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Virgil Thomson (1896-1989): Complete Songs / Sarah Pelletier, soprano; Lynne McMurtry, contralto; William Hite, tenor; Aaron Engebreth, baritone; Alison DÆAmato, piano; Linda Osborn, piano; John McDonald, percussion

Album Summary

>Thomson, Virgil : Vernal Equinox, song for voice & piano
>Thomson, Virgil : The Sunflower, song for voice & piano
>Thomson, Virgil : Susie Asado
>Thomson, Virgil : Preciosilla, song for voice & piano
>Thomson, Virgil : Five Songs from William Blake, for baritone & piano
>Thomson, Virgil : Portrait of F[rances] B[lood], portrait for voice & piano
>Thomson, Virgil : La Valse grégorienne, song cycle for voice & piano
>Thomson, Virgil : Film
>Thomson, Virgil : The Tiger, song for voice & piano
>Thomson, Virgil : Le Berceau de Gertrude Stein, ou Le mystère de la rue de Fleurus, song for voice & piano
>Thomson, Virgil : Les Soirées bagnolaises, song for voice & piano
>Thomson, Virgil : La Belle en dormant, song cycle for voice & piano
>Thomson, Virgil : A son Altesse la Princesse Antoinette Murat, song for voice & piano
>Thomson, Virgil : La Seine, song for voice & piano
>Thomson, Virgil : Jour de Chaleur aux bains de mer, song for voice & piano
>Thomson, Virgil : Air de Phedre (Phaedra's Farewell), song for soprano & piano
>Thomson, Virgil : Commentaire sur Saint Jérome, song for voice & piano
>Thomson, Virgil : Le Singe et le léopard (The Monkey and the Leopard), song for voice & piano
>Thomson, Virgil : At the Spring, song for voice & piano
>Thomson, Virgil : Dirge, for voice & piano
>Thomson, Virgil : Shakespeare Songs (5)
>Thomson, Virgil : Consider, Lord, song for voice & piano
>Thomson, Virgil : The Bell doth Toll, song for voice & piano
>Thomson, Virgil : Remember Adam's Fall, song for voice & piano
>Thomson, Virgil : John Peel, song for baritone & piano
>Thomson, Virgil : Look, How the Floor of Heav'n, song for voice & piano
>Thomson, Virgil : If Thou a Reason Dost Desire to Know, song for voice & piano
>Thomson, Virgil : Praises and Prayers, song cycle for voice & piano
>Thomson, Virgil : Three Sentences from the Song of Solomon, for voice & piano
>Thomson, Virgil : Five Phrases from the Song of Solomon, for soprano & percussionist
>Thomson, Virgil : Oraison funèbre de Queen Henriette-Marie de France, Reine de la Grande-Bretagne, for voice & piano
>Thomson, Virgil : Mass, for voice & piano
>Thomson, Virgil : My Shepherd will Supply my Need
>Thomson, Virgil : Two by Marianne Moore, songs for voice & piano
>Thomson, Virgil : Go to Sleep, for voice (text by Liebowitz)
>Thomson, Virgil : Courtship of the Yongly-Bongly-Bo, song for voice and piano (from "Cantata on Poems of Edward Lear")
>Thomson, Virgil : Chamber Music, song for voice & piano
>Thomson, Virgil : A Lullaby for Margaret Wheeler, for voice & piano
>Thomson, Virgil : From "Sneeden's Landing Variations"
>Thomson, Virgil : What Is It?, song for voice & piano
>Thomson, Virgil : Go to Sleep, for voice (text by Lorentz)
>Thomson, Virgil : The Cat, song for soprano, baritone & piano
>Thomson, Virgil : Tres Estampas de Niñez, song cycle for voice & piano
>Thomson, Virgil : Go to Sleep, for voice (text by Smallens)
>Thomson, Virgil : Mostly About Love, song cycle for voice & piano ("Songs for Alice Estey")
>Thomson, Virgil : Collected Poems, for soprano, baritone & orchestra (or piano)
Performers Composer

