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Volume 54 / Humanities


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

THE PARAMOUNT EVENT OF THE BIENNIUM was the appearance of the Bibliografía musicológica latinoamericana: no. 1, 1987-1988-1989, published in two successive issues of Revista Musical Chilena (Vol. 46, Nos. 177-178, enero-dic. 1992). A cooperative venture of the Asociación Argentina de Musicología and Revista Musical Chilena, under the general editorship of Gerardo V. Huseby, this bibliography enlisted the cooperation of national representatives in nine Spanish-speaking countries plus Puerto Rico. Although neither Brazil nor Haiti were represented among the members of the editorial board, both nations are represented among the total of its 650 entries. A voluminous index, exhaustive cross-references, and an abundance of annotations give this noble enterprise a cachet hitherto unknown, north or south of the Rio Grande. Doctoral dissertions, master's theses, papers read at musicological assemblies that were duplicated but not printed, and reviews give this bibliography a scope far wider than anything thus far attempted elsewhere. A panegyric of the enterprise that appeared in the Inter-American Music Review (Vol. 12, No. 2, Spring/Summer 1992, p. 119) itemized other virtues.

At the close of 1992, Macmillan (London) issued The New Grove dictionary of opera or NGDO in four volumes (1296 p., 1315 p., 1370 p., and 1342 p., respectively). Edited by Stanley Sadie, with the assistance of Christina Bashford, it became at once indispensable for Latin Americanists not only because every Latin American composer of an opera from the Brazilian Jo o Gomes de Araújo (1846-1943) to the Mexican Manuel de Zumaya (1678?-1755) is profiled, but more particularly because the plots of the chief Latin American operas from Bomarzo to Yerma are summarized, and singers born in Latin America from Alva to Vinay are awarded biographical resumes. In addition, histories of opera productions and auditoriums are provided for Belém, Bogotá, Buenos Aires, Caracas, Havana, Lima, Manaus, Mexico City, Port-au-Prince, Rio de Janeiro, Salvador (Bahia), Santiago, and S o Paulo; and Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Cuba, and Mexico earn country articles.

A lexicon planned in eight volumes, Pipers Enzyklopädie des Musiktheaters (Munich/Zürich: Piper, 1986-), includes in the first two volumes valuable articles by Melena Kuss on Miguel Bernal Jiménez's Tata Vasco (Vol. 1, p. 317-318), on Juan José Castro's Proserpina e lo straniero (Vol 1., p. 503-505), and on Alberto Ginastera's Don Rodrigo and Bomarzo (Vol. 2, p. 380-386). The data supplied by Norbert Christen and Peter Stalder on Carlos Gomes' Il Guarany, Fosca, Salvator Rosa, and Lo schiavo (Vol. 2, p. 497-504) is far more meticulous and exact than that found in any previous lexicon.

Latin American articles in international encyclopedias will always be eagerly welcomed, provided the entries contain accurate information. The Oxford dictionary of opera by John Warrack and Ewan West (Oxford Univ. Press, 1992) unfortunately repeats the same errors that disfigured the articles on Latin American nations in the 1979 second edition of The concise Oxford dictionary of opera by Harold Rosenthal and John Warrack. The Ginastera article is now expanded but lacks any bibliography; Villa-Lobos finally creeps in but with a mere eight lines that, even so, entail inaccurate statements.

Nicolas Slonimsky's eighth edition of Baker's biographical dictionary of musicians (New York: Schirmer Books, 1992) continues in the same prospering vein that made his fifth, sixth, and seventh editions (1958, 1978, 1984) cynosures. Especially felicitous in his Latin American coverage, he claims the distinction of still being the only international lexicographer with a Music of Latin America to his credit (a work based on firsthand contacts with Chávez, Ginastera, Santa Cruz, Villa-Lobos, and their ilk; New York: Thos. Y. Crowell, 1945; also published in Spanish, Buenos Aires, 1947).

National encyclopedias, even when published as sumptuously as the 14-volume Enciclopedia de México (1987-88) directed by José Rogelio Alvarez, can gravely disappoint the serious music researcher. Among South American national encyclopedias, the six-volume Enciclopedia ilustrada del Perú edited by Alberto Tauro (1987, item bi 94010156), does by way of exception contain numerous musically useful articles.

Glancing forward, the multivolume music lexicon that promises to supersede all others - so far as the Spanish-speaking Americas are concerned - will be the Diccionario de la música española e hispanoamericana, edited in Madrid by Emilio Casares Rodicio. Funded lavishly by the Sociedad General de Autores de España, this impending dictionary has already ushered in a new epoch in Latin American musicology.

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