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Friday, July 28, 2006

71. Margaret Truman Recital Reviewed by Virgil Thomson

Personal Distinction - Virgil Thomson, December 21, 1949
Margaret Truman, soprano, in American Broadcasting Company's
"Carnegie Hall" program last night.

Margaret Truman made her first appearance as a concert artist in New York at a short broadcast of semipopular music that took place last night before an invited public in Carnegie Hall. She sang one brief aria from Puccini's Gianni Schicchi and two familiar Christmas carols. The rest of the program was of negligible interest to a reviewer.

Miss Truman herself presents surely a greater personal than musical distinction. One was prepared for the grace, warmth, and refinement of her presence; but this reporter, having seen only the grinning photographs that present-day publicity sanctions, was not at all prepared for the beauty of her face in repose. Few artists now appearing before the public have Miss Truman's physical advantages, and almost none of her dignity.
Her vocal advantages are far less impressive. The voice is small in size and range and not at all beautiful. The lower notes of it do not project, and the upper ones are hollow. Nowhere is there any vibrancy or richness. She seems to sing carefully, is obliged to, indeed, by the poverty of her resources. Her English enunciation in one of the carols was remarkably clear. Of temperament, of the quality that enables a musician to bring music to life, she seems to have none at all. Her singing did not communicate last night as powerfully as her personality did. Only at the end of each piece, when she stopped singing and smiled and became the lovely Miss Truman again, did she make real contact with the guests of the evening.

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