Historical Anthologies of Music—A Review and Critique

October 1, 1970

Until recently teachers of music history in our colleges, universities, and conservatories often lacked adequate music scores for their lectures or study assignments. Those who stressed the social uses of music generally required few notated pieces. For others concerned with technical questions of style, the historical anthology—a collection of notated examples chosen for historical study from one or more musical genres and epochs—was needed but often was unavailable. To these historians music history concerned the music itself as much as memorabilia and anecdotes of the composer and his times. They copied hundreds of works, had them duplicated and distributed for study. Others plagued librarians for multiple copies of key pieces so that their students could examine them in class or at leisure.

Fortunately for the instructor of music history who prefers discussing scores to spinning tales and discs, writer's cramp is no longer an occupational hazard. Many anthologies for pedagogic or repertory purposes have been released in the last decades—not only for music historians but also for music analysts and music performers. For performers, repertory collections are an old story and their number has not increased spectacularly. Anthologies for music analysts have become more and more visible since the close of the 1940s. In the past eight years alone four books have been issued: Leon Stein's Anthology of Musical Forms (Evanston, 1962); Music Literature by Gordon Hardy and Arnold Fish, Vol. I (New York, 1962), Vol. II (New York, 1966); Charles Burkhart's Anthology for Musical Analysis (New York, 1964); and Albert Cohen and John D. White's Anthology of Music for Analysis (New York, 1965). All four volumes stress a feature helpful to students: complete compositions or complete movements of large multi-movement works.

Impressive as these contributions are, they number less than the historical anthologies published (or reprinted) in the last 25 years. This efflorescence probably results from the increased importance of music history in college and conservatory curricula. Outside the lecture hall, library and seminar, the historical anthology has attracted little attention; this despite its birth among other types of music collections supporting the new science of music historiography in the late 18th century. These collections, termed "Monuments of Music" (Denkmäler der Tonkunst) were generally motivated by antiquarian and nationalistic rather than didactic impulses. Spurred by the nationalism of contemporary politics, the editors of large collections such as Collectio operum musicorum Batavorum saeculi XVI, Les Maîtres musiciens de Ia renaissance française, or the Denkmäler der Tonkunst in Österreich, aimed as much to preserve their own musical past as to set right the historical record.

Yet among these collections can sometimes be found an historical anthology. One of the earliest, Jean Monnet's Anthologie françoise ou chansons choisies depuis le 13e siècle jusqu'a present . . . MDCCLXV, is printed alongside a "Memoire Historique" by Meusnier de Querlon. The musical examples in Monnet's volume survey the French chanson from the times of the Troubadours through the mid-eighteenth century.

Monnet's collection was one of the very few available before 1847 when Raphael G. Kiesewetter published a selected catalog of his numerous scores, Galerie der alten Contrapunctisten, eine Auswahl aus ihren Werken (Vienna, 1847). Responding to the need for examples of various historical styles (historischen Mustersammlung), he arranged his catalog as a "gallery" of four "rooms." In the first (Vorsaal) were Medieval theoretical works. In the second and third were the Netherlanders and Italians, with the compositions in monodic and dramatic style displayed in the last room.

Kiesewetter envisaged his Galerie as the first stage of a "history of music, by means of music monuments, from the beginning of harmony or counterpoint until our times." Unfortunately, what was to be one of the first attempts at a historical anthology was never realized by the author. His transcriptions were attentively studied, however, by his nephew, August Wilhelm Ambros, later to become one of the outstanding music historians of the 19th century. Ambros, like his uncle, scored many hundreds of manuscripts and prints but never published an anthology, content to print the results of his research in a multi-volume Geschichte der Musik (Breslau, 1862). But twenty years later, Otto Kade issued an important anthology to supplement the third volume of Ambros' magnum opus devoted to Renaissance music. As such Kade's Auserwählte Tonwerke der berühmtesten Musiker des 15. und 16. Jahrhunderts: Eine Beispielsammlung (Leipzig, 1882) was one of the earliest historical anthologies of a single period.

