Sunday, October 11, 2009

Today's Birthdays

George Bridgetower (1780-1860)
Fernando De Lucia (1860-1925)
Albert Stoessel (1894-1943)
Eugene Weigel (1910)
Art Blakey (1919-1990)
Ennio Morricone (1928)
David Rendall (1948)

and a piece of history, courtesy of the New Music Box:

On October 10, 1940, Virgil Thomson began a 14 year stint as chief music critic of the New York Herald Tribune, arguably the most visible journalistic position ever held by a prominent American composer.

With his first published review, titled "Age Without Honor," Thomson set the tone for an agenda that put American composers first, excoriating the New York Philharmonic for a program that "was anything but a memorable experience." In this first of his many pronouncements against the Finnish composer Jean Sibelius, he denounced as "vulgar, self-indulgent, and provincial beyond all description." His most biting prose, however, he saved for the orchestra itself: "As a friend remarked who had never been to one of these concerts before, "I understand now why the Philharmonic is not a part of New York's intellectual life.'"

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