This essential reader includes Thomson's essays on making a living as a musician; his articles on classic composers; his relation to his contemporaries; his articles on newcomers in the music world, including John Cage and Pierre Boulez; his autobiographical writings and commentary on his own works.
"Beethoven's Overture to Egmont is a classic hors d'oeuvre. Nobody's digestion was ever spoiled by it, and no late comer has ever lost much by missing it." Thus waxed composer and music critic Virgil Thomson (1896-1989) about a 1940 season-opener of the Philharmonic Symphony Society of New York, and there's more where that came from: Virgil Thomson: A Reader Selected Writings, 1924-1984 gathers the best of the writer's brilliantly acerbic criticism. The volume, edited by Richard Kostelanetz (Dictionary of the Avant-Gardes), includes Thomson's musings on such subjects as "Mozart's Leftism," his relationship with contemporaries such as Kurt Weill and Aaron Copland, the staging of opera, and the careers of everyone from John Cage to Gertrude Stein.