The death of Robert Craft, the great composer’s assistant from 1948 to 1971, has been confirmed by his family.
Craft, who died on November 10, aged 92, acted as spokesman and swordsman for Stravinsky during his later years. He published five books of conversations with Stravinsky, asking many leading questions to which his master rose with alacrity. Some challenged certain controversial remarks, saying they did not recognise Stravinsky’s voice in the English transcription. Craft lashed back vehemently at all such criticisms.
In latter years, he floated a mischievous theory that Stravinsky had a homosexual affair with Ravel, apparently basing it on a discredited source.
His relationship with Stravinsky was never dull. A man who sat behind them during an LSO concert at the Royal Albert Hall for the 50th anniversary of the Rite of Spring, conducted by its original maestro, Pierre Monteux, told me he heard Stravinsky disparaging Monteux throughout the performance and Craft adding constant fuel to his fire. That was Craft’s role: maintaining Igor’s menace.
photo: Australian Broadcasting Company