Music: The Compleat Composer

Jean Barraqué is a 33-year-old French composer who detests daylight, the concertgoing public ("Asses! Imbeciles!") and his own music. His ambition in life, he explains, is "to live 60 years, more or less, taking the bus and the Métro and avoiding suicide." Until recently, there was an excellent chance that Barraqué would achieve this modest, Prufrockian goal. But now Composer Barraqué, who has written only "a few hundred pages of manuscript" and has never been performed in the U.S., stands in sudden danger of becoming a celebrity. In a book titled Since Debussy:...

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