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Pic of the Week: Critical Edition

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New York Post dance critic Harriet Johnson, in a detail from her May 11, 1946 review of "Serpent Heart."

When I prepared the  Martha Graham Collection for digitization some years ago, I looked at hundreds of clippings that the legendary choreography kept in her detailed scrapbooks. Something struck me about the dance reviews. Regular columns by certain music critics were accompanied by a thumbnail photo of the author. In the scrapbook pages of the Graham collection, one face that regularly appears is that of Harriett Johnson.

Johnson was the music critic for the New York Post for 43 years, as well as a sometime composer. Her New York Times obituary fondly makes note of her 1954 work, ”Chuggy and the Blue Caboose.”  The Music Division has in its collections Johnson’s  1977 work “Pet of the Met,” scored for soprano, baritone, and orchestra.  Johnson died in 1987 at the age of 79.

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