2 pp. written in red ink on a seasonal note card with Thomson's printed address at 222 West 23rd Street in New York. 99 x 135 mm. with red and gold borders. With original autograph envelope addressed to Bowles in Tangier, Morocco.
Regarding Thomson's travels in Israel, Paris, London, writing music, thoughts on aging, etc.; he misses and is thinking of Bowles: "In October I did go to the Terre Sainte and found Jerusalem very beautiful. The Arab food is best, especially Yemenite. Paris... was dismal. I enjoy London. Here I read about you in magazines and people talk about you. I go away on dates and sometimes write music... I enjoy being old, because I wake early. And the young like me..."
Envelope slightly worn; lacking rear flap; minor bleeding to two letters of street address.
Thomson "produced a sizeable catalog of stylistically diverse compositions characterized by expressive directness and textural transparency, written in a language that drew from hymnbook harmony, popular song, and dance idioms of the late 19th century, and utilizing plain-spoken tonal procedures but also diatonic dissonance and polytonal elements. In his many vocal works, and his two path-breaking operatic collaborations with Gertrude Stein, Thomson demonstrated a mastery of prosody. His settings of English convey American speech patterns with naturalness and clarity. He brought strong predilections for living composers and American music to his criticism. The wit, vitality, and descriptive precision of his writing, which demystified the complexities of music for lay readers, made him among the most influential and lasting critics of the 20th century." Anthony Tommasini and Richard Jackson in Grove Music Online.
The American composer and writer Paul Bowles (1910-1999) studied with Thomson, Nadia Boulanger, Roger Sessions, and others. He was an avid traveler and had an abiding interest in ethnomusicological research; Bowles also wrote musical criticism under the guidance of Virgil Thomson as well as authoring the noted novel The Sheltering Sky in 1949. "[His] compositional style is witty, aphoristic and tuneful. He wrote almost exclusively in short forms that evoke, particularly in the solo piano works, American jazz and folk elements, Latin American dance rhythms and Spanish harmonies. His operas are constructed as series of separate songs, each of which is unfailingly idiomatic. His orchestral music, which tends to be at once concise and kaleidoscopic, employing collage-like juxtapositions, displays little thematic development. Despite his fame as a writer, Bowles always thought of himself primarily as a composer. Even though many of his compositions remained unpublished at the time of his death, his music enjoyed a renaissance during the final decade of his life, inspiring numerous recordings and performances." Irene Herrmann in Grove Music Online.
Price: $325.00 other currencies