Thomson, Virgil. (1896–1989) [Rosenthal, Manuel. (1904–2003)]

Typed letter signed to Manuel Rosenthal

TLS of the American composer to Manuel Rosenthal, one of the most influential and respected French conductors of the 20th century. New York, December 24, 1975. 1 p. On Thomson letterhead paper. In full: "Cher Manuel, Le Temple de Mémoire is of the utmost beauty and I long to hear it in sound. / A thousand thanks for sending it to me and a thousand wishes for happy and prosperous times and more of them for all or you. Affection ever, Virgil." 8.5 x 5.5 inches (21.5 x 14 cm). In fine condition.

Le Temple de Mémoire is a song for mezzo soprano or baritone and orchestra, composed in 1975 and Rosenthal's last work. 

The French composer and conductor held leading positions with musical organizations in France and America. He was friends with many of his contemporary composers, and despite a considerable list of compositions is mostly remembered for having created the popular ballet score Gaîté Parisienne and left a varied legacy of recordings.  Rosenthal's ties with many French composers, and especially with Maurice Ravel, gave him an unrivalled authority in the contemporary French repertory. "In 1926, Ravel invited him to bring him some of his compositions. From being one of Ravel's rare pupils, Rosenthal soon became a friend, and he left moving tributes to the maître in articles and interviews, as well as the book Ravel: Souvenirs De Manuel Rosenthal (1995). Rosenthal tried to emulate Ravel's example of perfectionism, with memories of many a laboriously completed exercise torn up and dropped in Ravel's waste-paper basket.

It was Ravel who decided Rosenthal's future as a conductor. In 1928 he persuaded the Concerts Pasdeloup to devote a concert to Rosenthal's works and to engage him to conduct it. Never having been on a rostrum before, Rosenthal was terrified, but among those impressed was the celebrated conductor Désiré-Émile Inghelbrecht; when he founded the French National Orchestra in 1934, he took on Rosenthal as his assistant." (Roger Nichols, The Guardian, "Manuel Rosenthal: Obituary," June 8, 2003).


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Classical Music