Tuesday, 22 January 2019

NEARLY HALF A YEAR AFTER QUIETLY HITTING REAL ESTATE MARKET, IGOR STRAVINSKY'S WEST HOLLYWOOD HOME REMAINS UNSOLD

Igor Stravinsky loved and lived the Hollywood high life,
spending some 29 years of his life in Tinseltown. 20 of
those years were spent residing at the property presently
up for sale by Coldwell Banker. View the property via the
online listing at Redfin: 1260 N Wetherly Drive, Los Angeles
After being listed for 167 days (at the time of writing this post) on Redfin, Igor Stravinsky's West Hollywood home remains on the real estate market. The quaint 2,612 square foot estate (with 3 bedrooms and 4.5 bathrooms), located at 1260 N Wetherly Drive, just above L.A.'s famed Sunset Strip was the longtime U.S. home of the famed Russian-born composer, who moved into the property in 1941 nearly a year after his arrival on the West coast, then fresh off the heels of his marriage to longtime mistress Vera de Bosset (former wife of famed Russian painter Sergey Sudeikin.)

Stravinsky, who would obtain American citizenship five years after his arrival on US soil, clearly bore affection for both Hollywood high life and home: in fact, the beloved 20th century icon – then revered as much in the United States as he was in Europe – would spend more years of his life in The Golden State than anywhere else in the world. Wetherly Drive, in particular, would prove more than agreeable: Igor would famously later purchase a neighboring home on the same street (#1218 N Wetherly Drive) after some 20 years spent at the primary residence – he would live on the adjacent property for over 9 more years before heading Northeast, where he would relocate to New York to live out his final two years, spent in the city's iconic Essex House, which had been recently acquired by Marriott Hotels in 1969.

Stravinsky boasted a remarkably productive output during his years spent at 1260 N Wetherly Drive (which include, but are not limited to the maestro's adoption – and adaptation – of Austrian émigré Arnold Schoenberg's 12-tone technique; the composition of 1951 English-language opera “The Rake's Progress” based on the engravings of William Hogarth; a collaboration with the illustrious choreographer George Balanchine on “Agon;” and his single-handed influence on reviving the early music of Carlo Gesualdo through his poignant arrangements of three of the renaissance master's madrigali for orchestra (which were later incorporated into Balanchine's ballet Momentum a Gesuado – not to mention a completion of the murderous Italian's unfinished Tres Sacre Cantiones Liber Secundus, which Igor realised in 1956; in addition to arrangements of the works of Tchaikovsky, Sibelius, and a bold excursion into ethereal liturgical works following the maestro's increasing presence and deep interest in the Russian Orthodox Church.)

Listen below to Stravinsky's arrangement of Gesualdo's "Sacrae Cantiones Liber Secundus." Stravinsky realised this work in 1957 (I) and 1959 (II & III), of which the original sextus and basses part books were lost. The video below is in a playlist format, containing three videos. Use arrow buttons or menu to navigate. I. Da pacem Domine, II. Assumpta est Maria, III. Illumina nos:


Stravinsky seemed also to fit right in as an esteemed member of the Hollywood elite - he hobnobbed with film industry bigwigs – famously signing over rights to Walt Disney for the American magnate to use music from Le Sacre du Printemps for the 1940 blockbuster animated hit “Fantasia” (albeit for a rather paltry sum of $6000 USD) – and proved a giant among men among Tinseltown's illustrious artistic intelligentsia. Those in his inner circle included everyone from Surrealist maestri to great thinkers, poets and authors – the likes of Aldous Huxley, Dylan Thomas and W.H. Auden. Just prior to moving into the property at N Wetherly Drive, Igor would try his hand at composing for film – albeit unsuccessfully, not for lack of talent, but rather for a refusal to relinquish sole control – with trial music for the former's screenplay adapted to the film “Jane Eyre,” starring Orson Welles (he ended up recycling previously written music for the project instead.)

Even the pop culture sphere opened it's doors for the world's most famed living composer: Stravinsky would make his Hollywood Bowl conducting debut the summer of his arrival in the U.S. in 1940 in which he led a rousing performance of the Firebird Suite.

These mentions account for merely a small portion of the maestro's accomplishments achieved in West Hollywood. Yet for all of Stravinsky's many connections in Los Angeles, and for all of his efforts at re-inventing himself both musically and spiritually, the only relic left standing – nay, the only relic to have ever stood which would serve to both remember and celebrate the beloved icon's time and influence in the city (save for a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame) remain the former Stravinsky family homes on N Wetherly Drive – of which the presently offered residence up for sale is one. 

A true injustice of the highest sort!

The fact that the property is being quietly listed online with merely a passing reference to the composer is but another unfortunate reminder of a sadly seemingly absent memory on behalf of the inhabitants of the city.

Absent – yet not forgotten. In the nearly half a year since the quaint white stucco and wood home has been on the market, at least one active musician has paid pilgrimage to the composer by attending an open house and walking among its hallowed walls.

Could this small gesture be a promising sign of a much-delayed turnaround in WeHo to finally honor the internationally beloved icon who once called the city home, and whose contributions to Tinseltown's artistic realm have permeated the seams of time – the music composed there continuing to influence legions of subsequent composers both at home and around the globe?

Be it as a converted tourist attraction/education site (a museum would probably be asking too much), as a modern-day “salon,” or as home to a present or future musician or patron of the arts – or even simply as a residential slice of heaven for a very lucky fan – the possibilities for Stravinsky's house on the hill are infinite.

The present asking price for the property is $3.75 million USD. The listing may be viewed online on Redfin.

Related: watch below the acclaimed documentary, "Stravinsky in Hollywood," (dir. Marco Capalbo) which details the exploits and works composed whilst residing in the city (in three parts, L-R-BL, followed by the critically acclaimed autobiographical documentary "Once at a Border," featuring rare footage of Stravinsky and interviews many of his illustrious colleagues and family detailing more broad aspects of the composer's life. Directed by Tony Palmer):


Did You know?

This is not the first time Stravinsky's former home at 1260 N Wetherly Drive has hit the real estate market. Finnish conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen expressed interest in purchasing the property in 1996 only to pass given his fear of being haunted by the “ghost” of Igor, after he noticed indentations on the carpet where the maestro formerly rested his piano, and humorously, the hook where Stravinsky tethered his pet goat.

In other related news:
 
 
Giovanni Paisiello's former home in Taranto scores 500,000 euros to convert into museum honoring composer.

View that story at La Ringhiera (in Italian): "Regione, 500mila euro per il restauro di casa Paisiello a Taranto"


Vincenzo Bellini's Former villa overlooking Lake Como (the Villa Passalacqua) to open up this year as an idyllic sojourn for overnight guests.

View this story at Forbes online: "You Can Now Book A Night At One Of Europe's Most Expensive Homes."


-Rose.

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