In the second decade of the 20th century, the indefatigable Hugo Riemann compiled a Musikgeschichte in Beispielen (Leipzig, 1912) in 150 compositions spanning five centuries. Beginning with the celebrated "Sumer is icumen in" (c. 1240) and closing with the slow movement of a Symphony by Karl Stamitz (1746-1801), Riemann's collection might justifiably be termed the first "comprehensive" anthology. He viewed the book as a complete history of music even though it supplemented no written compendium, and ignored all non-European music as well as European music composed outside the time-span 1240-1781. Riemann did, however, come closest to writing a general, one-volume survey in which were printed varied pieces by composers of many epochs and nations.



Within 16 years of Riemann's initial venture appeared three small anthologies, two in German and a third in Italian. Alfred Einstein's highly successful Geschichte der Musik (Leipzig, 1917) went through many editions in both the original German and English translation. For the second American edition (A Short History of Music, 1938), Einstein printed an Appendix of 39 pieces starting with a Dance Song from British Columbia and ending with a recitative from Gluck's Iphigénie en Tauride. With such a small number of pieces over a long time span, Einstein merely intended to illustrate his text "[not] to demonstrate the development of music from the beginning until now."

In this regard Einstein's "Music Examples" resembles a work of Johannes Wolf, Sing und Spielmusik aus älterer Zeit (Leipzig, 1926), also intended to supplement his own Geschichte der Musik in allgemeinverständlicher Form (Leipzig, 1925-29). Reprinted separately in 1946 with the English title Music of Earlier Times, Wolf's collection numbers 66 works from the 13th through the early 17th century. The third book of this group, Andrea Della Corte's Scelta di Musiche per lo studio della storia (Milan, 1928), comes closest to being a general anthology. In its last edition of 1949 are 107 pieces from the classic Hymn to Apollo to Boccherini's Symphony in C major.

Arnold Schering's Geschichte der Musik in Beispielen (Leipzig, 1931) was reissued in this country twenty years ago. The famed musicologist was also an experienced anthologist, having written the commentary for Riemann's Musikgeschichte in Beispielen. Unchanged from its first printing, Schering's large anthology of 313 compositions is still an outstanding compilation notwithstanding some shortcomings. Like Wolf and Della Corte, Schering avoided piano arrangements for full scores whenever feasible. However, his commentary is short, not too informative, and in addition it is printed apart from the music.

Probably the most widely-used anthology of the past 30 years is the two-volume Historical Anthology of Music (Cambridge, Mass., 1946/1950), by Archibald T. Davison and Willi Apel. With over 300 works beginning in ancient times and continuing through a song by Francis Hopkinson (1737-1791), the authors cover the main schools of Western music. Although the selection is excellent, the format is troublesome. To save space, complex polyphonic works are often cramped on piano staves (see Vol. I, pp. 110-111) making for poor legibility. As in Schering's anthology, commentary and translations are placed at the end of each volume, far from the music.

In the preface to the first edition, the editors announced their plan for a set of recordings. Only now, twenty-four years later, are recordings slowly coming into being. Denis Stevens has begun a History of European Music (Orpheus Records) with Nos. 1-41 of the first volume, while a second set of discs has been initiated jointly by the Collegia Musica of the Universities of Chicago and Southern Illinois (Pleiades Records).

Stevens' pressings are far the better of the two. I would have liked however a more consistent approach to musica ficta problems. Accidentals not indicated in the anthology are sometimes added (No. 27), yet ignored where they seem, at least to this reader, equally valid (No. 22b). In another example, "Benedicamus Domino" (No. 28c), the tenor part should be sung, not played, despite its long values in sustained notes.

The faults in the Pleiades discs are more serious for they include poor performances as well as questionable interpretations. For what reason did the conductor of "Sumer is icumen in" (No. 42) find it necessary to begin the pes two measures before the upper voices? Singing measures "for nothing" has long been dropped by high-school choruses to say nothing of professionals. Elsewhere instrumentalists are late with entrances (No. 50) and singers are out of tune (Nos. 56, 61). Whatever happened to the tape of No. 81? Despite these omissions and misinterpretations, it is to be hoped that these two collegia will complete their recordings to afford the student the opportunity of hearing all the music in the Davison-Apel volumes.