Notes & Reviews:

These discs offer the most complete recorded collection of works for voice and piano of Virgil Thomson (1896 - 1989), one of the most important American composers of the twentieth century. Thomson wrote songs throughout his career and they offer a unique window into his changing musical concerns and his compositional evolution. Since this recording includes works previously unpublished and unrecorded, several of which are substantial in themselves and important to his development as a composer, it makes possible a more complete understanding of his work. Among the major discoveries is the premiere recording of the grandly expressive and beautiful Oraison Funèbre, which, without sounding like it at all, evokes Satie's Socrate. Thomson wrote that the great song composers - Schubert, Schumann, Brahms, Wolf, Mahler, Faure, Debussy, Duparc, Ravel, and Poulenc - accomplished their miracles through their ability to make the music "not only of equal quality with the verse but also its mate. It gets inside a poem and stays there, intertwined unforgettably, never to be thought of henceforth as not a part of the whole idea." He contrasted these works with the songs of Purcell, which he thought, although very beautiful and expertly done, nonetheless did not fuse the music and text - the music was merely "decorative." Thomson's songs run the gamut of his classification. If one sets out to set words to music in a way that deliberately avoids interpreting or illustrating them, one probably sets up a situation where the music and words are separable. So the early Stein settings, the Shakespeare Songs, and the Old English Songs may (or may not) be very beautifully and elegantly decorative, but it is difficult not to think of the music of Mostly About Love or Praises and Prayers, or the Blake Songs as anything other than an inseparable part of the whole. There the music gets right inside of the words, and right inside of us.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Distler Hall, Granoff Music Center, Tufts University (08/15/2015-08/19/2015).



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Works Details

>Thomson, Virgil : Vernal Equinox, song for voice & piano
  • Performers: Linda Osborn (Piano); Sarah Pelletier
  • Notes: Distler Hall, Granoff Music Center, Tufts University (08/15/2015-08/19/2015)
  • Running Time: 1 min. 49 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1920

>Thomson, Virgil : The Sunflower, song for voice & piano
  • Performers: William Hite (Tenor); Linda Osborn (Piano)
  • Notes: Distler Hall, Granoff Music Center, Tufts University (08/15/2015-08/19/2015)
  • Running Time: 1 min. 18 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1920

>Thomson, Virgil : Susie Asado
  • Performer: Alison d'Amato (Piano)
  • Notes: Distler Hall, Granoff Music Center, Tufts University (08/15/2015-08/19/2015)
  • Running Time: 1 min. 41 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1926

>Thomson, Virgil : Preciosilla, song for voice & piano
  • Performers: Linda Osborn (Piano); Sarah Pelletier
  • Notes: Distler Hall, Granoff Music Center, Tufts University (08/15/2015-08/19/2015)
  • Running Time: 4 min. 4 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1927

>Thomson, Virgil : Five Songs from William Blake, for baritone & piano
  • Performers: Alison d'Amato (Piano); Aaron Engebreth (Baritone)
  • Notes: Distler Hall, Granoff Music Center, Tufts University (08/15/2015-08/19/2015)
  • Running Time: 15 min. 31 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1951

>Thomson, Virgil : Portrait of F[rances] B[lood], portrait for voice & piano
  • Performer: Alison d'Amato (Piano)
  • Notes: Distler Hall, Granoff Music Center, Tufts University (08/15/2015-08/19/2015)
  • Running Time: 5 min. 56 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 09/1929

>Thomson, Virgil : La Valse grégorienne, song cycle for voice & piano
  • Performers: William Hite (Tenor); Linda Osborn (Piano)
  • Notes: Distler Hall, Granoff Music Center, Tufts University (08/15/2015-08/19/2015)
  • Running Time: 2 min. 9 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Waltz
  • Written: 1927

