Saturday, May 28, 2011

How Virgil Thomson Decided Music Made No Sense

It was also at Thones-les-Bains that Virgil Thomson, in a hotel room, lying on a down quilt he had placed on the floor for sun bath purposes, received the revelation that "Music makes no sense." He had, of course, been preparing himself for such a revelation in all his previous work. For, if one can break the rules given by a strict teacher and receive, nevertheless, the teacher's congratulations, obviously music makes no sense.

Passage deleted by Virgil Thomson from John Cage's manuscript, eventually published in the Cage/Hoover Virgil Thomson: His Life and Music. (Source: Tommasini: Virgil Thomson: Composer on the Aisle.)


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