Robert Craft is a conductor and writer. Craft’s close working friendship with Igor Stravinsky is the subject of his memoir, An Improbable Life. In 2002 he was awarded the International Prix du Disque at the Cannes Music Festival.


The Perils of Mrs. Eliot

Painted Shadow: The Life of Vivienne Eliot, First Wife of T.S. Eliot, and the Long-Suppressed Truth About Her Influence on His Genius

by Carole Seymour-Jones
“For my dearest Vivienne, this book, which no one else will quite understand.” Thus Eliot inscribed a copy of his Poems, 1909–1925. One of his biographers asserts that without knowledge of Eliot’s first, tragic marriage, a complete appreciation of his poems is impossible. No matter what Flaubert, Valéry, and Eliot …

Only Collect

The Prince's Tale and Other Uncollected Writings

by E.M. Forster, edited by P.N. Furbank
This belated volume of E.M. Forster’s critical writings and opinions is at least the equal of Aspects of the Novel (1927), Abinger Harvest (1936), and Two Cheers for Democracy (1951), as well as far more amusing than these predecessors. The quality of the writing—compact, graceful, unobtrusively witty—is consistently of the …

Stravinsky & Balanchine

I was the only witness when Igor Stravinsky and George Balanchine were working together in the creation of two masterpieces, Agon and The Flood. That said, let me partly disqualify myself. One would have to be Russian, as well as speak the language, in order to understand the exchanges, at …

Sunday Afternoon Live

New York Philharmonic: The Historic Broadcasts, 1923-1987

ten compact discs of digitally remastered recordings, with 144-page book, 21 conductors, 18 soloists
Sedgwick Clark, the producer of New York Philharmonic: The Historic Broadcasts, 1923-1987, tells us that the album’s twelve hours of recorded music were chosen by him after listening to “hundreds of hours of live music-making.” But since he provides no information about the selection process and the winnowed options, the …

On the ‘Virge’

Virgil Thomson: Composer on the Aisle

by Anthony Tommasini
Virgil Thomson: Composer on the Aisle provides important amplifications and sortings-out of fact and fiction in Thomson’s own and other versions of his life. His own remains the best-written life of an American musician, but Anthony Tommasini’s ranks not far below it in that regard and has the advantage of …

Nights at the Opera

Otto Klemperer: His Life and Times

by Peter Heyworth
Most televised orchestra concerts offer close-up footage of the conductor as his musicians see him, beating time and meter, cueing, manipulating dynamic levels, emoting. Otto Klemperer, with Toscanini and Furtwängler one of the great conductors of the century, barely gestured at all in his later years, and, except through his …