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Volume 50 / Humanities


ROBERT STEVENSON, Professor of Music, University of California, Los Angeles

THE EVER ACCELERATING tempo since 1980 of Latin American publications available for annotation in this section poses a constantly increasing problem of selection. As became apparent during a reconnoitering visit to the Brazilian National Library music division in Feb. 1988, enough worthwhile books, pamphlets, articles, scores, and liner notes accompanying discs have appeared during the past biennium in Brazil alone to take up the entire permissible space for Music in the present HLAS.

To economize on space below, some entries have been subsumed under one heading. Similarly, the various titles of individual volumes in a series such as the history of music in Mexico series issued 1984-86 by the Univ. Nacional Autónoma de México (item bi 89009164) have been gathered under one heading. Such condensation in no way derogates from the importance of each volume in a series, or of each article in a multi-authored volume such as the one on Brazilian music edited by Tiago de Oliveira Pinto (item bi 89008923). However, even after such space-saving efforts, scores of suitable articles have had to be omitted entirely. For the bibliographer interested solely in unannotated titles of articles, a convenient tool is the annual Hispanic American Periodicals Index (HAPI) (see items bi 89008202 and bi 89008203). HAPI also indexes book reviews. Headings under which relevant articles and reviews may be found in HAPI include "Church Music," "Composers," "Music," "Musical Instruments," "Music and Literature," "Musicians," and "Musicology."

Among the national histories of music published to date, the Mexican volumes issued by UNAM obviously take pride of place as the lengthiest. But Alberto Calzavara's history of Venezuelan music during the Hispanic period (item bi 89008767), subsidized by the Fundación Pampero, ranks as the most luxurious. Nothing published in Latin America, on a Latin American topic, except perhaps Roberto Caamaño's three-volume coffee-table La historia del Teatro Colón 1908-1968 (Buenos Aires: Editorial Cinetea, 1969), goes beyond the handsomeness of Calzavara's volume. Considerably less lavish but still very attractive national histories were published during the biennium by Vasco Mariz (items bi 89008916 and bi 89008917) and Vicente Gesualdo (La música en la Argentina, Buenos Aires: Editorial Stella, 1987). Although not intended as a comprehensive history of Argentine art music in the present century, Roberto García Morillo's Estudios sobre música argentina (item bi 89008887) here merits gold-star mention because of the author's sophistication and discernment.

So far as older general histories of music are concerned, the question constantly asked is: Which are the best for Latin American nations? Following in the wake of Eugenio Pereira Salas (see HLAS 42:7109), Samuel Claro-Valdés exalted Chile with his splendid synthesis, Oyendo a Chile (see HLAS 42:7100). In 1961, Vicente Gesualdo published a two-volume history of music in Argentina to 1900, vol. 1 of which was later updated (see HLAS 44:7016). (His one-volume synopsis mentioned in the previous paragraph brings Argentine music history up to the present.) José Ignacio Perdomo Escobar's meritorious history of music in Colombia went through four editions (see HLAS 28:3083) before his untimely demise. Less well received has been Enrique Pinilla's synopsis of Peruvian music history (see HLAS 44:7110a). The problems posed by Atiliano Auza León's Historia de la música boliviana (item bi 89008895) have less to do with the subject than with the fact that the author is (like Pinilla) primarily a composer, unversed in scholarly disciplines.

Among smaller South American nations, Uruguay boasts a short history of music by Susana Salgado (see HLAS 36:4609). Unfortunately, both Ecuador and Paraguay still lack good comprehensive national music histories. Alejo Carpentier's elegantly styled history of music in Cuba is out of date (see HLAS 12:3396 and HLAS 44:7077). Edgardo Martín's more recent volume (see HLAS 38:9123) betrays ignorance of the music history of other Latin American nations, is constantly doctrinaire, and suffers from shabby, cost-cutting production.

