Composers of Today: A Comprehensive Biographical and Critical Guide to Modern Composers of All Nations

By David Ewen | Go to book overview
Lucy Lucy let Lucy Lucy Lily Lily Lily Lily Lily let Lily Lucy Lucy let Lily. Let Lucy Lily," is characteristic--they were unanimous in calling Virgil Thomson's score decidedly successful. "Mr. Thomson's opera," as Lawrence Gilman wrote in review, "prevails by virtue of its music. . . . It may be said that it is deceptively simple, a little self- consciously candid and naive, actually very wily and deft and slick, often subtly and wittily illusive, distinguished by an artful banality. This is a suave and charming score."The success of Four Saints in Three Acts has drawn the attention of the music world to Thomson's formerly obscure symphonic and chamber-music composed during his long stay in Paris. In his symphonies, chamber and choral music, Thomson's pen has been equally artful and felicitous in expressing sparkle, wit and malice; and it can be sober and meditative. Virgil Thomson is now numbered among the most important of the younger American composers. Virgil Thomson is blond, tho slightly bald, square-faced, and possesses a youthful expression. He is said to possess considerable social charm. He is a gifted cook, a specialist in the preparation of salad dressings and in the treatment of rice. He has a facile flow of conversation, which is often amusingly ironical; he talks a great deal, seldom about music and often about food. He loves gossip.Principal works by Virgil Thomson:
ORCHESTRA : Symphony on an American Hymn Tune; Second Symphony; Two Sentimental Tangos.
CHORAL: Capital Capitals; Mass (for chorus and percussion).
OPERA: Four Saints in Three Acts.
CHAMBER MUSIC : Sonata da Chiesa; Portraits.
Pieces for piano, organ, etc.; songs.

About Virgil Thomson:

Howard J. T. Our American Music. Ménestral 93:284June 26, 1931.


Ernest Toch 1887-

ERNEST TOCH, an important Austrian modernist, was born in Vienna on December 7, 1887. He was brought up in a mercantile family where music was not very well known. Ernest proved to be the exception in his family by revealing alertness, aptitude and love for the musical art at a very young age. As a child, he learned to read music only by watching his friends play the piano, and it was not long before, with this elementary equipment in his grasp, he began to compose little snatches in the greatest of secrecy. As a child, too, he revealed an enormous interest in timbres of all kinds. "I can remember," he tells us, "as a child listening to the stone-cutter while he was making cobblestones and taking great pleasure from the different qualities which the ear perceived each time the hammer struck a fresh blow. I can also remember playing tunes for hours on the wooden boards of graduated lengths which formed the gate to our country-garden in Vienna."

His father wanted him to become a professional man, refusing to take his musical inclinations seriously. And so, Ernest Toch was entered in the Vienna University for the study of medicine. By this time, music had become sufficiently important in his life to compel him to follow its study seriously in leisure hours. This Toch did without the benefit of any systematic instruction from trained teachers. As a matter of fact, except for a few months spent at

____________________
Toch: tŏsh

-279-

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