Music: Stein Song

"To be funny," the late Gertrude Stein wrote, "you have to take everything in the kitchen and put it on the floor." Just about everything from the U.S.'s historical kitchen was on the stage last week at Columbia University; whatever was missing (such as a pinch of salt) could easily be added by the listener. The occasion was the first performance of Gertrude Stein's last finished work, a pleasant and unpretentious little opera, The Mother of Us All.

The score was by an old hand at setting Stein to song, Composer-Critic Virgil Thomson, who...

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