(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Robert Craft, the well-known composer, conductor, and protege of Igor Stravinsky, has written often about Stravinsky in the past, but in his new collection, STRAVINSKY: GLIMPSES OF A LIFE, he deals with areas that his previous works have not covered, at least not in depth. Here, for example, Craft recounts the tribulations suffered by Catherine Stravinsky, the composer’s first wife, who was summarily rejected by Stravinsky after he fell in love with Vera Sudeikina, who was to become the second Mrs. Stravinsky. It is to Catherine Stravinsky’s credit that she accepted this turn of events with almost superhuman grace and seemed to be concerned primarily with her husband’s welfare and the welfare of the Stravinsky children.

Another chapter deals at painful length with Stravinsky’s second wife, who fared little better than his first. Although Vera Stravinsky went out of her way to support Stravinsky’s children by his first wife, even going so far as to persuade him to give them money that he was not inclined to hand over to them, the Stravinsky children, who had used Vera Stravinsky rather shamelessly to further their own interests with their father, spared no effort to cheat her out of her rightful inheritance after their father’s death. Their machinations are demonstrated by Craft, who saw much of what transpired firsthand, to be nothing short of outrageous.

One four-chapter section discusses the origins of Stravinsky’s masterpiece...

(The entire section is 409 words.)