, then carefully dials again. "This is Mr. Stravinsky, S-T-…" You made a …" The same party answers, very annoyed. Annoyed now himself, I.S. double-checks the number in his address book, finds it correct, still believes he has misdialed, tries again. "This is Mr.…" This time the man on the other end, no doubt believing himself the victim of a raving lunatic, slams down the receiver. At this point V. [Stravinsky's wife] discovers from the telephone directory that I.S. has miscopied the number.