Latin American popular music, especially of the commercial variety, commanded ever wider attention during the period surveyed. Cambridge Univ. Press' editorial group devoted the entirety of Popular Music (7:2, May 1987) to Latin America. The "Selected Bibliography" on Brazilian popular music in this issue comprised 20 annotated publications; the discography (most albums with liner notes) ran to more than 140 titles. In the same issue, the bibliography of recently published Argentine academic books and articles included 10 annotated titles and the discography ran to 19 titles.

Branching out in a new direction, Current Biography profiled Rubén Blades (item bi 89009025), political activist, singer and songwriter. Revista Musical Chilena ventured on new ground when Juan Pablo González's article "Hacia el Estudio Musicológico de la Música Popular Latinoamericana" appeared in the first issue of 1986 (item bi 89009074). If to books, articles, and albums with liner notes were now added the coverage that Latin American commercial music receives in the Latin American daily and weekly press, an enormously large new field for bibliographic research would be added.

Despite all the vicissitudes of the last four decades, Revista Musical Chilena celebrated its 40th anniversary in 1986 with an unparalleled record. Never throughout the tumultuous past several decades has this nonpareil periodical emerged in less than a handsome, meticulously proofread, and contents-laden format. The succession of editors culminating in Luis Merino Montero is to be recognized for its unblemished record. Special recognition should go to Magdalena Vicuña Lyon, on whose shoulders has rested for a quarter-century the Atlas load of correcting grammar, spelling, and misinformation in articles originally in Spanish. She has also been herself the usual compiler of the invaluable chronicle section. Her infallibility in all European languages has also resulted in trustworthy translations from English, French, German, and Italian originals.

Among periodicals that have started more recently, Mexico's Heterofonía - like Revista Musical Chilena - owes its superior qualities to a woman, Esperanza Pulido Silva, who (like Magdalena Vicuña) is a master of foreign languages, a scholar, and a diplomat. The roll of women who uphold high musicological standards in other Latin American nations includes Cleofe Person de Mattos, nonpareil editor of José Maurício Nunes Garcia's works and sometime president of the Brazilian Musicological Society. Mercedes Reis Pequeno has been the often silent "power behind the throne," so far as Brazilian National Library exposition publications are concerned. In Argentina, Carmen García Muñoz has for over a decade been the impulse behind the revista published by the Carlos Vega Research Institute at the Univ. Católica Argentina. Any listing of other current Latin American women musicologists would also have to include the names of at least a dozen who head institutes, teach in universities, publish prolifically, and organize congresses. The role that women have played and continue to play in the higher reaches of Latin American musicology far transcends their still too limited governance in the US.

The first issue of Revista Musical Puertorriqueña (enero/junio 1987), a slick of 44 pages in Spanish, contains a salutation by Elias López Sobá, Director Ejecutivo, announcing the revista as an organ of the Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña and its División de Música. Four of five articles in the first issue are annotated below (items bi 89008966, bi 89008967, bi 89008992, and bi 89008188).

An important lexicographical event occurred in the year 1985: publication by the Dizionario enciclopedico universale della musica e dei musicisti or DEUMM (Torino, Italy: Unione Tipografico, Editrice Torinese) of the first two volumes (A-Bur, Bus-Fox) in its long awaited biographical series. Entrusted to Gerard Béhague, the more substantial Latin American composer profiles were written with his customary flair. However, none of the preeminent 18th-century Italians who immigrated to South America (Roque Ceruti, Bartolomé Mazza) and Mexico (Ignacio Jerusalem) is profiled in the five volumes issued 1985-88, nor do the composers of the Argentine and Mexican national anthems earn entries. Among others, Ricardo Castro is omitted. Strangely enough, one other individual, José Maurício Nunes Garcia, turns up twice, with quite different articles each time (vol. 3, p. 117-118; vol. 5, p. 417). The Francisco López Capillas article repeats the very substantial errors contained in The New Grove article on him.

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