Extracts, or pericopes - to borrow his typically ornate term - from Robert Craft's diary of his years with Stravinsky first appeared in the famous series of their conversation books issued throughout the Sixties. In 1972, after the composer's death, a far bigger selection was published as Stravinsky: Chronicle of a Friendship, 1948-1971. But this volume left its author dissatisfied from the start. 'Hastily put together' to coincide with a Stravinsky ballet festival in New York, it omitted the year 1954, was exiguous with five others, failed to lay proper emphasis on what he now sees as the crucial years of 1951 and 1956 or to supply an adequate context for the Sixties; and Craft did not want it reprinted. Now he has gone to the trouble of remedying the defects with a revised edition that extends the original length by over a third. Each year of the stated period gets a decent amount of coverage; a solid 1994 postscript has been added to each except the last, which is followed by a chapter-length Postlude. Letters to Craft from Aldous Huxley and Gerald Heard are newly included. Letters (also to Craft) from Arnold Schoenberg, Luigi Dallapiccola, Glenn Gould and other musical luminaries are also published for the first time; and most of the illustrations are new. Gone are the itineraries that laboriously prefaced each chapter-year in the original edition and the interpolated 12-page 'Afterword' which Craft wrote for a book of Arnold Newman's Stravinsky photographs. The new edition of the Chronicle is virtually a new book.
LRB 4 January 1996 | PDF Download