In 1951, Carl Parrish and John Ohl collaborated on an anthology, Masterpieces of Music before 1750 (New York, 1951), and seven years thereafter the first author produced a companion volume, A Treasury of Early Music (New York, 1958). Both collections together number more pages but include less than a third of the pieces in Schering and Davison-Apel. This is explained by inefficient treatment of space (many pages are only quarter-or-half-filled with music or text), and the relatively small size of the volumes (approximately 6" by 9"). Of great value are the recordings available with these two collections as well as the location of the extensive notes immediately preceding each example. Each volume and its accompanying records make an effective package for class or individual study, even if the instructor has to supply additional examples.

Just six years ago Erwin Leuchter published a one-volume, 359 page collection, Florilegium Musicum (Buenos Aires, 1964). In 180 examples he completes a musical journey from Hebrew and Greek songs of antiquity to music from the closing years of the 18th century. A commentary in both Spanish and English, as well as English translations of song texts, are printed in a separate booklet accompanying the volume. A strongpoint of Leuchter's anthology are the numerous full scores that make for ease of reading and the possibility of class performance. Their greater space requirements allowed for only 180 works on 359 pages against the same number that Davison and Apel printed on 209 (Vol. I). Since 180 works offer a satisfactory view of the principal schools, editing in full score seems fully justified. Leuchter's Florilegium Musicum does not come with recordings, but he prints a short discography for the reader.

Again in 1964 appeared a two-volume anthology, Music Scores Omnibus (New York, 1964). In some ways it is the most, and in other ways the least satisfactory of the general anthologies published to date. On some 715 pages the authors, William J. Starr and George F. Devine, print examples beginning with a classic Greek song and ending with an excerpt from Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring. Fortunately, all scores are full.

Unfortunately, Music Scores Omnibus is badly balanced: on the first 115 pages are compressed all of their examples composed before 1700 A.D., while the succeeding 600 pages are reserved for music of the next two centuries. Moreover, some pieces have been reproduced from old editions without re-editing and in different type faces. The authors wrote no commentary to justify their choice of works or to explain the style of the pieces. Compared with the collections of Schering, Davison-Apel, and Parrish, Music Scores Omnibus is disappointing. It can be used, however, in literature courses of Classic-Romantic music, because it includes much music from these periods.

None of the general anthologies as yet printed is truly comprehensive because some authors like Schering, Davison-Apel, and Leuchter end with the eighteenth century, while others like Starr and Devine conclude with Impressionism. The omission of 19th-century examples in most collections is probably due to lack of space. Romantic works, particularly symphonies and symphonic poems tend to be long. Yet a judicious choice of these large pieces would still be possible, especially when balanced with the short art song and piano piece that are also typical of the period. The omission of 20th-century examples results from barriers erected by copyright owners. Modern publishers are understandably reluctant to release to anthologists complete pieces still in their active catalogs. But the anthology fully worthy of being called "comprehensive" or "general" should eventually come to terms with compositions of the modern school.




In the past 25 years several anthologies of national music from Russia in Eastern Europe, to England in Western Europe have appeared. Their quality varies from very bad to quite good. Russian music, for example, has been poorly served by the anthology of Semion L'vovich Ginzburg. His two-volume, Istoriya russkoi muzyki v notnykh obraztsakh (History of Russian Music in Examples, 1940/49) is of very limited value to American readers. All orchestral works or parts are reduced to piano score and commentary as well as text (with few exceptions) are in Russian only.

More satisfactory is Alexander Tcherepnin's Anthology of Russian Music (Bonn, 1966). In 80 examples, the eminent composer has drawn together old Russian chants and modes sung in the Orthodox Church, with 18th- and 19th-century compositions of Lvov, Titov, and Verstovsky. Explanatory notes in German and English accompany each piece. Tcherepnin's slim volume, though good, is only an initial effort awaiting a more complete study that will do more justice to its subject.

Far better are three recent books of Polish music: Music of the Polish Renaissance by J.M. Chominski and Z. Lissa (Cracow, 1955); Music in Old Cracow by Z.M. Szweykowski (Cracow, 1964); and Old Polish Music by H. Feicht (Cracow, 1966). Music of the Polish Renaissance, a revised edition in English of an older Polish anthology, is restricted to 16th- and early 17th-century vocal and instrumental music. The reader is offered beautifully printed full scores that can be sung and played as well as studied. The editing seems generally reliable, but musica ficta accidentals are not indicated, an omission that is highly suspicious for music of this period.

