Virgil Thomson: Chamber Works
Liner Notes   Cat. No. NWCR894     Release Date: 2007-01-01

Renée Jolles, violin; Shem Guibbory, violin; Ronald D. Carbone, viola; Maxine Neuman, cello; Mark Oswald, baritone; Elizabeth Wright, piano; Mayuki Fukuhara, violin; Eriko Sato, violin; Masako Yanagita, viola; Michael Finckel, cello; Veronica Salas, viola; Michael Dumouchel, Eb clarinet; James Stubbs, trumpet; Joseph Anderer, horn; Nathan Durham, trombone

“The way to write American music is simple. All you have to do is to be an American and then write any kind of music you wish. There is precedent and model here for all the kinds. And any Americanism worth bothering about is everybody’s property anyway.”
—Virgil Thomson, 1948

These lines—succinct, straightforward, plausible—are typical of Virgil Thomson’s music criticism, and his many compositions, written over the course of some sixty-five years, exemplify his credo. How delighted he would have been with this recording, which brings together several of the works he valued most highly—the two String Quartets; the spare, unprecedented Stabat Mater; the radical Sonata da Chiesa, which helped establish the young composer in French musical and literary circles, and The Feast of Love, a late setting of a classical text.

Perhaps the New York Times's John Rockwell summed up his accomplishment most adroitly: “As a Missourian who attended Harvard, an American in Paris, a musician among critics and a critic among musicians, Thomson has really always been a little bit of an outsider. His music and his prose may have been artfully simple, but he avoided the primitivism of some American outsiders, and he used his outsider perspective to see more truly than most of us can. Above all, he never turned his back on any of his homelands. Indeed, in his music and in his prose, he has given us as profound a vision of American culture as anyone has yet achieved.”


This title, originally issued on the CRI label, is now available for order from New World Records as an on-demand CD (CD-R). It can also be downloaded in MP3/320, FLAC and/or WAV format(s).

Various Artists

Virgil Thomson: Chamber Works

MP3/320 $9.99
FLAC $9.99
WAV $9.99
CD $15.99

Track Listing

String Quartet No. 1: I. Allegro Moderato
Virgil Thomson
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String Quartet No. 1: II. Adagio
Virgil Thomson
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String Quartet No. 1: III. Tempo di Walzer
Virgil Thomson
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String Quartet No. 1: IV. Lento, Presto
Virgil Thomson
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Feast of Love
Virgil Thomson
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Stabat Mater for Soprano and String Quartet
Virgil Thomson
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String Quartet No. 2: I. Allegro Moderato
Virgil Thomson
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String Quartet No. 2: II. Tempo di Valzer
Virgil Thomson
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String Quartet No. 2: III. Adagio Sostenuto
Virgil Thomson
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String Quartet No. 2: IV. Allegretto
Virgil Thomson
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Sonata da Chiesa: I. Chorale
Virgil Thomson
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Sonata da Chiesa: II. Tango
Virgil Thomson
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Sonata da Chiesa: III. Fugue
Virgil Thomson
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