Portland Public Library

The state of music & other writings, Virgil Thomson ; Tim Page, editor

The state of music & other writings, Virgil Thomson ; Tim Page, editor
Bibliography note
Includes bibliographical references and indexes
contains biographical information
index present
Literary Form
non fiction
Main title
The state of music & other writings
Nature of contents
Oclc number
Responsibility statement
Virgil Thomson ; Tim Page, editor
Series statement
The library of America, 277
"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 attacks 'the philanthropic persons in control of our institutions' who were suspicious of new works by 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 Orson 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"--From publisher's web site (www.loa.org)
Table Of Contents
The state of music. A 1961 preface ; Our island home, or what it feels like to be a musician ; The neighbors, or chiefly about painters and painting ; Survivals of an earlier civilization, or shades of poets dead and gone ; Life among the natives, or musical habits and customs ; Life in the big city, or the civil status of musicians ; How composers eat, or who does what to whom and who gets paid ; Why composers write how, or the economic determinism of musical style ; Composers' politics, or professional bodies versus the secular state ; Intellectual freedom, or what can and cannot be censored ; How to write a piece, or functional design in music ; Back to the womb, James, or how modern music gets that way ; Back to politics, or how to run an island civilization ; A 1961 postlude -- Virgil Thomson. Missouri landscape with figures ; A Kansas City childhood ; A musician's adolescence ; My World War I ; Harvard, Jumping off place for Europe ; The first time I saw Paris ; An end to education ; Antheil, Joyce, and Pound ; Langlois, Butts and Stein ; 17 Quai Voltaire ; Europe after 1925 ; American interlude ; An epoch ends ; The new romanticism ; A portrait of Gertrude Stein ; Gertrude and the young French poet ; Neighborhoods and portraits ; Adopted by the modern art distributors ; Orchestrations and contracts ; Four saints in three cities ; Communists all around and high life too ; Show business for Uncle Sam ; Theatrical thirties ; Pastoral ; The quiet war ; Mozart, one musicians 's best friend ; The paper ; Europe in America ; All roads lead to Paris ; France in 1945 ; Europe in 1946 ; The year I was fifty ; Five years go by ; Traipsing and trouping ; A distaste for music -- From American music since 1910. America's musical maturity ; American musical traits ; The Ives case ; Ruggles ; Varèse ; Aaron Copland ; Looking backward ; Cage and the collage of noises ; Let us now praise famous men -- From Music with words : a composer's view. A formal introduction to the subject ; Word-groups ; Occasions for singing ; Making everything clear ; Helping the performers ; The longs and shorts in singing ; Instrumental helps and hindrances ; The "musical idea" ; Both words and emotions are important ; Opera in the vernacular ; The nature of opera ; After all ; Appendix [the International Phonetic Alphabet] -- Other writings. Music and culture. Music's tradition of constant change ; Music in the 1950s ; Music now ; Music does not flow -- Music for the theater. Opera librettos ; Music for Much Ado ; The rocky road of American opera ; The state of opera -- Opera reviewed. Blitzstein on record : from Regina to Juno ; The Crucible and The Wings of the Dove ; Stravinsky's Flood : a spectable for television -- Critics and criticism. On good terms with all muses ; A free critical spirit ; B. H. Haggin's Toscanini ; Instruments of criticism ; The state of music criticism -- Memories and milestones. A. Everett "Chick" Austin, Jr. ; Nadia Boulanger at seventy-five ; William Flanagan ; Elisabeth Lutyens ; Edwin Denby ; Lou Harrison at seventy -- Book reviews. Sincere appreciation ; Wanda Landowska ; How dead is Arnold Schönberg ; On being discovered ; The tradition of sensibility ; "Craft-Igor" and the whole Stravinsky ; The genius type ; Berlioz, Boulez, and Piaf ; Scenes from Show Biz ; Untold tales ; Elliott Carter ; Wickedly wonderful widow ; Making black music ; A good writer ; The New Grove ; Copland on Copland
State of music and other writings
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