Tarmy: What was your favorite restaurant?
Carter: La Cote Basque, now sadly closed. I took Igor Stravinsky and his wife there. We got a table in the middle of the room, speaking French, and a man came in, and said in rather good French, “will the maestro please give me an autograph?” Stravinsky said “Certainly not.”
His wife did a great deal of talking in Russian and finally he agreed, but took forever to write out his name. The man waited and waited and by this point the whole room was watching.
Finally Stravinsky was done and the man thanked him and walked away. We asked Stravinsky if he knew who he was and he said, “Certainly, I see him on television all the time.” The man was Frank Sinatra.Before there was Iggy Pop there was Iggy Stravinsky. Anyone who was rude to Sinatra is fine by me. Later:
Tarmy: Can you attribute your longevity to anything?
Carter: I have no idea. I do a little bit of exercise every morning, and now I read in the paper that exercise for older people is bad for the harp – for the heart, not the harp, I mean. The harp is bad enough.If I live to 103 I hope I will still be as sharp as that and cracking jokes.
So here is Nicholas Daniel with the BBC Symphony Orchestra under David Robertson in the 2008 BBC Proms performing the first half or so of Carter’s oboe concerto written in 1986-7 when he was a mere 78 or so. Still spiky after all these years: