Rare Book & Manuscript Library
 

Virgil Thomson papers, 1920-1981

Summary Information

At a Glance

Call No.: MS#1240
Bib ID 4079399 View CLIO record
Creator(s) Thomson, Virgil, 1896-1989
Title Virgil Thomson papers, 1920-1981
Physical Description 12.5 linear feet (24 ms boxes and 1 tall ms box (box 15))
Language(s) English .
Access

This collection is located on-site.

This collection has no restrictions.

Some unique time-based media items have been reformatted and are available onsite via links in the container list. Commercial materials are not routinely digitized.

Arrangement

Arrangement

Cataloged and listed.

Description

Summary

Prose manuscripts, related correspondence, notes, printed material, and audio tapes of Thomson. Included are notes and drafts of many of Thomson's early articles, written while he was a student at Harvard University and in Paris, and numerous manuscripts of columns published in the HERALD TRIBUNE in the 1940s. Thomson's special interests reflected in these writings are modern music, American hymns, and the performance of music in Europe. Also, manuscripts and related material for six of Thomson's books and for Gertrude Stein's BEE TIME VINE, which was published after her death and for which he wrote the preface; and 125 reels of tapes of Thomson's program on radio station WNCN (New York), 1969-1970. Cataloged correspondents include Chalmers Clifton, Lincoln Kirstein, Alfred A. Knopf, and Man Ray.

Using the Collection

Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Restrictions on Access

This collection is located on-site.

This collection has no restrictions.

Some unique time-based media items have been reformatted and are available onsite via links in the container list. Commercial materials are not routinely digitized.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. The RBML maintains ownership of the physical material only. Copyright remains with the creator and his/her heirs. The responsibility to secure copyright permission rests with the patron.

Preferred Citation

Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Virgil Thomson papers; Box and Folder; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.

Related Materials

The main body of Thomson's papers are at the Yale Music Library: MSS 29, MSS 29A.

About the Finding Aid / Processing Information

Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Processing Information

Cataloged Christina Hilton Fenn 09/--/89.

Revision Description

2019-09-06 Finding aid derived from PDF. kws

2020-06-09 Links to first batch of digitized material added.

Subject Headings

The subject headings listed below are found in this collection. Links below allow searches at Columbia University through the Archival Collections Portal and through CLIO, the catalog for Columbia University Libraries, as well as ArchiveGRID, a catalog that allows users to search the holdings of multiple research libraries and archives.

All links open new windows.

Genre/Form

Heading "CUL Archives:"
"Portal"
"CUL Collections:"
"CLIO"
"Nat'l / Int'l Archives:"
"ArchivedGRID"
Open reel audiotapes Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Sound recordings Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID

Subject

Heading "CUL Archives:"
"Portal"
"CUL Collections:"
"CLIO"
"Nat'l / Int'l Archives:"
"ArchivedGRID"
Clifton, Chalmers, 1889-1966 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Composers (Music) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Hymns, English -- United States Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Kirstein, Lincoln, 1907-1996 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Man Ray, 1890-1976 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Music -- Instruction and study -- France -- Paris Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Music -- Instruction and study -- Massachusetts -- Cambridge Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Music -- Performance -- Europe Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Music critics Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Radio programs -- New York (State) -- New York Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
WNCN (Radio station : New York, N.Y.) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID

History / Biographical Note

Biographical / Historical

Composer, music critic.

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Series I: Cataloged Correspondence



Box 1 Clifton, Chalmers


Box 1 Kirstein, Lincoln


Box 1 Knopf, Alfred A.


Box 1 Ray, Man

Series II: Manuscripts and Notes, 1920-1981

This series contains manuscripts, typescripts, notes, and proofs for Thomson's articles and books. It also contains a carbon typescript of Gertrude Stein's Bee Time Vine with autograph manuscript of preface by Virgil Thomson, notes by Thomson passim, and two pages of notes in the hand of Alice B. Toklas.


Box 1 Cataloged article manuscripts



Box 2 American Music Since 1910, 1971



Box 3 American Music Since 1910 (continued), 1971


Box 3 The Art of Judging Music, 1948



Box 4 Music Reviewed: 1940-1954, 1967



Box 5 Music Reviewed: 1940-1954 (continued), 1967


Box 5 Music Right and Left, 1951



Box 6 The Musical Scene, 1945



Box 7 Virgil Thomson, 1966



Box 8 Virgil Thomson (continued), 1966



Box 9 Virgil Thomson (continued), 1966



Box 10 Virgil Thomson (continued), 1966



Box 11 Virgil Thomson (continued), 1966



Box 12 Virgil Thomson (continued), 1966



Box 13 Virgil Thomson (continued), 1966



Box 14 Virgil Thomson (continued), 1966



Box 15 Virgil Thomson (continued), 1966

One folder oversized material



Box 16 A Virgil Thomson Reader, 1981



Box 17 A Virgil Thomson Reader (continued), 1981



Box 15 Bee Time Vine by Gertrude Stein, 1953


Box 15 Thomson's red pencil


Box 15 Illustrations

Series III: WNCN Radio Broadcast Recordings, 1969-1970

125 reels of tapes of Thomson's program on radio station WNCN (New York), and a small amount of associated paper materials.


Box 15 Inventory, Calendar, and related material, 1969-1970


Box 15 Program Notes, 1969-1970



Box 18 Virgil Thomson (#1), October 6, 1969, 2 open reel audiotapes; 7.5 inches per second

Guests: David Dubal, Victor Yellin. Works: The Seine at Night; Five Songs from William Blake; Requiem Mass.


Box 18 Music and the Stage (#2), October 13, 1969, 2 open reel audiotapes; 7.5 inches per second

Guests: John Houseman, David Dubel. Works: Four Saints; The Devil and Daniel Webster (Douglas Moore); Fugue and Chorale on Yankee Doodle from Tuesday in November.


Box 18 Douglas Moore Memorial (#3), October 20, 1969, 3 open reel audiotapes; 7.5 inches per second

Guests: Otto Luening, Jack Beeson. Works: The Ballad of Baby Doe (Douglas Moore); Carrie Nation (Douglas Moore)


Box 18 Harpsichord Music, Ancient and Modern (#4), October 27, 1969, 3 open reel audiotapes; 7.5 inches per second

Guests: Sylvia Marlowe, Professor Donington, Gloria Rose Donington. Works: G-minor concerto (Bach); Selections (Couperin); Serenade for flute, oboe, cello, and harpsichord (Ben Weber); Sonata for flute, oboe, cello, and harpsichord (Elliot Carter); Lovers (Ned Rorem)


Box 18 The Music of Peter Mennin (#5), November 3, 1969, 2 open reel audiotapes; 7.5 inches per second

Guests: Peter Mennin, David Dubal. Works: Symphony No. 7; Piano Concerto


Box 18 Armistice Day (#6) [Tapes 1 and 2], November 10, 1969, 2 open reel audiotapes; 7.5 inches per second

Guests: Edward Cone, David Dubal. Works: A Solemn Music (Thomson); Chichester Psalms (Bernstein); Stabat Mater (Thomson); Serious Song (Irving Fine); My Shepard Will Provide My Needs (Thomson); Third Symphony (Roy Harris)



Box 19 Armistice Day (#6) [Tape 3], November 10, 1969, 1 open reel audiotapes; 7.5 inches per second

Guests: Edward Cone, David Dubal. Works: A Solemn Music (Thomson); Chichester Psalms (Bernstein); Stabat Mater (Thomson); Serious Song (Irving Fine); My Shepard Will Provide My Needs (Thomson); Third Symphony (Roy Harris)


Box 19 The Music of Nicholas Nabokov (#7), November 17, 1969, 2 open reel audiotapes; 7.5 inches per second

Guests: Nicholas Nabokov. Works: Symboli Christinai; The Holy Devil or Rasputin's Dream


Box 19 Early Vocal Music (#8), November 24, 1969, 3 open reel audiotapes; 7.5 inches per second

Guests: John Reeves White (musical director of Pro Musica). Works: Spanish Theatre; The Play of Daniel; Nuper Rosarum Flores (Dufay); Petrucci; Romance of Medieval France


Box 19 The Music of Charles Ives (#9), December 1, 1969, 3 open reel audiotapes; 7.5 inches per second

Guests: no guests. Works: Housatonic; Rutledge,; William Booth; Harvest Home #3; Emerson; Alcotts; 4th Symphony Finale


Box 19 The Music of Carl Ruggles (#10), December 8, 1969, 2 open reel audiotapes; 7.5 inches per second

Guests: no guests.


