Vienna Historical Society
Preserving the History of Vienna and Mount Vernon, Maine

Randall Thompson

                                                                            
                                                                                      Randall Thompson
                                                              1899 - 1984

This pre-eminent composer of American choral music grew up in New Jersey, and spent his childhood summers on the family farm, “Scratchenscrabble,” on Kidder Pond in Vienna.  He began learning to play the organ with help from family friend Marietta Eaton of Vienna, who taught him music notation,

He practiced playing hymns on the organ in her parlor, while Aunt Eaton corrected his mistakes by shouting from the kitchen.

                                               David F. Urrows/Randall Thompson: A Bio-Bibliograph

As Thompson’s musical abilities improved and his aptitude became apparent, his father brought a piano up to the summer home on the mountain.  Marietta Eaton’s old vestry organ still resides in Vienna in a camp on the shore of Flying Pond.

Thompson went on to compose three symphonies and numerous vocal works, and was noted for expanding standard college choral repertoire to include the great choral masterpieces.  His most popular choral work is his anthem, Alleluia, which was written for the opening of the Berkshire Music Center at Tanglewood.

. . . Wallace Sanborn met us at Readfield and drove the boys to the farm . . . At the house we found Aunt Eaton and supper of delicious beans and brown bread waiting for us . . . Randall arises and goes to the work bench in the barn where he begins cutting bar iron with his father’s best chisel . . . a quick call to the pump and there are the boys as God made them receiving buckets of water full in their faces, or fronts and backs, and running around in the grass with peals of laughter . . .

                                                              From the Diary of Grace R. Thompson

                                                              Summer of 1907

                                                      


                                                                     
                                                                                      Marietta Eaton's Organ


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