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VIRGIL THOMSON  

(1896 - 1989)

The American composer, critic and conductor Virgil Thomson studied at Harvard and was then able to spend some time in Paris, where he had lessons with Nadia Boulanger and met Copland, Cocteau, Les Six, Joyce, Satie, Hemingway and Gertrude Stein, returning to Paris after studies at the Juilliard School in New York. In America again in 1940, he was able to continue his earlier work as a writer and critic, while composing a series of influential works.

Stage Works

Thomson’s first opera with Gertrude Stein, Four Saints in Three Acts, first staged with a black cast in 1934, caused a scandal but established his reputation. It was followed by The Mother of Us All (a further collaboration with Stein) and, in 1968, Lord Byron. He also wrote music for ballets and for films, the latter including the score for Louisana Story.

Vocal and Instrumental Music

Songs by Thomson include settings of poems by Campion, Blake and Gertrude Stein; choral music ranges from Mass settings to a cantata based on poems by Edward Lear. His instrumental music is of some variety, including symphonies, ensemble works of varied inspiration and instrumentation, duo sonatas, and works for piano and for organ.

Box Set Release Catalogue Number
AMERICAN SPIRIT (The): Roots and Transformations Naxos 8.505233

View by Role: Classical Artist | Classical Composer | Lyricist | Conductor
Role: Classical Artist 
Album Title  Catalogue No  Work Category 
Role: Classical Composer 
Album Title
Catalogue No  Work Category 
AMERICAN WORKS FOR FLUTE AND ORCHESTRA Cedille
CDR90000-046
Concertos
BOWLES, P.: Piano Works (Complete), Vol. 1 (Invencia Piano Duo) Naxos
8.559786
Instrumental
CORIGLIANO: Red Violin Caprices (The) / Violin Sonata / THOMSON, V.: 5 Ladies / Portraits (Quint) Naxos
8.559364
Instrumental
PERRY, W.: Jamestown Concerto / SCHUMAN, W.: A Song of Orpheus / THOMSON, V.: Cello Concerto (Hanani) Naxos
8.559344
Concertos
PIANO MUSIC IN AMERICA, 1900-1945 Vox Box
CD3X-3027
Instrumental
SCHUMAN, W.: String Quartet No. 3 / HANSON, H.: String Quartet, Op. 23 (American String Quartets, 1900-1950) (Kohon Quartet) Vox Box
CDX-5090
Chamber Music
THOMPSON, V.: Cello Concerto / Mother of Us All Suite (Silva, Los Angeles Janssen Symphony, Janssen) (1951) Naxos Classical Archives
9.81036
Concertos, Orchestral
THOMSON, V.: 4 Saints in 3 Acts (abridged version) / Louisiana Story Suite (Ormandy, Thomson) (1947-1949) Naxos Classical Archives
9.81110
Opera, Orchestral
THOMSON, V.: Louisiana Story Suite / ROREM: Symphony No. 3 / SCHUMAN: Symphony No. 7 Vox Box
CDX-5092
Orchestral
THOMSON, V.: Plow that Broke the Plains (The) / The River (NTSC) Naxos
2.110521
Classical Documentary
THOMSON, V.: Plow that Broke the Plains (The) / The River (Post-Classical Ensemble, Gil-Ordonez) Naxos
8.559291
Film and TV Music
THOMSON, V.: Symphonies Nos. 2 and 3 / Symphony on a Hymn Tune Naxos
8.559022
Orchestral
THOMSON, V.: Vocal and Chamber Works Naxos
8.559198
Chamber Music, Vocal
UNITED STATES ARMY FIELD BAND AND SOLDIERS' CHORUS: Legacy of Nadia Boulanger (The) Altissimo
75442261382
Choral - Secular
Vocal and Chamber Music - BOWLES, P. / HARRISON, L. / CAGE, J. (Composer-Critics of the New York Herald Tribune) (Barab, L. Lawrence, C. Bussotti) Other Minds
OM1024-2
Vocal Ensemble
Role: Lyricist 
Album Title
Catalogue No  Work Category 
Role: Conductor 
Album Title  Catalogue No  Work Category 




 
 
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