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Stravinsky Composing “Elegy for John F. Kennedy”

Mar. 3, 1964 - Composer Igor Stravinsky (pictured right in 1962) is writing a work for solo voice and instruments in memory of President Kennedy. The work, which will be named “Elegy for John F. Kennedy,” will receive its world premiere at the Berlin Festwochen in Berlin next September. The words were written at Mr. Stravinsky’s request by poet W.H. Auden.

Mr. Stravinsky, 81 years old, is in seclusion at his home in Los Angeles, where he is completing the work. A spokesman for the composer said Mr. Stravinsky’s only comment was that “Mr. Auden’s words are beautiful.”

The lyrics are as follows: “When a just man dies, lamentation and praise, sorrow and joy, are one. Why then, why there, why thus, we cry, did he die? The heavens are silent. What he was, he was; what he is fated to become depends on us.”


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