In tribute to the great translator George Craig, who died in March of this year, Music & Literature is publishing the following excerpt from Writing Beckett’s Letters, Craig’s reflections on the process of translating Samuel Beckett’s letters from French into English for Cambridge University Press. Writing Beckett’s Letters was originally published as no. 16 of The Cahiers Series (Sylph Editions, 2011).
A feature by Dan Gunn
This month, Music & Literature pays tribute to the great translator George Craig. A professor of French at the University of Sussex for thirty years, Craig translated and co-edited the four volumes of Samuel Beckett’s letters published by Cambridge University Press. His former student, co-editor, and friend of over forty years, Dan Gunn, delivered this eulogy at Craig’s funeral on 1 April 2019 in Lewes, Sussex.
A feature by Declan O’Driscoll
How do you compose? At a piano?
Yes and no. My compositions start their lives with reflections upon paintings, architecture and of course musical possibilities. So, before I really use the keyboard I normally accumulate various sketches that indicate (possibly) movement, energy, pitch areas and outline structures. The keyboard is used later in the process to confirm pitch relationships, note rows and other procedures that help during the composing process. If I ever wrote a piece based only upon my keyboard expertise, the composition would be destined for the trash can.