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Paul Driver, 23 January 1986

Dearest Bubushkin: Selected Letters and Diaries of Vera and Igor Stravinsky 
edited by Robert Craft.
Thames and Hudson, 239 pp., £25, October 1985, 0 500 01368 3
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StravinskySelected Correspondence Vol. III 
edited by Robert Craft.
Faber, 543 pp., £35, October 1985, 0 571 13373 8
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... Stravinsky was a dull correspondent, but at least he was Stravinsky. His wife’s letters to him, which preponderate over his to her in Robert Craft’s new selection of Stravinskyiana, Dearest Bubushkin, have biographical importance but do not all that frequently rise above the level of any wife to any husband ...

Words about Music

Hans Keller, 30 December 1982

StravinskySelected Correspondence, Vol. I 
edited by Robert Craft.
Faber, 471 pp., £25, September 1982, 0 571 11724 4
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Igor StravinskyThe Rake’s Progress 
by Paul Griffiths, Igor Stravinsky, Robert Craft and Gabriel Josipovici.
Cambridge, 109 pp., £9.95, September 1982, 0 521 23746 7
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... My fairly extensive – and, analytically, intensive – writings about Stravinsky confine themselves to his music and the psychology of his creativity – to the products and the nature of his towering genius. About the human being I have never yet written a word: the greater the genius the less there is of a causal connection or correlation between his life and his art – whence Beethoven came to be the communicator of profound, unmixed joy: On the present occasion, however, it is my duty to tell the potential reader of close on five hundred pages whether Stravinsky the man is worth knowing about ...

Peter Conrad’s Flight from Precision

Richard Poirier, 17 July 1980

Imagining America 
by Peter Conrad.
Routledge, 319 pp., £7.50, May 1980, 0 7100 0370 6
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... and funny reminiscences by Auden’s friends, notably in the Conversations of Robert Craft and Igor Stravinsky, hardly sentimental, inexperienced or patient observers of the human scene. The comments on Auden display only in an extreme form the mentality at work here, with its incapacity for understanding, accuracy or minimum attentiveness. Allowing ...

Touching the music

Paul Driver, 4 January 1996

StravinskyChronicle of a Friendship 
by Robert Craft.
Vanderbilt, 588 pp., £35.95, October 1994, 0 8265 1258 5
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... to borrow his typically ornate term – from Robert Craft’s diary of his years with Stravinsky first appeared in the famous series of their conversation books issued throughout the Sixties. In 1972, after the composer’s death, a far bigger selection was published as Stravinsky: Chronicle of a ...

Happy Man

Paul Driver: Stravinsky, 8 February 2007

StravinskyThe Second Exile – France and America 1934-71 
by Stephen Walsh.
Cape, 709 pp., £30, July 2006, 0 224 06078 3
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Down a Path of Wonder: Memoirs of Stravinsky, Schoenberg and Other Cultural Figures 
by Robert Craft.
Naxos, 560 pp., £19.99, October 2006, 1 84379 217 6
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... At the end of his two-volume biography, Stephen Walsh writes that Igor Stravinsky’s music is ‘the one unquestioned staple of the modern repertoire, the body of work that, more than any other, stands as an icon of 20th-century musical thought and imagery’. There couldn’t be a richer subject for a musical biographer and Walsh admits to having an obsession with his subject ...

God in the Body

Anne Hollander, 25 January 1996

Cahiers: Le Sentiment 
by Nijinsky, translated into French by Christian Dumais-Lvorski and Galina Pogojeva.
Actes Sud, 300 pp., frs 140, January 1995, 2 7427 0314 4
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... rare objects. The fourth volume, the one with the letters, was inherited by Romola’s son-in-law, Igor Markevitch, the conductor, who bequeathed it to the Bibliothèque Nationale. But at Romola’s death, the rights to the whole text had become the property of Nijinsky’s two daughters, Kyra and Tamara, who never gave permission for translation and ...
Natasha’s Dance: A Cultural History of Russia 
by Orlando Figes.
Allen Lane, 729 pp., £25, October 2002, 0 7139 9517 3
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... Moscow had become a centre of artistic experimentation, the place where Scriabin (to whose museum Stravinsky made a pilgrimage in 1962), Kandinsky, Malevich, Pasternak and Mayakovsky lived. After the Revolution, ‘it became the Soviet capital, the cultural centre of the state, a city of modernity and of the new industrial society the Bolsheviks wanted to ...

Proud to Suffer

G.S. Smith: The Intellectuals Who Left the USSR, 19 October 2006

The Philosophy Steamer: Lenin and the Exile of the Intelligentsia 
by Lesley Chamberlain.
Atlantic, 414 pp., £25, March 2006, 1 84354 040 1
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... if one looks at the first wave as a whole, how is one to compare the loss to Russia of, say, Stravinsky with that of the electronics engineer Vladimir Zvorykin or the aircraft designer Igor Sikorsky? As the book proceeds, figures who left Russia by other routes before and sometimes after the 1922 expulsions are ...

Aphrodite bends over Stalin

John Lloyd, 4 April 1996

... hours of music, which include Shostakovich (playing as well as being performed), Prokofiev and Stravinsky, with performers like Gilels, Richter and Rostropovich. Del claimed the archive was worth as much as $9 billion – a huge exaggeration. But its value is great and the deal is being protested by Nikolai Petrov and the Ministry of Culture, among ...

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