George Crumb, who died Sunday at 92, was an all-American composer — one of our finest, most initial and most essential. He was as American as apple pie, this shy, unpretentious West Virginian born in Charleston on Black Thursday, Oct. 24, 1929, the day of the excellent Wall Road crash. He embraced many sides of our contradictory nationwide character by audio ethereal however startling, otherworldly nevertheless stylistically vast-ranging, mysteriously impenetrable but politically uncompromising, darkly death-obsessed yet marvelously lifetime-affirming.
Crumb could not have been effectively regarded outdoors of new-songs circles, but he mattered over and above all those perimeters. In 1970