Box 19 The Music of Leon Kirchner (#11), December 15, 1969, 2 open reel audiotapes; 7.5 inches per second

Guests: Leon Kirchner, Marianne Kneisel. Works: Quartet No. 3; String Quartet No. 1; Piano Concerto No. 1,


Box 19 Christmas (#12), December 22, 1969, 3 open reel audiotapes; 7.5 inches per second

Guests: James Lyons, David Dubal. Works: Symphony on a Hymn Tune (Thomson); Chorale No.1 for Organ (Sessions); Chorale in a Medieval Mode (Koechlin); Angels and Devils (Henry Brant); Pastorale Symphony (Handel); Adeste Fideles.



Box 20 The Music of Earle Brown (#13), December 29, 1969, 2 open reel audiotapes; 7.5 inches per second

Guests: Earle Browne, Lucia Dlugoszewski. Works: Music for Violin, Cello, and Piano; Hodograph I; Corroboree for Piano; Nine rare bits; Available Forms I; Times Five; Four Systems.


Box 20 The Music of William Schuman (#14), January 1, 1970, 3 open reel audiotapes; 7.5 inches per second

Guests: William Schuman. Works: American Festival Overture; Nos.1 and 2 of Voyage; Fourth String Quartet; Variations on "America" (Ives); To The Old Cause.


Box 20 Music of East Asia (#15), January 12, 1970, 3 open reel audiotapes; 7.5 inches per second

Guests: No guests. Works: Gagaku; Ongaku (Henry Cowell); Tabuh-Tabuhan (Colin McPhee); Suite for Violin, Piano, and Small Orchestra (Lou Harrison)


Box 20 Gottschalk and Ragtime (#16), January 19, 1970, 3 open reel audiotapes; 7.5 inches per second

Guests: Robert Offergeld, Rudi Blesh. Works: Banjo (Eugene Liszt); Le Bananier (Eugene Liszt); Manchega (Alan Mandel); The Last Hope (Eugene Liszt); A Night in the Tropics; Maple Leaf Rag (Joplin); Alaskan Rag (Joseph Lamb); Efficiency Rag (James Scott); Polyragmic (Max Moreth); Walk from the Garden of Eden (William Balcom); Friday Night (Donald Ashwander);


Box 20 The Music of William Flanagan (#17), January 26, 1970, 3 open reel audiotapes; 7.5 inches per second

Guests: Ned Rorem, Howard Moss. Works: The Upside-Down Man; Goodby, My Fancy; Time's Long Ago; The Weeping Pleaids; Another August.


Box 20 The Music of Edgar Varese (#18), February 2, 1970, 2 open reel audiotapes; 7.5 inches per second

Guests: No guests. Works: Ameriques; Density 21.5; Poeme Electronique; Hyperprism.



Box 21 The Music of Iannis Xenakis (#19), February 9, 1970, 2 open reel audiotapes; 7.5 inches per second

Guests: Iannis Xenakis, Eric Salzman. Works: Akrata; Syrmos; Diamorphis II; Le Polytope de Montreal.


Box 21 The Music of Elliot Carter (#20), February 15, 1970, 2 open reel audiotapes; 7.5 inches per second

Guests: Elliot Carter, Nicholas Nabokov. Works: Piano Sonata; String Quarter No 1; Double Concerto; Piano Concerto.


Box 21 The Music of Eric Salzman (#21), February 23, 1970, 2 open reel audiotapes; 7.5 inches per second

Guests: Eric Salzman. Works: The Nude Paper Sermon.


Box 21 The Music of Pierre Boulez (#22), March 2, 1970, 3 open reel audiotapes; 7.5 inches per second

Guests: Pierre Boulez. Works: Pli Selon Pli; Don; Improvisation I; Improvisation II; Improvisation III; Tombeau.


Box 21 Satie and Virgil Thomson (#23), March 9, 1970, 2 open reel audiotapes; 7.5 inches per second

Guests: No guests. Works: Sports et Divertissements; Violin Sonata.


Box 21 Edward Cone, Charles Turner, Virgil Thomson (#24), March 16, 1970, 2 open reel audiotapes; 7.5 inches per second

Guests: No guests. Works: Prelude, Passacaglia, and Fugue (Cone); Serenade for Icarus (Turner); Sonata da Chiesa (Thomson).


Box 21 Virgil Thomson (#25), March 23, 1970, 2 open reel audiotapes; 7.5 inches per second

Guests: No guests. Works: Requiem Mass.


Box 21 Beeson, Luening, Ussachevsky (#26) [Tape 1], March 30, 1970, 1 open reel audiotapes; 7.5 inches per second

Guests: No guests. Works: Act II: Lizzie Borden (Beeson); Fantasy in Space (Luening); Prologue to Creation (Ussachevsky); King Lear suite (Ussachevsky and Luening); A Poem of Cycles and Bells.



Box 22 Beeson, Luening, Ussachevsky (#26) [Tape 2], March 30, 1970, 1 open reel audiotapes; 7.5 inches per second

Guests: No guests. Works: Act II: Lizzie Borden (Beeson); Fantasy in Space (Luening); Prologue to Creation (Ussachevsky); King Lear suite (Ussachevsky and Luening); A Poem of Cycles and Bells.


Box 22 Kenneth Gaburo, Charles Griffes (#27), April 6, 1970, 2 open reel audiotapes; 7.5 inches per second

Guests: No guests. Works: Life Studies (Gaburo); Lemon Drops (Gaburo); Antiphony IV (Gaburo); Fat Millie's Lament (Gaburo); Piano Sonata (Griffes).


Box 22 Noel Lee, David Diamond (#28), April 13, 1970, 2 open reel audiotapes; 7.5 inches per second

Guests: No guests. Works: Four etudes for piano (Lee); Symphony No. 2 (Diamond).


Box 22 Mompou (#29), April 20, 1970, 2 open reel audiotapes; 7.5 inches per second

Guests: No guests. Works: Los Improperios; Impresiones Intimas; El Combat del Somni.


Box 22 Menotti and Barber (#30), April 27, 1970, 2 open reel audiotapes; 7.5 inches per second

Guests: No guests. Works: Violin Concerto (Menotti); Dover Beach (Barber); Antony and Cleopatra (Barber).


Box 22 Lou Harrison (#31), May 4, 1970, 2 open reel audiotapes; 7.5 inches per second

Guests: No guests. Works: Canticle No. 1; Symphony on G.


Box 22 Piano Music: Cowell, Thomson, Scriabin (#32), May 11, 1970, 2 open reel audiotapes; 7.5 inches per second

Guests: No guests. Works: Last Band (Cowell); First 8 Bands (Cowell); Nine Etudes for Piano (Thomson); Four pieces (Scriabin).


Box 22 Surinach, Chavez, Milhaud (#33), May 18, 1970, 2 open reel audiotapes; 7.5 inches per second

Guests: No guests. Works: Poems and Dances of Heathen Iberia (Surinach); Toccata for Percussion Instruments (Chavez); La Creation du Monde (Milhaud).


Box 22 Besty Jolas, Thomson (#34) [Tape 1], May 25, 1970, 1 open reel audiotapes; 7.5 inches per second

Guests: No guests. Works: Quartet for String Trio and Soprano Voice (Jolas); Opera de Voyage (Jolas); Quartet No. 2 (Jolas); String Quartet No. 2 (Thomson).



Box 23 Besty Jolas, Thomson (#34) [Tape 2], May 25, 1970, 1 open reel audiotapes; 7.5 inches per second

Guests: No guests. Works: Quartet for String Trio and Soprano Voice (Jolas); Opera de Voyage (Jolas); Quartet No. 2 (Jolas); String Quartet No. 2 (Thomson).


Box 23 Virgil Thomson (#35), June 1, 1970, 2 open reel audiotapes; 7.5 inches per second

Guests: No guests. Works: The Plow; Louisiana Story.


Box 23 Virgil Thomson (#36), June 8, 1970, 2 open reel audiotapes; 7.5 inches per second

Guests: No guests. Works: Five Portraits for Orchestra; The Seine at Night; Concerto for Cello and Orchestra.


Box 23 Virgil Thomson (#37), June 15, 1970, 2 open reel audiotapes; 7.5 inches per second

Guests: No guests. Works: Praises and Prayers; Guggenheim Jeune; Five Songs to Poems of William Blake.


Box 23 Silvestre Revueltas (#38), June 22, 1970, 2 open reel audiotapes; 7.5 inches per second

Guests: No guests. Works: Ventanas; Homage to Garcia Lorca; Redes.


