Evoking the Shade of Virgil [Thomson], One of Our Nation’s Greatest Critics Takes on the Status Quo and Much, Much More


When it comes to an end – and alas it surely will – I suspect to look back on the Tommasini era at the NY Times as one of the brightest and best for music criticism in the waning years of print journalism. In this powerful article he makes a compelling case for idealism in reviews, separating the purpose of such commentaries from the reporting of routine arts news and bolstering his position with a succinct reference to one of his greatest predecessors in this business, the writer and composer Virgil Thomson (who, caught napping during a Toscanini concert, claimed he always awoke if something interesting happened…).

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