Places: A Travel Companion for Music and Art Lovers
For most of his adult life, Robert craft has been an inveterate traveler. It was through his long-term relationship with Igor and Vera Stravinsky that his first opportunities arose to visit the world at large: year after year Stravinsky was invited to conduct concerts of his works not only in American musical centers but also in virtually every European country, Mexico, Cuba, South America, South Africa and Japan. In addition, both Stravinskys had a great curiosity about their adopted country and, as Craft tells us, crossed the continent seven times by car.
Travel became a habit, one that Craft was not able to resist after the death of the Stravinskys. He too has been invited to conduct the major orchestras and to mastermind recordings in many parts of the world. In recent years, with his wife and son, he has been indulging in travel for its own sake, exploring far-away places for the first time, revisiting familiar ones, and in every instance making extraordinary cultural discoveries.
Craft is a travel writer in the mold on Norman Douglas and Bruce Chatwin, combining a wealth of knowledge with a style of enormous grace, precision and urbanity. Whether his subject is Nepal or Borobudur, Russia or China, Venice or Vienna, he reads a vast literature on the locale before he arrives there and hi luggage invariably contains an addition al library of classical texts. His gift is for identifying and absorbing the quintessence of the place and communicating his discoveries with the infectious enthusiasm of a detective solving a puzzle or a prospector finding gold.
Armchair travelers as well as the more adventurous kind will delight in this book for the wide-ranging information it offers, for its detailed descriptions of the travails as well as the joys of travel, and for the author's intelligence and sensitivity.
Robert Craft the noted writer and conductor, is the recipient of the American Academy of Arts and Letters Special Award for his contribution to Literature.
What the critics have to say about "Places"
"Places stylishly mixes travel observations, historical essays and remembered conversations. I read it nearly without stopping... If you like his meticulous and well-stocked mind as much as I do, you'll eventually want to read everything he's written."
Michael Dirda, Washington Post
"This is a lively travelogue, packed with strong opinions, surprising facts and tart asides, and can be thoroughly recommended to both the armchair and the hands-on traveler..."
Bradley Winterton, South China Morning Post