Elegy for J. F. K. is scored for baritone or mezzo-soprano accompanied by three clarinets (two B♭ clarinets and an alto clarinet in E♭), and is a twelve-tone serial composition. The text, in four haiku stanzas each of 17 syllables, was written at Stravinsky's request by W. H. Auden in memory of assassinated President John F. Kennedy, and Stravinsky chose to repeat the opening stanza at the end (White 1979, 533–34). Elegy makes use of various textural changes to accommodate the changes in vocal register. The piece is in ternary form, just like the poem, meaning that material is repeated in the first and last nine measures. Various compositional elements suggest the severity of the topic such as the frequent use of da capo, the perfect fifth D♯–A♯ in the clarinets from mm. 7–8, and the repeated tritone G♯–D throughout.
|Librettist||Wystan Hugh Auden|
|Date of composition||1964|
|Premiered||1964, April 6th in Los Angeles, CA, United States|
|Dedicated to||Commemorating the assassination of U.S. President John F. Kennedy.|
|Approx. duration||4 minutes|
- (Baritone or Mezzo-Soprano)
Igor Stravinsky: Elegy for J.F.K.
Igor' Fëdorovič Stravinskij: Elegy for J.F.K.
Igor Strawinsky: Elegy for J.F.K.