Back in 1940 Balanchine had some extra money from his Broadway earnings and decided that instead of buying himself something like a new cigarette case, he would personally commission a score from the German émigré composer Paul Hindesmith, then teaching at Yale. Accounts differ as to whether he paid Hindesmith $250 or $500.
Robert Gottlieb, GEORGE BALANCHINE: THE BALLET MAKER (110).
I can’t decide if this would be considered normal, or if George’s friends had stared at him, heads cocked, like, Really? That’s what you bought? Then he goes and turns the music into THE FOUR TEMPERMENTS, the first of what are considered his ultramodern works” (109). George crosses his arms, meets their eyes, steady, and says, Yeah, that’s what I bought.