Music: Classical Records

Virgil Thomson: Music for the Films (Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Neville Marriner, conductor; Angel; $6.98). Virgil Thomson is best known for his operas Four Saints in Three Acts and The Mother of Us All. Among America's serious composers, however, he pioneered the art of writing music for films with his scores for a pair of Department of Agriculture documentaries. The Plow that Broke the Plains (1936) and The River (1937). Thomson borrowed hymns ("the doxology") and cowboy songs (The Streets of Laredo) and added his own folk-style tunes in The Plow. These two...