Box 23 Virgil Thomson (#39), June 29, 1970, 2 open reel audiotapes; 7.5 inches per second

Guests: No guests. Works: Three Pictures for Orchestra; Stabat Mater; Symphony on a Hymn Tune


Box 23 Walter Piston, Luciano Berio (#40), July 6, 1970, 2 open reel audiotapes; 7.5 inches per second

Guests: No guests. Works: Quintet for Piano and Strings (Piston); Sinfonia (Berio)


Box 23 Virgil Thomson (#41), July 13, 1970, 2 open reel audiotapes; 7.5 inches per second

Guests: No guests. Works: Missa Brevis; The River


Box 23 Carlos Chavez (#42) [Tape 1], July 20, 1970, 1 open reel audiotapes; 7.5 inches per second

Guests: No guests. Works: Chaconne in E minor (Buxtehude); Sinfonia India; Sinfonia Romantica.



Box 24 Carlos Chavez (#42) [Tape 2], July 20, 1970, 1 open reel audiotapes; 7.5 inches per second

Guests: No guests. Works: Chaconne in E minor (Buxtehude); Sinfonia India; Sinfonia Romantica.


Box 24 Aaron Copland (#43), July 27, 1970, 2 open reel audiotapes; 7.5 inches per second

Guests: No guests. Chapter from book


Box 24 Ben Weber, Lucia Dlugoscewski (#44), August 3, 1970, 2 open reel audiotapes; 7.5 inches per second

Guests: No guests. Works: Rhapsodia Concertante (Weber); Concertino for Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, and String Quartet (Weber); Swift P'O (Dlugoscewski); Space is a Diamond (Dlugoscewski); Archaic Aggregates (Dlugoscewski).


Box 24 Virgil Thomson (#45), August 10, 1970, 2 open reel audiotapes; 7.5 inches per second

Guests: No guests. Works: Sonata da Chesa; Ten Etudes for Piano; Concerto for Flute.


Box 24 Henry Brant, Wallingford Riegger (#46), August 17, 1970, 2 open reel audiotapes; 7.5 inches per second

Guests: No guests. Works: Signs and Alarms (Brant); Galaxy 2 (Brant); Millenium 2 (Brant); Music for Brass Choir (Riegger); Suite for Flute Alone (Riegger); New Dance (Riegger).


Box 24 Virgil Thomson (#47), August 24, 1970, 3 open reel audiotapes; 7.5 inches per second

Guests: No guests. Works: Louisiana Story; Capital Capitals.


Box 24 Milton Babbitt, Lukas Foss (#48), August 31, 1970, 2 open reel audiotapes; 7.5 inches per second

Guests: No guests. Works: Composition for 4 Instruments (Babbitt); Composition for Viola and Piano (Babbitt); Partititions (Babbitt); Time Cycle (Foss).


Box 24 Villa Lobos (#49), September 7, 1970, 2 open reel audiotapes; 7.5 inches per second

Guests: No guests. Works: Bachiana Brasileira No. 1; Brazilian songs; Bachiana Brasileira No. 5; Dance Piece (Oscar Fernandez); Danza Brazileira (Guarneri); Sensemaya (Revueltas).



Box 25 Ruth Crawford, Harry Partch (#50), September 14, 1970, 2 open reel audiotapes; 7.5 inches per second

Guests: No guests. Works: String Quartet (Crawford); Woodwind Quintet (Crawford); And on the seventh day petals fell in Tetaluma (Partch).


Box 25 John Cage (#51), September 21, 1970, 2 open reel audiotapes; 7.5 inches per second

Guests: No guests. Works: HPSCHP (Miller and Cage); Aria with Fontana Mix; Sonatas and Interludes for prepared piano; Indeterminacy; Construction in Metal; The Wonderful Widow of Eighteen Springs; Music for Carillon; Concert for Piano and Orchestra.


Box 25 (#52), September 28, 1970, 2 open reel audiotapes; 7.5 inches per second

Guests: No guests. Works: For New York Painting and Sculpture. 1940-1970 (Thomson); The Year 1200 (Piston); 19th-century America (Shuman); Shivaree for Before Cortes (Bernstein); Masterpieces of Fifth Centuries (Copland); Fifth Symphony by Beethoven in piano transcription by Liszt; Machinations (Brant).


Box 25 Three-hour birthday broadcast, November 11, 1970, 5 open reel audiotapes; 7.5 inches per second

Guests: Nicolas Nabokov. Works: Flute Concerto; Sonata No. 4; The Plough That Broke the Plains; Stabat Mater; Piano Etudes Book 2; A Solumn Music; 5 Songs from William Blake; 3 Pictures for Orchestra.


Box 25 Special program, April 1970, 4 open reel audiotapes; 7.5 inches per second

Guests: David Dubal; Henri Sauguet.