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Virgil Thomson

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Virgil Thomson

Influential writer and critic

Born November 25, 1896, Kansas City, Missouri
Died September 30, 1989, New York, New York
About Virgil Thomson

Possibly the most important operatic composer of the early twentieth century, Thomson's two collaborations with Gertrude Stein have overshadowed his final opera, Lord Byron. A fourth opera, based on Webster's The Duchess of Malfi, was never completed.

In addition to his compositions, Thomson's writings on music were highly influential to a generation of young composers.

  • Four Saints in Three Acts, opera in four acts
    Libretto by Gertrude Stein.
    February 8, 1934, Avery Theater, Hartford, Connecticut
  • The Duchess of Malfi
    Libretto after the play by John Webster.
    composed c. 1938
  • The Mother Of Us All, opera in two acts
    Libretto by Gertrude Stein.
    May 7, 1947, Brander Matthews Hall, Columbia University, New York, New York
  • Lord Byron, opera in three acts and an epilogue
    Libretto by Jack Larson.
    April 20, 1972, The Julliard Theater, Lincoln Center, New York, New York

Discography Search for recordings of the music of Virgil Thomson at Amazon.com

Virgil Thomson

Lord Byron

Monadonck Music/Bolle

2 CD / Koch International Classics 3-7124-2Y6x2 (1992)

Virgil Thomson

The Mother of Us All


2 CD / New World 80288 (1992)

Virgil Thomson

Four Saints In Three Acts (abridged) (with The Plow That Broke the Plains)


CD / BMG/RCA Victor 68163 (1996)

Excerpts from Lord Byron


Virgil Thomson

Orchestral Works

Martyn Hill, Budapest Symphony Orch./Bolle

CD / Albany 17 (1994)

Virgil Thomson

Four Saints In Three Acts

Orchestra of Our Time

2 CD / Nonesuch 79035 (1992)

Bibliography Search for books by and about Virgil Thomson at Amazon.com

"I say never again" from The Mother Of Us All


G. Schirmer American Opera Anthology: Mezzo-Soprano

G. Schirmer 2004

"Angel More" from The Mother of Us All

"Once in a while" from Four Saints in Three Acts

"What what is it" from The Mother of Us All


G. Schirmer American Opera Anthology: Baritone/Bass

G. Schirmer 2004

Last update: January 1, 2009