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Volume 56 / Humanities


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

CROWNING THE BIENNIUM are three music encyclopedias, each of which devotes generous space to Latin American persons and topics: The New Grove Dictionary of Opera, 1992, The New Grove Dictionary of Women Composers, 1994 (published in the US in 1995 as the Norton/Grove Dictionary of Women Composers), and the first two Sachteil volumes of what is to become eventually a "new" 20-volume lexicon, Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart. Impossible though it be for encyclopedia articles to carry authority unless they are based on cogent research articles, still it cannot be gainsaid that musician and layman alike begin their investigation (or even acquaintance) with most Latin American topics by consulting a dictionary. Both the 1992 and 1994 New Grove dictionaries contained so many Latin American entries that not even the present HLAS Music Section can begin to include them all. Nonetheless, the lexicon that will outdistance all other relevant encyclopedias will be the forthcoming multi-volume Diccionario de la música española e hispanoamericana, edited by Emilio Casares Rodicio (item bi 96011444), Ismael Fernández de la Cuesta (item bi 96011404), and José López-Calo (see HLAS 54:5255).

As for monumental publications, Aurelio Tello's 1994 edition of the Manuel de Zumaya=Sumaya's vernacular delights that are stored in the Oaxaca Cathedral music archive stirred universal admiration of both the music and the edition (item bi 96012830). The Gulbenkian Foundation's issue in 1990 of Robert Snow's edition of Gaspar Fernandes' Latin works (item bi 96012865) was similarly luxurious. Piotr Nawrot heaped honors on the 18th-century Latin repertory now stored at Concepción, Bolivia with his incandescent edition of vespers music sung and played by Indian musicians in the Jesuit reductions (item bi 96011876). Edited by Seoane and Eichmann, Lírica colonial boliviana (item bi 96011877) contained what may well be the earliest extant example of a Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz villancico set by a South American composer. The Mexican and Bolivian cultural authorities who financed the Tello, Seoane, and Nawrot editions - always the most altruistic of outlays - deserve warmest thanks and praise.

Nineteenth-century Latin American musicology benefited from the protracted investigations of the career of Chile's paramount touring virtuoso (by the editor of Revista Musical Chilena, Luis Merino Montero, item bi 95020303) and of Cuba's foremost African-descended celebrity (by Cristina Magaldi, item bi 96012203). Samuel Claro Valdés, whose posthumous "Chile" article in the second Sachteil volume of Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart does his nation great honor (item bi 96012564). Published the year before his death, a biography of Rosita Renard (item bi 96012566) invites equally persuasive traversals of the triumphant careers of such other Latin American star performers as Guiomar Novaes, Angélica Morales, Bidú Sayão, and Fanny Anitúa.

Esperanza Pulido (d. 1991), founder-editor of Heterofonía, reaped the deserved tribute of an issue dedicated to her memory by Juan José Escorza, her distinguished successor in editing Mexico's longest running musical journal. In it, her La mujer mexicana en la música reached a second deserved edition (item bi 96012810). Only too surely does the Anglo-Saxon world need frequent reminding that not merely Mexican, but also Argentine, Brazilian, Chilean (Magdalena Vicuña Lyon leading the procession), and Venezuelan women (with Isabel Aretz and Teresa Carreño in the ascendant), shine among the brightest luminaries in their pantheons. In 1995, Revista Musical Chilena broke new ground with an issue entirely devoted to a woman folklorist (items bi 96012575 and bi 96012576).

Succeeding Luis Jaime Cortez as director of the Mexican Centro Nacional de la Investigación, Documentación e Información, José Antonio Robles Cahero drew to his side as second in authority Ricardo Miranda, whose London doctoral dissertation (item bi 96011350) gave rise to the first volume of a long-needed biography of Jalisco's José Rolón. As valuable as is the article by the world's leading Carlos Chávez authority, former University of Miami dean Robert Parker (item bi 96012808), no less salutary have been biographies of such unfairly neglected Mexican figures as Vicente Teódulo Mendoza (item bi 96012798) and Eduardo Hernández Moncada (item bi 96012794). In Brazil, Vasco Mariz added to his lengthy publications list a biography of Cláudio Santoro (item bi 96012207). In his panegyric published in Inter-American Music Review (Vol. 14, No. 2, Winter/Spring 1995), he welcomes the biography of Brazil's most transcendent composer, Heitor Villa-Lobos (item bi 96012161), by Gerard Béhague - who continues editing Revista Latinoamericana de Música/Latin American Music Review, the one music periodical published in several languages that takes the whole domain of Latin America, past and present, as its rightful territory.

The Congress of the International Musicological Society (15th, Madrid, 1992) generated a body of papers published in two successive issues of Revista de Musicología (Madrid, Vol. 16, Nos. 1/2, 1993) under the superintendence of Spanish Musicological Society president Ismael Fernández de la Cuesta (e.g., items bi 96011587 and bi 96012171). Two relevant US periodicals being published in English remained active during the biennium, Inter-American Music Review and Ars Musica Denver, the latter edited by Paul Laird. Barbara G. Valk continued as general editor of the Hispanic American Periodicals Index (HAPI), a University of California, Los Angeles publication that annually lists more articles than can be annotated in HLAS.

The first half of the 1990s proved a particularly propitious period for not only the publication of a variety of relevant printed materials, but also for the launching of several best-selling commercial recordings (item bi 96012578). Previously, the Roger Wagner Chorale had pioneered with five LPs of Latin American classic polyphony - beginning in 1966 with the Angel album titled Salve Regina. Lustrous as were the Latin-texted beauties rescued by Roger Wagner (item bi 96011409), his albums lacked the marketing expertise that ensures lavish sales. This problem evanesced when not only the Latin repertory, but, much more cogently, the Spanish- and Portuguese-text enticements composed during the viceroyalties began being recorded on compact discs in America, in England, and on the Continent. The first-class production of La púrpura de la rosa (Lima, 1701) at the 1994 national meeting of the American Musicological Society in Minneapolis (item bi 96012678) at last awoke opinion-makers in the US to the magnificence of the earliest extant opera composed in the Western Hemisphere (item bi 96012679).

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