Igor Stravinsky

Edward James was friends with the composer Igor Stravinsky. The archive contains an autograph Stravinsky sketch sent to Edward James for Christmas 1957. The sketch is from the interlude of Agon, a ballet with music by Stravinsky and choreography by Balanchine, now considered one of Stravinsky's most well-known a-tonal works. The Archive also contains an unsigned contact for Stravinsky to put one of James' poems to music. There is no evidence that the piece ever got written. James refers to Stravinsky (and Weill) in his 1939 letter to Huxley - page 5 "…the community could also be a refuge for composers…and one might have a branch for musical students and could have its own orchestra…I could call on Igor Stravinsky…".

Bob Craft was a conductor known for his close working relationship with Igor Stravinsky. Archive correspondence suggests that Craft was James' secretary for a time.

Les Ballets 1933

Les Ballets 1933 was a ballet company started by Boris Kochno and George Balanchine with support from Edward James. One of the ballets, 'The Seven Deadly Sins', had music by Kurt Weill with a libretto by Berolt Brecht, with Tilly Losch as prima ballerina (the concept by Edward James and Boris Kochno). The original autograph manuscript of 'The Seven Deadly Sins', in Weill's hand, is in the Archive alongside correspondence between Kurt Weill and Edward James.

Henri Sauget also wrote for the Ballets 1933. West Dean College holds correspondence and autograph manuscripts.

The College holds a rare Ultraphone record released by Edward James and Henri Sauget. A-side: Edward James Valse Sortie de Mon Pays, played by Yvonne de Casafuerte (violin) and Max Deutsch (piano). B-side: Henri Sauget Aria D'Eduardo Poeta, performed by Hugues Cuenod (voice) and Henri Sauget (piano). This has not been digitised but is understood to be the only recording of one of James' own compositions.

Yehudi Menuhin

Yehudi Menuhin as a Trustee of the Edward James Foundation from 1972-1975. Menuhin was involved in the founding of the Clocks programme and Violin Repair (now FdA Historic Craft Practices - Musical Instruments). After standing down, Menuhin played a fundraising concert to support the College. Menuhin's wife, Diana Menuhin (née Gould) was Tilly Losch's understudy in Les Ballets 1933.

Igor Markevitch worked closely with the Ballet Russe, and collaborated with Serge Lifar (dancer/ choreographer involved in Les Ballets 1933) and Boris Kochno (Artistic Director of Les Ballets 1933). Markevitch stayed at James' Wimpole Street house in London, and was famously photographed by Norman Parkinson in the 'Tent Room' with James. There is a portrait of Igor Markevitch by Pavel Tchelitchew in the collection.

James was on the founding committee of the La Sérénade, a music society founded by Yvonne de Casafuerte in the 1930's. Casafuerte was a violinist whose repertoire included Kurt Weill and Francis Poulenc. Programmes from La Sérénade, are held in the Archive along with extensive correspondence between de Casafuerte and James.

Vittorio Rieti composed for Balanchine and the Ballet Russe. Some of the Archive correspondence is concerned with attempts to help Yvonne de Casafuerte and her children to leave occupied France.

There are compositions by Wallace Bower (little known LA-based American composer) who set three of James' poems to music. The poems were originally published in The Next Volume (The James Press). I've not seen evidence that these were ever performed, though complete manuscripts are in the Archive.

In addition there are various compositions and sheet music that belonged to, and were performed by, Evelyn James. She sang and played the mandolin.