One of [Virgil Thomson’s] peccadilloes was dozing during concerts. When I was reviewing for the Sun we quite often were at the same concert, and I could observe him in this condition and occasionally hear a snore or two. What amazed everyone was the fact that when he came out in the intermission his remarks indicated that he hadn’t missed a thing. When I moved over to the Tribune Thomson and I would go out to dinner together from time to time before covering our respective assignments. Once Thomson cautioned me against having coffee (the decaf vogue had not started yet) and to be sure to have enough wine so that I would be able to sleep at the concert. There were times when I wished I could sleep but I lacked the talent—though I recall falling asleep at the Metropolitan during one ear-shattering passage in a Wagner opera, drowned in the sound and luxuriating in the red plush interior of the old opera house.

—Arthur Berger,
Reflections of an American Composer

Berger also quotes the funniest sentence I read all day, a Bernard Holland description of George Rochberg’s neo-Romanticism: “Mr. Rochberg’s quintet does remind us of the frontiersman who, having fought his way arduously through badlands and hostile Indians to the promised West, abruptly decides to resettle in Philadelphia.”


  1. The second funniest? Well this linked pair from < HREF="" REL="nofollow">Will Leitch<> made me laugh out loud:<>What Manny Ramirez said does not make him a bad person, or somehow less of a competitor; it makes him a human being who, whether his team wins or loses, will still go home afterward and sleep in a gorgeous house. (And maybe use a hyperbaric chamber; I imagine Manny having a hyperbaric chamber.)<>

Leave a Reply