>Thomson, Virgil : Film :: Deux soeurs qui ne sont pas soeurs (Two Sisters Who Are Not Sisters), song for voice & p
  • Performers: William Hite (Tenor); Linda Osborn (Piano)
  • Notes: Distler Hall, Granoff Music Center, Tufts University (08/15/2015-08/19/2015)
  • Running Time: 5 min. 1 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1930

>Thomson, Virgil : The Tiger, song for voice & piano
  • Performer: Alison d'Amato (Piano)
  • Notes: Distler Hall, Granoff Music Center, Tufts University (08/15/2015-08/19/2015)
  • Running Time: 1 min. 49 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1926

>Thomson, Virgil : Le Berceau de Gertrude Stein, ou Le mystère de la rue de Fleurus, song for voice & piano
  • Performers: William Hite (Tenor); Linda Osborn (Piano)
  • Notes: Distler Hall, Granoff Music Center, Tufts University (08/15/2015-08/19/2015)
  • Running Time: 3 min. 19 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1928

>Thomson, Virgil : Les Soirées bagnolaises, song for voice & piano
  • Performers: Linda Osborn (Piano); Sarah Pelletier
  • Notes: Distler Hall, Granoff Music Center, Tufts University (08/15/2015-08/19/2015)
  • Running Time: 7 min. 6 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1928

>Thomson, Virgil : La Belle en dormant, song cycle for voice & piano
  • Performers: William Hite (Tenor); Linda Osborn (Piano)
  • Notes: Distler Hall, Granoff Music Center, Tufts University (08/15/2015-08/19/2015)
  • Running Time: 4 min. 9 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1931

>Thomson, Virgil : A son Altesse la Princesse Antoinette Murat, song for voice & piano
  • Performers: Linda Osborn (Piano); Sarah Pelletier
  • Notes: Distler Hall, Granoff Music Center, Tufts University (08/15/2015-08/19/2015)
  • Running Time: 1 min. 51 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1928

>Thomson, Virgil : La Seine, song for voice & piano
  • Performer: Alison d'Amato (Piano)
  • Notes: Distler Hall, Granoff Music Center, Tufts University (08/15/2015-08/19/2015)
  • Running Time: 2 min. 35 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1928

>Thomson, Virgil : Jour de Chaleur aux bains de mer, song for voice & piano
  • Performers: Linda Osborn (Piano); Sarah Pelletier
  • Notes: Distler Hall, Granoff Music Center, Tufts University (08/15/2015-08/19/2015)
  • Running Time: 1 min. 25 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1928

>Thomson, Virgil : Air de Phedre (Phaedra's Farewell), song for soprano & piano
  • Performer: Alison d'Amato (Piano)
  • Notes: Distler Hall, Granoff Music Center, Tufts University (08/15/2015-08/19/2015)
  • Running Time: 6 min. 9 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1930

>Thomson, Virgil : Commentaire sur Saint Jérome, song for voice & piano
  • Performer: Alison d'Amato (Piano)
  • Notes: Distler Hall, Granoff Music Center, Tufts University (08/15/2015-08/19/2015)
  • Running Time: 1 min. 3 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1928

>Thomson, Virgil : Le Singe et le léopard (The Monkey and the Leopard), song for voice & piano
  • Performers: Alison d'Amato (Piano); Aaron Engebreth (Baritone)
  • Notes: Distler Hall, Granoff Music Center, Tufts University (08/15/2015-08/19/2015)
  • Running Time: 3 min. 32 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1930

>Thomson, Virgil : At the Spring, song for voice & piano
  • Performers: Alison d'Amato (Piano); Aaron Engebreth (Baritone)
  • Notes: Distler Hall, Granoff Music Center, Tufts University (08/15/2015-08/19/2015)
  • Running Time: 1 min. 33 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1955

>Thomson, Virgil : Dirge, for voice & piano
  • Performers: Alison d'Amato (Piano); Aaron Engebreth (Baritone)
  • Notes: Distler Hall, Granoff Music Center, Tufts University (08/15/2015-08/19/2015)
  • Running Time: 1 min. 24 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1939

