Music: Sophisticate from Missouri

"For good or ill," says Composer-Critic Virgil Thomson, "I've lived off the products and byproducts of my musical talents since I was 25." The products have included some of the best theater music (Four Saints in Three Acts and suites from Louisiana Story and The River) written in the U.S. Among the byproducts is some of the wittiest and most perceptive musical criticism. This week, at a concert of his music in Manhattan's Town Hall, Thomson celebrated his 63th birthday and 40 years of passionate proselytizing for modern music.

Included on the program were...

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