When asked if he was part of the American school of composers, Virgil Thomson would reply, "Of course I am. I'm one
of its founders." There was no false modesty about VT, who was born in Kansas City on November 2nd 1896. Whether collaborating with Gertrude Stein on their groundbreaking opera Four Saints in Three Acts or dispatching well-considered, tersely worded verdicts as the New York Herald Tribune's chief music critic, the man knew what he was about. Thomson's 92 productive years were filled to the brim with warmly indignant letters (to and from him), numerous honors and awards (including the Kennedy Center Honors and the Pulitzer Prize), 20 honorary doctorates, and dinner parties orchestrated as cannily as his symphonic music. Between 1928 and 1988 Thomson composed more than 150 musical portraits, mostly for piano, and was the author of eight books, including an autobiograhy. Thomson's music is often rooted in American speech patterns and traditional hymns, charged with the brash momentum and ascerbic bite characterizing Satie, the members of Les Six, and Stravinsky. The music communicates instantly, and sometimes charms, but there's a lot of grit and muscle underneath the surface.
Participation in CCi Events :
Record Label: New Albion