An interview by Terrence McNally December 21, 2002
WB They’re two things happened that might have happened on the same day. I get a call from Ardis. She said that Bruno has just come back Italy and she said, “Well now Bruno said, ‘Why doesn’t Bill do, what you call it in English, Uno Squardo dal Ponte?’” -- View from the Bridge in Italian. And I get a call from Arnold, Arnold Weinstein. Now often, it seems to happen a couple of times a year people have decided on their own recognizance to make an opera out of Death of a Salesman or All My Sons, or one of the other major plays. And they will send whatever music is already done to Arnold and Arthur.
The Henry Russel Lecture at the University of Michigan 11 March 1997
Few writers on music have been as colorful, as astute, or as infuriating as the composer-critic Virgil Thomson. Chief music critic for the late, lamented New York Herald-Tribune from 1940 through 1954, he used his bully-pulpit to increase public awareness of the newest American music and our best young native composers and performers. He also shamelessly used his critic's power to obtain performances of his own music and to settle scores in the music world in the most highhanded way possible. He certainly indulged in some of the "old-American" set of prejudices that can also be found in the writings of a close counterpart, H. L. Mencken. As with Mencken, however, the rereading of Thomson is usually worth the occasional wince.
In March of 1996 the composer Donald Martino came under attack from the musicologist-critic Richard Taruskin, who in a New York Times article on twelve-tone composition excoriated Martino as one of its more perniciously academic practitioners.(1) All this only occasioned by the reissue, mind you, of a Nonesuch record of around twenty years before; it's as if someone, now, decided to ambush a prizefighter walking by for winning a controversial match in 1965.