>Thomson, Virgil : Shakespeare Songs (5)
  • Performers: William Hite (Tenor); Linda Osborn (Piano)
  • Notes: Distler Hall, Granoff Music Center, Tufts University (08/15/2015-08/19/2015)
  • Running Time: 10 min. 31 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Vocal
  • Written: 1957

>Thomson, Virgil : Consider, Lord, song for voice & piano
  • Performers: Alison d'Amato (Piano); Aaron Engebreth (Baritone)
  • Notes: Distler Hall, Granoff Music Center, Tufts University (08/15/2015-08/19/2015)
  • Running Time: 1 min. 34 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1955

>Thomson, Virgil : The Bell doth Toll, song for voice & piano
  • Performer: Alison d'Amato (Piano)
  • Notes: Distler Hall, Granoff Music Center, Tufts University (08/15/2015-08/19/2015)
  • Running Time: 1 min. 37 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1955

>Thomson, Virgil : Remember Adam's Fall, song for voice & piano
  • Performer: Alison d'Amato (Piano)
  • Notes: Distler Hall, Granoff Music Center, Tufts University (08/15/2015-08/19/2015)
  • Running Time: 2 min. 46 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1955

>Thomson, Virgil : John Peel, song for baritone & piano
  • Performers: Alison d'Amato (Piano); Aaron Engebreth (Baritone)
  • Notes: Distler Hall, Granoff Music Center, Tufts University (08/15/2015-08/19/2015)
  • Running Time: 3 min. 19 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1955

>Thomson, Virgil : Look, How the Floor of Heav'n, song for voice & piano
  • Performers: William Hite (Tenor); Linda Osborn (Piano)
  • Notes: Distler Hall, Granoff Music Center, Tufts University (08/15/2015-08/19/2015)
  • Running Time: 1 min. 33 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1955

>Thomson, Virgil : If Thou a Reason Dost Desire to Know, song for voice & piano
  • Performers: Alison d'Amato (Piano); Aaron Engebreth (Baritone)
  • Notes: Distler Hall, Granoff Music Center, Tufts University (08/15/2015-08/19/2015)
  • Running Time: 2 min. 47 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1955-1958

>Thomson, Virgil : Praises and Prayers, song cycle for voice & piano
  • Performer: Alison d'Amato (Piano)
  • Notes: Distler Hall, Granoff Music Center, Tufts University (08/15/2015-08/19/2015)
  • Running Time: 16 min. 11 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1963

>Thomson, Virgil : Three Sentences from the Song of Solomon, for voice & piano
  • Performers: Linda Osborn (Piano); Sarah Pelletier
  • Notes: Distler Hall, Granoff Music Center, Tufts University (08/15/2015-08/19/2015)
  • Running Time: 3 min. 13 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1924

>Thomson, Virgil : Five Phrases from the Song of Solomon, for soprano & percussionist
  • Performers: John McDonald (Percussion); Sarah Pelletier
  • Notes: Distler Hall, Granoff Music Center, Tufts University (08/15/2015-08/19/2015)
  • Running Time: 5 min. 5 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1924-1926

>Thomson, Virgil : Oraison funèbre de Queen Henriette-Marie de France, Reine de la Grande-Bretagne, for voice & piano
  • Performers: William Hite (Tenor); Linda Osborn (Piano)
  • Notes: Distler Hall, Granoff Music Center, Tufts University (08/15/2015-08/19/2015)
  • Running Time: 12 min. 22 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1930

>Thomson, Virgil : Mass, for voice & piano
  • Performer: Alison d'Amato (Piano)
  • Notes: Distler Hall, Granoff Music Center, Tufts University (08/15/2015-08/19/2015)
  • Running Time: 2 min. 18 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1960

>Thomson, Virgil : My Shepherd will Supply my Need
  • Performers: Alison d'Amato (Piano); William Hite (Tenor); Sarah Pelletier
  • Notes: Distler Hall, Granoff Music Center, Tufts University (08/15/2015-08/19/2015)
  • Running Time: 4 min. 16 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1937

