Childe Virgil in Operaland

TITLE: LORD BYRON

COMPOSER: VIRGIL THOMSON

LABEL: KOCH INTERNATIONAL CLASSICS

THE BOTTOM LINE: Thomson's cheery, uncomplicated score is at odds with the poet's flamboyant life and works.

Virgil Thomson was a first-rate music critic, able author, brilliant dinner- party conversationalist and world-class gadfly, but he wasn't much of a composer -- which is, alas, primarily how he thought of himself. Turning his back on nearly every major compositional technique of the 20th century, with the notable exception of pastiche, Thomson wrote archly naive, perversely | wholesome music -- tonal, uncomplicated and almost completely unmemorable.

Thomson's creative reputation today rests primarily on...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!