Saturday, February 17, 2007

Pointed questions raised in musical circles

And while we are all getting excited about Joyce Hatto ...

Stravinsky always liked to record, and if sessions went well his satisafaction was deep, for the unarguable reason that his recordings under such conditions, represented the truest expression of the ideas he had set down on his manuscript paper. In this sense the three-score-plus Stravinsky listings in the Columbia catalogue form a true document. But it would be equally correct to say that after Stravinsky's eightieth birthday, Robert Craft's assistance was vital for many of the recordings, and these discs may certainly be referred to as the end result of a collabaration. And this poses an intriguing question: how far does this collabaration extend in the final record which the public buys under the title Stravinsky conducts Stravinsky?

By the time Stravinsky stood up for the final run-through and the official take, the orchestra was thoroughly indoctrinated with Robert's tempo (which was generally more rapid than the composer's) and his interpretation (which might also differ), and would therefore have difficulty adjusting. Stravinsky's beat, usually very clear, suffered under the pressure of this situation. Add these circumstances to just time enough for a maximum of two takes and it is easy to understand the pointed questions raised in musical circles in the last five or six years about the authenticity of certain Stravinsky recordings made in the final decade. How much is Stravinsky, and how much is Craft?


Extracted from And Music at the Close: Stravinsky's Last years, the distinctly unauthorised 1972 memoir by Lillian Libman (Macmillan ISBN 333143043, out of print)


18 Feb - Important update

Now read about the authorised version by Robert Craft.
Header photo of Stravinsky with Robert Craft from RobertCraft.com Any copyrighted material on these pages is included as "fair use", for the purpose of study, review or critical analysis only, and will be removed at the request of copyright owner(s). Report broken links, missing images and other errors to - overgrownpath at hotmail dot co dot uk

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