Music: Beat Symphonist?

Are young U.S. composers, like poets and novelists, turning beat? The New York Times's Howard Taubman suggested the question last week in commenting on the New York premiere of Symphony No. 1 by 25-year-old Indianapolis-born Easley Blackwood. The work's jaded tone, said Critic Taubman, marked it as "a reflection of the beat generation."

Blackwood's composition, performed by Charles Munch and the Boston Symphony, was grave, withdrawn, and emotionally muted to a kind of rasping, wearied monotone. It nevertheless revealed Blackwood as a skilled technician and a stoutly original musical thinker. The winner of...

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