Stravinsky’s notebook for his ballet Pulcinella is one of the most important and attractive 20th-century music manuscripts in the British Library’s collection.

Stravinsky was asked to provide the music for Pulcinella at a relatively late stage in the project – the choreographers Sergei Diaghilev and Léonide Massine, and apparently the artist Pablo Picasso too, had been working on it since the early summer of 1919. Both the speed and the precision with which Stravinsky worked are evident throughout this notebook.

The volume contains material for all sections of the work except the Andantino ‘Se tu m’ami’ [no. 14] and the Gavotta with variations [no. 16]. It is written in black ink and pencil, and contains additions and annotations in red ink and blue crayon. Comments, references to the scenario, and details of orchestration are variously written in French, Italian and Russian.

The manuscript is believed to have been given by Stravinsky to Picasso in June 1920 and now forms part of the remarkable collection of musical and literary autographs donated to the British Library by the heirs of Stefan Zweig (1881–1942) in 1986.