Music in Old Cracow covers both less and more than the preceding book. Szweykowski concerns himself with the sacred music of one important city but encompasses four centuries of its artistic history. Some foreigners active in Cracow (e.g. Valentin Bakfark) are included but major emphasis is placed naturally on Polish masters such as Borek, Gomolka, and Bazylik. The third volume, Old Polish Music, is the most comprehensive, with music from the 12th through the 18th centuries. The editor avoids repeating well-known pieces from the previous two volumes so that some famous Polish composers (Gomolka) are under-represented. Unfortunately, the Polish commentary does not come with a parallel English translation.

At Prague, in 1958, Jaroslav Pohanka produced a Czech collection, Dejiny ceske hudby v prikladech (History of Czech Music in Examples). Of its 175 compositions the first 90 date from the Middle Ages and Renaissance. Much of this excellent older repertory has been published elsewhere but cannot and should not be neglected in survey collections. The later periods of Czech music fare less well, with too few Baroque works and some very poor pieces from the 18th and 19th centuries. Unfortunately, Pohanka fluctuates indiscriminately between full and reduced scores, and the commentary is not translated from the Czech.

A new, five-volume anthology, The Treasury of English Church Music (London, 1965) is somewhat disappointing. The first three volumes, concerned with 1) Music before the Reformation: 1100-1545, 2) Reformation to death of Charles I: 1545-1650, and 3) Commonwealth to accession of George III: 1650-1760, contain the best music and most competent editing. Yet even here too little heed is given to a complete critical apparatus or commentary. At fault is the policy of the general editors G.H. Knight and W.L. Reed, who aimed at a practical collection suitable for choirs and thereby partly neglected scholarly requirements. Ironically, much of the music is less valuable musically than historically; hardly a "treasure" can be found in the last two volumes. In spite of the editors, these five volumes will have a distinct place as a historical collection of English church music, both good and bad.

In 1964, W. Thomas Marrocco and Harold Gleason compiled Music in America: An Anthology from the Landing of the Pilgrims to the Close of the Civil War, 1620-1865 (New York, 1964). Chronologically ordered, with excellent biographical and historical notes, the authors have put together a good selection of some main currents of American music. The editing is respectable, but the unreduced values for early music is inexplicable. A more important objection is the neglect of music from "New Spain," some of the important religious groups (Mennonites, Pietists), and all music composed after the Civil War. Although Music in America is not the first, it is the best collection of American music now available.



For his volume Music in Medieval and Renaissance Life: Anthology of vocal and instrumental music, 1200-1614 (Columbia, Mo., 1964), Andrew C. Minor chooses music that "was an integral part of courtly life and was used to accompany worship, state functions, war, courting, dancing, drinking, and hunting." Any book constructed after such criteria is not necessarily the most helpful to a music historian or student studying changes in musical style. The sociological approach to music history, often valid, fails here because some of the most important institutions supporting music (church foundations) are ignored. A single, long-playing disc accompanies the book; the performances are amateurish and some are outright appalling. As a supplement to another more inclusive grouping of Medieval and Renaissance music, this anthology can be helpful; apart from this ancillary role, the handful of pieces can give the student little of value.

In the last decade, Karl G. Fellerer has been general editor of Das Musikwerk, a series of over thirty anthologies illustrating the history of music. Originally in German, the series has now been translated under the general title, Anthology of Music, and provides teachers and students with much material for lectures and seminars in specific subject areas. Most of the volumes are given over to individual musical forms or genres, but some are concerned with the music of a single epoch. Medieval Polyphony (Anthology of Music, Vol. 9) by Heinrich Husmann is an excellent compilation of twenty-four pieces from the early 12th-century School of Compostella through late 14th-century French and Italian style. One can criticize the compiler only for having chosen too few pieces. Many areas of Medieval music are entirely without examples. Husmann's commentary is informed and accurate but, like the music section of the book, too short. The Art of the Netherlanders (Anthology of Music, Vol. 22) by R.B. Lenaerts is less satisfactory. Numerous misprints and weak commentary plague the edition. Throughout the Flemish polyphony that Lenaerts begins with Guillaume Dufay and concludes with Jacobus de Werth, the underlying principle of treating accidentals is never clarified. Two other volumes dealing with historical periods are The Classics (Anthology of Music, Vol. 6) and Romanticism in Music (Anthology of Music, Vol. 21), both edited by Kurt Stephenson. The compiler has done a commendable job in the first volume except for a two-stave arrangement of a Beethoven quartet. In the second volume Stephenson avoids the well-known repertory for many German pieces not too often heard.



