What’s missing is Craft’s distinctive voice: furiously polemical when anybody else wrote about Stravinsky, withering in a Gore Vidal kind of way, classical in the Greek sense of the word and lofty as Parnassus with a drink in its hand.
We can do no better than bring you a sample of Craft’s savagery against the meticulous, if remote, Stephen Walsh, author of the current academic life of Igor Stravinsky. Sample:
At times the Stravinsky of Walsh’s book reminds me of the biography of Lycurgus, about whom absolutely nothing is known, but who is nevertheless the subject of one of Plutarch’s Lives. The present case is something like the reverse. “Everything” known about the subject is gathered into a gallimaufry of “oral history” (gossip), apocrypha, clippings from unedifying reviews, scraps of correspondence, unqualified opinions, guesses and suppositions, with the result that nothing new of significance is offered either about the music or the man, who in Walsh’s book is all but unrecognizable from the one I knew.
Read the full blast here. It’s on the Naxos site, where Craft recycled many of his own recordings.
Right or wrong, classical music needs more contrarians like the über-erudite Robert Craft.