Virgil Thomson, 1983
Dear, dear beloved Virgil.
He is generally considered one the the three great
American classical composers of the Twentieth Century
(Charles Ives and Aaron Copeland being the other two).
This photo was taken on the first day we met.
He fell asleep while I was shooting him
(as he tended to do for five-minute periods throughout the day).
He looked every bit as though he were a
for, indeed, he was a monument,
so I continued shooting him.
Virgil was 87 when we met.
I was 28.
We had sex that fortuitous afternoon of our first meeting.
After, he said,
"I bet I'm the oldest man you've ever been to bed with."
"Virgil, you are twice as old as the oldest man I've ever been to bed with."
We became fast friends.
Soon, he introduced me to Maurice Grosser
and other members of his charmed circle.
When Virgil was 90,
the love of his life,
died of AIDS.
Virgil never recovered.
He sank into a despair from which
no one and nothing
could rescue him.
He died at 93
of a broken heart.
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