An Open BookOver the past month or so I’ve had a chance to do some reading, and I thought I’d share what books have gone before my eyes.

An Improbable Life: Memories by Robert Craft

For Craft, assistant and surrogate son to one of the musical greats of all music; Igor Stravinsky, had his musical beginnings at St. John’s Episcopal Church, Kingston, New York. It was not religion, or the Episcopal Church which drew the young boy to music, but a fine music program. Craft’s parents were not Episcopalian, and it appears Craft only joined the choir at the behest of his parents to gain some culture, but this experience was the impetus of what would become a life vocation; musicologist, and conductor.

As is with much of Craft’s various works, the writing style is urbane, cultured, broad, and filled with excursions into a complex dialectic kaleidoscope of people, places, remembered, and re-created quotes from the world’s creative personae.  If, however, one reads this book to answer the blazing old question revolving around the rumor that Craft actually co-composed music of Stravinsky’s serial period, the reader with gain no crumbs or insight to the debate. Craft does not speak openly in this arena. In fact, much of the book reminds me of other works surrounding Stravinsky and their relationship; almost written in his former “diary-style”. The end of the book, which to me appears to be a literary allusion akin to the final notes of Petrushka, trails off into a pianissimo with no formal conclusions—it just ends. Read More