Among recent anthologies of musical forms and genres are two French publications, the first concerned with the Renaissance chanson, and the second with the Baroque motet. Anthologie de la chanson parisienne au XVIe siècle (Monaco, 1953) is a fine collection of Parisian songs. In conjunction with a recording of its contents, the anthology can be useful in studies of Renaissance secular music. Devoted to a different genre from a later period is the Anthologie du motet latin polyphonique en France, 1609-1661 (Paris, 1963) by Denise Launay. This collection with a first-rate historical introduction affords the student a view of French Baroque style before Charpentier and his colleagues composed their motets of the late 17th century.

Because of their length, Romantic symphonies and concertos have not been popular with anthologists. Two very recent anthologies of 19th-century music by Paul Henry Lang are therefore particularly welcome. In The Symphony, 1800-1900 (New York, 1969) and The Concerto, 1800-1900 (New York, 1969) Lang prints the mainstays of Romantic symphonic and concerto literature, and makes no effort to search out the unusual and unknown. For each volume he has written a short but useful preface so that the student can orient himself while studying these scores.

By far the most important anthologies of musical forms and genres have been issued under the aforementioned title, Anthology of Music (Cologne: Arno Volk Verlag). Not all the volumes are of course of equal or even comparable importance. Two by Hans Engel, The Concerto Grosso (Anthology of Music, Vol. 23), and The Solo Concerto (Anthology of Music, Vol. 25) miss the main point of all anthologies—emphasis on musical examples. In both collections, Engel wrote a long dissertation on the form with inserted musical snippets, and only then added an appendix of examples, many of which are only excerpts. In his essay on the concerto grosso, leading figures are ignored or treated superficially while insignificant masters are discussed at length.

Another poor collection is The Opera from its beginnings until the early 19th Century (Anthology of Music, Vol. 5) by A.A. Abert. Possibly this was an impossible task from the outset. But having accepted it, Abert should not suggest that ten excerpts from operatic works beginning with Caccini and closing with Spohr do even elementary justice to the genre. Abert's complete reliance on vocal scores further diminishes the volume's value.

Few of the collections in this series are as weak as those by Engel and Abert. I would single out only a few of the best. Troubadours, Trouvères, Minnesang and Meistergesang (Anthology of Music, Vol. 2) by F. Gennrich is a fine assemblage of monophonic secular songs in full score, suitable for classroom study or performance. Many of these pieces have already been printed in scholarly publications but their quality certainly justifies their inclusion here.

The Suite (Anthology of Music, Vol. 26) by Hermann Beck opens with a historical essay including many short musical excerpts. In the second part are musical examples of the genre. Beck's study begins with 16th-century lute and keyboard dances, leads to the ensemble suites of the 17th century, and concludes with the suites of J.S. Bach. The Solo Sonata (Anthology of Music, Vol. 15) by Franz Giegling contains examples of the form in several media. Some are for keyboard or a single instrument and continuo. His third example is a Trio Sonata (Violin, Bassoon and basso continuo) while the fifth is a duet for Violin and Bass Viol by G. Legrenzi, Sonata Quarta, Op. 10. All the pieces in this volume are well edited.

Finally, one of the best of Fellerer's series is European Folk Song (Anthology of Music, Vol. 4) by Walter Wiora. In this book Wiora propounds his theory that national folksongs have a common melodic origin even when they are widely separated in time and culture. He catalogs a total of 432 tunes drawn from diverse areas and periods into 110 melodic "forms" or "classes." As an example, Wiora relates Oswald von Wolkenstein's, "Nu huss" (15th century) to a Mongolian tune as well as the Gregorian plainsong, "Veni sancte spiritus." Controversial perhaps, yet fascinating throughout, Wiora's collection illustrates how a good anthology, directed at the student, can also serve the scholar and musician.

