STRAVINSKY IN PICTURES AND DOCUMENTS by Vera & Robert Craft Stravinsky

STRAVINSKY IN PICTURES AND DOCUMENTS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

From Stravinsky's widow and his longtime protÉgÉ: a heavily annotated selection from the family archives that is less a biography or even ""an album of vignettes"" (as Craft calls it) than a notebook mated with a scrapbook. Sometimes arranged chronologically, sometimes by subject--an important work, a friendship--here are about 300 photos and all manner of material in excerpted form: letters to, from, and about Stravinsky; interviews; reviews; articles (often just a passing blurb) from newspapers and magazines; bits from books; Craft's own diary; musical manuscripts; even the nurses' log detailing the hour-by-hour medication during one of the composer's hard-fought illnesses. Connecting these documentary cuttings (the preservation of which testify to Stravinsky's fabled ego) is a narrative that sometimes provides just enough information to establish a setting for the quoted material, sometimes suggests the draft of an authentic biography, and sometimes--as with the description of Stravinsky's feeling for Vera's paintings--leans in the direction of a personal memoir. And among the appendixes are the Eliot/Stravinsky correspondence, hundreds of footnotes, and critiques of previous books on Stravinsky (including a 20-page diatribe on Lillian Libman's And Music at the Close). However fascinating and valuable many of the assembled pieces may be, the book remains a problematic neither-here-nor-there proposition. Too digressive, disorganized, alternately shallow and dense, to be a readable chronicle or browser for the general reader. Too diced, chopped, and pasted-up to suit serious scholars--who'll want to see the documents in their natural state and will not appredate quotes from Time magazine. Even with all these faults, this will be consulted, of course, for its wealth of information on the composer's career, colleagues, and home life.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1978
Publisher: Simon & Schuster