Music: Tired of Listening

Being a music critic and a composer at the same time is a little like playing quarterback and simultaneously having to blow the referee's whistle. But Composer-Critic Virgil Thomson has long managed to write his own music and blow the whistle on the music of others without missing a play. Whether he was reporting on the nuances in a symphony performance, "discovering" a debutante performer, delivering an essay on one of the intricacies of composition itself, or unabashedly plugging his own works, he hardly ever bored a reader. Last week, after 14 years of what he calls a "honeymoon" with New...

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