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Stravinsky’s retrosexuality* is now on-line

We referred last week to Robert Craft’s important and contentious essay on the making of the Rite of Spring. In it, the composer’s longterm aide maintains that Stravinsky was actively bisexual during the conception of the Rite.

The article was not on-line at the time. It is now. Click here.

stravinsky nude

* retrosexuality = I term I invented to denote obsessive interest in the erotic lives of historical figures.

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  1. Scott Hannigan says:

    The article is fascinating, of course, but I maintain that any reference to Stravinsky’s sexual activities is nothing but prurience. Are we in high school?

    • Robert Fitzpatrick says:

      Thanks for the opportunity to read the entire article. I agree that Craft’s sexual references are less than relevant in this centennial year of Le Sacre. I question Robert Craft’s motives and have always wondered about his remora-like existence with Stravinsky. The article is interesting but does it really shed any new light on the topics covered? Other more learned than I will have to decide.

    • “reference to Stravinsky’s sexual activities is nothing but prurience”….a somewhat lurid reading of what would seem to have been a very affectionate relationship. We’re not talking about a trip to the brothel.
      This is a surprising, and most welcome addition to the Stravinsky biography. I’m pleased Craft has bought this detail to light.

    • Since Stravinsky spent his creative career making most of his important collaborations with gay-bisexual men—Diaghilev, Nijinsky, Cocteau, Gide, Auden and Kallman—it’s hardly unimportant that this may have been an aspect of his personal character.

  2. Daniel Farber says:

    What would be more interesting to know is whether or to what extent Stravinsky’s proclivities went in this direction in subsequent (or, for that matter, earlier) years and if or how his likes and dislikes played a role in his various compositional stances.

  3. “any reference to Stravinsky’s sexual activities is nothing but prurience.” Once again, sex is automatically singled out as the only possible irrelevance. That’s neither logical nor sensible.

    The important thing, as I mentioned before, is not to run away from this subject in Stravinsky’s case but to treat whatever is known as coming from 19th-century Russia of a certain class level, not as a phenomenon of 2013 America or Britain.

    The article itself I find typical of Craft: insightful and aggravating. As for the choreography, Stravinsky’s own ideas for it, whether or not they’re properly represented here, are not the last word on the subject any more than his conducting is.

  4. What would Stravinsky’s reaction be on these? Would he approve the coverage or be upset and offended? We really don’t need to know about Stravinsky’s sex life to understand and enjoy Le Sacre. Our delight in voyeurism creates a good market.

  5. Sarah Johnson says:

    Great pic of Stravinsky showing us his wood.

  6. Patrick Rucker says:

    This takes me back to 1989, when 19th Century Music carried a piece by Maynard Solomon suggesting that Schubert was part of the Viennese homosexual subculture. Solomon was immediately set upon by outraged musicologists, led by Rita Steblin, refuting what they perceived as an attack on the reputation of one of history’s most beloved composers. I can’t help but wonder if Robert Craft had casually mentioned Stravinsky having a heterosexual affair while was composing Le Sacre, rather than a same-sex relationship with Maurice Delage, would all this talk of prurience and ‘retrosexuality’ be bandied about? I wager no one would have batted an eye.

  7. Who the fuck cares about his sex life..He was great composer who we all like.

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