Thomson Library of America Volume Now Available
Following on the acclaimed 2014 edition of Virgil Thomson’s collected newspaper music reviews, Library of America and Pulitzer Prize–winning music critic Tim Page now present Thomson’s four classic full-length works in one volume for the first time.
An engrossing tour of the tumultuous twentieth-century cultural scene and Thomson’s extraordinary career as both a proponent and a practitioner of musical modernism, the volume opens with The State of Music, the no-holds-barred 1939 polemic that made Thomson’s name as a critic. The autobiography Virgil Thomson is a classic American memoir, marked by a buoyant wit, a true gift for verbal portrait-making, and a cast of characters including Aaron Copland, Gertrude Stein, James Joyce, Paul Bowles, John Houseman, and Orson Welles. American Music Since 1910 is a series of incisive essays on the lives and works of Ives, Ruggles, Varèse, Copland, Cage, and others who helped define a national musical idiom. Music with Words, Thomson’s final book, is a distillation of a subject he knew better than perhaps any other American composer: how to set English—especially American English—to music, in opera and art song. The volume is rounded out by a selection of Thomson’s magazine journalism from 1957 to 1984—thirty-seven pieces, most of them never before collected.
Both volumes of Thomson’s writings are published with support from the Virgil Thomson Foundation, Ltd.