We are hearing from eminent musical personalities that Robert Craft died two days ago, on November 10, in Florida. He was 92. UPDATE: His death is now officially confirmed.
Craft spent 23 years, 1948 to 1971, as personal assistant and general amanuensis to Igot Stravinsky. He introduced Stravinsky to music old and new – Gesualdo and Schutz at one end and Webern at the other. After Schoenberg’s death, Craft facilitated Stravinsky’s transition to serialism, his third composing style.
A rebarbative man, brilliantly articulate, Craft waged wars with Stravinsky’s children and anyone who disputed his version of the old man’s life and ideas, on which he published several books.
He combined the roles of conductor, writer and custodian of the crucible. In my few dealings with him, he was exquisitely polite.
Last month, Sony reissued the Stravinsky conducts Stravinsky from the 1940s to 1960s. The set included all the authorised performances that Stravinsky’s assistant Robert Craft conducted for the label in the composer’s presence, after age and infirmity had restricted his own mobility.