>Thomson, Virgil : Two by Marianne Moore, songs for voice & piano
  • Performers: Linda Osborn (Piano); Sarah Pelletier
  • Notes: Distler Hall, Granoff Music Center, Tufts University (08/15/2015-08/19/2015)
  • Running Time: 4 min. 40 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1963

>Thomson, Virgil : Go to Sleep, for voice (text by Liebowitz)
  • Notes: Distler Hall, Granoff Music Center, Tufts University (08/15/2015-08/19/2015)
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1979

>Thomson, Virgil : Courtship of the Yongly-Bongly-Bo, song for voice and piano (from "Cantata on Poems of Edward Lear")
  • Performers: Alison d'Amato (Piano); Aaron Engebreth (Baritone)
  • Notes: Distler Hall, Granoff Music Center, Tufts University (08/15/2015-08/19/2015)
  • Running Time: 6 min. 35 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Cantata/Oratorio
  • Written: 1973-1974

>Thomson, Virgil : Chamber Music, song for voice & piano
  • Performers: William Hite (Tenor); Linda Osborn (Piano)
  • Notes: Distler Hall, Granoff Music Center, Tufts University (08/15/2015-08/19/2015)
  • Running Time: 2 min. 15 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1931

>Thomson, Virgil : A Lullaby for Margaret Wheeler, for voice & piano
  • Performer: Sarah Pelletier
  • Notes: Distler Hall, Granoff Music Center, Tufts University (08/15/2015-08/19/2015)
  • Running Time: 1 min. 16 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1987

>Thomson, Virgil : From "Sneeden's Landing Variations"
  • Performer: Alison d'Amato (Piano)
  • Notes: Distler Hall, Granoff Music Center, Tufts University (08/15/2015-08/19/2015)
  • Running Time: 2 min. 3 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1972

>Thomson, Virgil : What Is It?, song for voice & piano
  • Performers: Alison d'Amato (Piano); Aaron Engebreth (Baritone)
  • Notes: Distler Hall, Granoff Music Center, Tufts University (08/15/2015-08/19/2015)
  • Running Time: 2 min. 31 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1979

>Thomson, Virgil : Go to Sleep, for voice (text by Lorentz)
  • Performers: Aaron Engebreth (Baritone); Sarah Pelletier
  • Notes: Distler Hall, Granoff Music Center, Tufts University (08/15/2015-08/19/2015)
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1937

>Thomson, Virgil : The Cat, song for soprano, baritone & piano
  • Performers: Linda Osborn (Piano); Sarah Pelletier
  • Notes: Distler Hall, Granoff Music Center, Tufts University (08/15/2015-08/19/2015)
  • Running Time: 3 min. 14 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1980

>Thomson, Virgil : Tres Estampas de Niñez, song cycle for voice & piano
  • Performers: Linda Osborn (Piano); Sarah Pelletier
  • Notes: Distler Hall, Granoff Music Center, Tufts University (08/15/2015-08/19/2015)
  • Running Time: 6 min. 12 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1957

>Thomson, Virgil : Go to Sleep, for voice (text by Smallens)
  • Performer: Aaron Engebreth (Baritone)
  • Notes: Distler Hall, Granoff Music Center, Tufts University (08/15/2015-08/19/2015)
  • Running Time: 1 min. 11 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1935

>Thomson, Virgil : Mostly About Love, song cycle for voice & piano ("Songs for Alice Estey")
  • Performers: William Hite (Tenor); Linda Osborn (Piano)
  • Notes: Distler Hall, Granoff Music Center, Tufts University (08/15/2015-08/19/2015)
  • Running Time: 8 min. 8 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1959

>Thomson, Virgil : Collected Poems, for soprano, baritone & orchestra (or piano)
  • Performers: Alison d'Amato (Piano); Aaron Engebreth (Baritone); Sarah Pelletier
  • Notes: Distler Hall, Granoff Music Center, Tufts University (08/15/2015-08/19/2015)
  • Running Time: 5 min. 30 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1959