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Vocal and Chamber Works Naxos 8.559198

Composer: Virgil Thomson

Lyricist(s): Thomas Campion, Marianne Moore, Virgil Thomson

Ensemble: Continuum

Artist(s): Rachel Evans, Alyssa Hess, David Krakauer, Ellen Lang, Joel
Sachs, Cheryl Seltzer, Mia Wu

Virgil Thomson was born in Kansas City, Missouri, but spent much of the 1920s
and 1930s in Paris, where his circle included such artistic giants as James
Joyce, Pablo Picasso, especially Gertrude Stein, with whom he formed a legendary
friendship. Much of Thomson's early music, which comprises settings of
Stein's poetry and the Synthetic Waltzes, balances modernity and classicism;
his Sonata for Violin and Piano is informed bu the spirit of neo-romanticism
that later spread in Paris. Yet all along his style also manifested truly
'American' qualities. Returning to the U.S. in 1940, he became the
influential music critic of the New York Herald Tribune. His later compositions
bursting with lyricism, include his glorious settings of Thomas
Campion's poetry and the two contrasting vocal works of 1963, Praises and
Prayers and Two by Marianne Moore.

Vocal and Chamber Works Review

How wonderful it is that Naxos is conducting such a creative -
whimsical, almost - survey of American music. The Buffalo Philharmonic
Orchestra has participated in this series, with music of Griffes, Converse and
others, and it's fascinating, how very different the various discs in the
series are. The New York-based new music group Continuum poses like something
out of Vogue magazine: smiling widely, clad in red.

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