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Robert Craft

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Robert Craft, Stravinsky Adviser and Steward, Dies at 92

"Robert Craft, an orchestral conductor, scholar and writer who was called an elegant Boswell by his supporters and a calculating Svengali by his detractors for his long professional association with Igor Stravinsky, died on Tuesday at his home in Gulf Stream, Fla. He was 92."

Wiki: 

"Robert Lawson Craft (October 20, 1923 – November 10, 2015) was an American conductor and writer. He is best known for his intimate working friendship with Igor Stravinsky, on which Craft drew in producing numerous recordings and books."

 

 

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RIP I know he's done a big series of recordings for Naxos, but I never really got into his stuff.

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RIP. He also did a lot to bring Schoenberg's work to a wider audience.

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I think his relationship with Stravinsky is a pretty remarkable one.  Probably nothing quite like it since Boswell and Johnson. I think Craft will have to be accounted for in any estimation of Stravinsky's later career. 

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RIP.  He also conducted some excellent performances of Webern and Berg for Columbia in the 50's as well.

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Craft's '50s Webern performances were, as he later freely admitted, in many cases train wrecks, with the exception of the works for voice and piano and voice and voice and small chamber ensembles. Which is not to say that they weren't at the time very entrancing/influential on me and lots of people like me around the world.  His Berg and Schoenberg recordings of the time were better -- in particular, his Altenberg Leider and Pierrot Lunaire, both with Bethany Beardslee, and his Septet Suite, with Pearl Kaufman terrific in the demanding piano part, the most difficult in all of AS's music someone, maybe AS himself, once said. Kaufman, whom I got to know in the '80s when she came to town as Anna Maria Albreghetti's accompanist (!), was a first-call Hollywood studio mainstay for many years when someone with classical piano chops  and big ears was needed. She was the pianist on Oliver Nelson's "The Kennedy Dream," played the Bach pieces on the soundtrack of "Five Easy Pieces" that Jack Nicholson mimed, and on Stravinsky's rush-job recording of "The Flood" she improvised a key passage at IS's urgent request when the clock was ticking and that portion of the piano part turned out to be blank. She had lots of stories to tell.

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Larry, that's really interesting re: Webern.  I prefer many of his takes over Boulez.

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Craft's three latter-day Webern CDs on Naxos are excellent and can often be found used on Amazon for smallish sums.

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How latter-day would we be talking, these Naxos records?

Re: Pearl Kaufman with Oliver Nelson, hell yeah.

 

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54 minutes ago, JSngry said:

How latter-day would we be talking, these Naxos records?

 

1) 2005 2) 2009 3) 2015

Edited by Larry Kart

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Thank you.

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On November 16, 2015 at 10:08:22 AM, Stefan Wood said:

RIP.  He also conducted some excellent performances of Webern and Berg for Columbia in the 50's as well.

+ Varese + Bach / Schoenberg in the 1960s

 

 

 

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