THE STATE OF MUSIC by Virgil Thomson


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A composer analyzes the hows and whys and wherefores of being a musician. He sees it as an isolated field of human activity, surrounded by the other arts as neighbors -- a not wholly convincing thesis, as he has presented it. He divides musicians into two classifications, -- composers and executants, and the field of music into four circles, -- the large circle of minimum musical ability, the specialized instrumental skills, the orchestral conducting, and musical composition, which he sees as the summit. He discusses in detail sources of income of composers and the effect on style of composition. A bit controversial this. The best chapter in the book is that on ""How to write a piece."" His concluding chapter is weak, as he attempts to expand his theories on ""how to run an island civilization."" The book as a whole should sell to the general musical public. It is not too profound for the amateur, and is amusing in parts.

Pub Date: Nov. 15th, 1939
Publisher: Morrow