The State of Music & Other Writings

The State of Music & Other Writings

Book - 2016
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"In this second volume in the Library of America's definitive Virgil Thomson edition, Pulitzer Prize-winning music critic Tim Page collects for the first time the great composer's four witty, incisive, and compulsively readable full-length works. Written with authority and élan, these classic books offer an engrossing tour of the tumultuous twentieth-century musical scene and Thomson's extraordinary career as one of the nation's foremost cultural critics. The volume opens with The state of music (1939), the book that made Thomson's name as a writer and won him a fourteen-year stint as chief music reviewer at the New York Herald Tribune. This feisty, often hilarious polemic, presented here in the extensively revised edition of 1962, surveys the challenges confronting the American composer in a hide-bound world where performance and broadcast outlets are controlled by institutions shocked by the new and suspicious of homegrown talent. For Aaron Copland, The state of music was not just 'the most original book on music that America has produced,' but 'the wittiest, the most provocative, the best written.' The best-selling autobiography Virgil Thomson (1966) is a gossipy tale of one musician's progress from unteachable smart aleck to revered elder statesman. It tells of an artistically precocious Kansas City boyhood, a demanding Harvard education, an apprenticeship in Paris between the wars, and a hard-won musical and literary maturity in New York. As narrator and protagonist, Thomson fascinates not only with his own story but also with those of his associates, collaborators, friends, and rivals, among them Gertrude Stein, Alice B. Toklas, Ezra Pound, James Joyce, Nadia Boulanger, George Antheil, Pablo Picasso, Jean Cocteau, Max Jacob, Pare Lorentz, John Houseman, and Orsen Welles. Virgil Thomson is an authentic work of Americana and a first-rate, first-person history of the rise of modernism. American music since 1910 (1971) is a pocket guide to the music of Thomson's lifetime as told through brilliant biographical essays on its most accomplished makers, chief among them Charles Ives, Carl Ruggles, Aaron Copland, Edgar Varèse, and John Cage. Thomson's final book, Music with words (1989), is one that he was born to write: a handbook for composers on the fine art of musical prosody, the setting of texts to music. Rounding out the volume are thirty-two essays, speeches, and reviews--most of them previously uncollected--on subjects including Leonard Bernstein, Paul Bowles, The New Grove Dictionary, and the jazz scene of the 1970s"--Dust jacket.
Publisher: New York, NY : The Library of America, [2016]
Copyright Date: ♭2016
ISBN: 9781598534672
159853467X
Branch Call Number: 780.92 T387T 2016
Characteristics: xii, 1169 pages, 32 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations, portraits ; 21 cm
Additional Contributors: Page, Tim 1954-

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