From the foregoing survey it is clear that most anthologists follow Riemann or Kade in organizing their material. Riemann's followers write general surveys while Kade's restrict themselves to one historical period, geographic area, or musical form or genre. Because neither man (nor anyone else, for that matter) has adequately discussed the contents and treatment of an anthology, few specimens are exactly alike. Tacit understanding has nevertheless marked the outer limits. An anthology should not strive to be the Opera Omnia of a composer or musical genre. Similarly, it should not aspire to be the Gesamtausgabe of one category of a composer's oeuvre. The anthologist's goal is more modest: to choose representative pieces for their musical and historical value and arrange them in an intelligible manner. Under these criteria a volume of Haydn's 83 string quartets would not constitute an anthology. But two of his quartets together with quartets of other masters, or the same two Haydn quartets alongside a similar number of his symphonies, songs, or sonatas would qualify.

The editing of modern collections is far from uniform and each compiler often sets his own policy. Perhaps the lack of an established tradition, and the pragmatic uses of anthologies encourage diversity. To this day, anthologies are often not well-defined with respect to structure or function. It is, therefore, not surprising to find no entry for "anthology" in the major encyclopedias or dictionaries of music. Wolfgang Schmieder in the article dealing with collections in the Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart, Vol. 3 (cols. 164-191), discusses the term only as an undifferentiated subdivision of "Denkmäler der Tonkunst." A short paragraph, "Anthologie Sonore," in Grove's Dictionary of Music and Musicians, Vol. I (New York, 1954) comes closest to a discussion of the subject even when it deals only superficially with an ancillary type of collection.

The different contents of many anthologies result from their dissimilar purposes. Critics are therefore mistaken when they reject historical anthologies with examples whose value may be primarily stylistic rather than musical. They inadvertently blur the distinction between an anthology for historical study and one for performance. If a collection is meant for the latter, the anthologist should certainly seek out the best works of a master, period, or genre. With historical anthologies the situation is more complex. Masterpieces are naturally welcome but the volume cannot exclude musically less valuable works needed to complete a survey of what really "happened." To provide an accurate picture of 19th-century keyboard music, for example, Beethoven, Chopin, and Debussy cannot preempt the volume but must share its pages with Field, Weber, Hummel, and perhaps even Rubinstein, Heller, and Raff.

Anthologies have frequently differed in their editing. Unlike those for music analysis in which excerpts of a few measures have been justified, historical anthologies normally have included only complete pieces. Single movements from large-scale works (masses, suites, symphonies) have been found to be acceptable because their musical structure is intelligible without the neighboring sections. Editors have also disagreed about the advantages of full over reduced scores. Nowadays, "general" or "comprehensive" anthologies are sometimes presented in piano score for reasons of space, while those covering a short period of time, or a specific geographic area are given in full score.

Riemann was the first to print the examples of his Musikgeschichte in Beispielen in piano score so that the student could play them at the keyboard. Since not all students of music history play the piano, Riemann's reasoning was never fully justified. Moreover, anyone who has tried to analyze a complex polyphonic or symphonic score by means of its piano reduction realizes how incomplete and distorted a picture he gets of the music. To accomplish their purposes, anthologies should be printed in full score.

Some further suggestions for future anthologists: they should follow modern editorial practice by reducing original note values and using modern clefs. For easy reference, bar numbers should be printed on the score; strangely enough, some of the best anthologies lack them. The distinction between original and added words, as well as the composer's and the editor's accidentals (musica ficta) should be clear. Basso-continuo figures should be realized, especially when the collection is released with its own recordings. One word of caution: since most anthologies are still issued without records, it must be remembered that a basso-continuo realization is the effort of a performer or editor rather than the composer. Any realization in a recording not supervised by the anthologist will differ therefore from that printed in the volume. Lastly, a short commentary about each piece is essential to give coherence to the collection and an overview of the anthologist's historical approach.

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