A Survey of Recent Publications Relating to Nineteenth-Century Music and Musicians

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Anyone who has taught a course on romantic music deplores the scarcity of suitable texts. Not only is there no outstanding survey of the period, but with few exceptions we cannot even resort to completely reliable studies of particular genres or specific works. Among general reference works containing valuable material on significant nineteenth-century composers, the multi-volume Grove's Dictionary (5th edition, 1954) ranks high. Grove's not only gives extensive coverage to the most prominent musicians of the past century, but also includes articles on many lesser known artists. In addition to the predominantly English references, the bibliographies list works in French, German, and Italian. Particularly helpful in Grove's are the entries on poets and dramatists. For each entry, for example, Edgar Allan Poe, the editors list the names of all composers who have set Poe's works. Other helpful general works include the newest edition of Baker's Biographical Dictionary (5th edition, 1958, with supplement revised by Nicolas Slonimsky, 1965), Cobbett's Cyclopedic Survey of Chamber Music (3 vols.; 2nd edition, 1963), and Alfred Loewenberg's Annals of Opera, 1597-1940 (2 vols.; 2nd edition with an introduction by Edward J. Dent, 1955). Among anthologies, two collections of correspondence, the Letters of Composers Through Six Centuries, compiled and edited by Piero Weiss (1967), and The Musician's World: Great Composers in Their Letters, edited by Hans Gal (1966), two excellent collections of autographs, Emanuel Winternitz's Musical Autographs from Monteverdi to Hindemith (2 vols.; paperback, 1965), and the recent reprint of Georg Schünemann's Composers' Autographs, edited and enlarged by Walter Gerstenberg and translated by Ernest Roth (2 vols.; 1968), offer considerable material on nineteenth-century musicians. Two other books, Composers on Music, edited by Sam Morgenstern (1956) and the more scholarly Source Readings in Music History, edited and translated by Oliver Strunk (1950), contain original material in translation. Source Readings has recently (1965) been made available in separate paperbacks, each restricted to a particular era of music history. The volume on romantic music includes two kinds of material of special interest: first, the writings of the "Literary Forerunners of Musical Romanticism" including Wackenroder, Jean Paul, and E.T.A. Hoffmann, and second, excerpts from the literary efforts of the composer-critics of the nineteenth century, among them Weber, Berlioz, Schumann, Liszt, and Wagner.

Each of the above cited items contains information on nineteenth-century music and musicians. Except for the Strunk paperback, however, none is devoted exclusively to romantic music. For that it is necessary to turn to Gerald Abraham's A Hundred Years of Music (3rd edition, 1964, available in paperback from England). Abraham's volume summarizes the music of the past century in a way which is often helpful but at other times frustrating. For readers who are already well informed, Abraham helps to place composers and genres in perspective. Those who are unfamiliar with the pieces mentioned, however, will not be enlightened by his book. In particular, Abraham's lengthy chapters on "Wagner and the Opera" and "After Wagner" presuppose an extensive familiarity with Wagner's music.

Aware of the need for more detailed texts on music of the last century, two publishers recently sought to fill the gap. Brown's publication, Johannes Riedel's Music of the Romantic Period (1969), little more than a pamphlet, is of such inferior quality that it must be dismissed entirely. On the other hand, Rey M. Longyear's Nineteenth-Century Romanticism in Music (1969; also in paperback), of the Prentice-Hall History of Music Series, does come to grips with the music. Unfortunately, difficulties with prose style, some misleading labelling of examples, imprecise statements, and unnecessary citations of minor composers [Mikolajus Ciurlionis (1875-1911), for example], limit the usefulness of the book.1

An impressive number of letters, reviews, criticisms, diaries, facsimiles, sketchbooks, social histories, and monographs relating to nineteenth-century music has been published within the last fifteen years, many in English. Despite their uneven quality, these works present much information otherwise unavailable on diverse groups of composers: German, French, Spanish, Italian, Russian, Scandinavian, English, and American.

Although serious lacunae remain, material on Beethoven is plentiful. Dover, for example, has provided a host of inexpensive reprints of Beethoveniana including monographs on the symphonies and the fugues, as well as social and biographical essays. Recent volumes pertaining to the sonatas includes Eric Blom, Beethoven's Pianoforte Sonatas Discussed (1968 reprint), Rudolph Reti, Thematic Patterns in Sonatas of Beethoven (1967), and Romain Rolland, Beethoven the Creator (1964 reprint). One of the best overviews of the sonatas appears as Chapter XV of William Newman's Sonata in the Classic Era (1963). One can look forward confidently to Newman's Sonata After Beethoven for a continued presentation of highly significant data in a terse, concise style. With respect to the quartets, it might be of value to compare Joseph Kerman's informative, but opinionated, new book on the Beethoven Quartets (1966) with Philip Radcliffe's more casual examination of these pieces (1968), or with the earlier Marliave reprint (1961), based on Helm. Grove's Beethoven and his Nine Symphonies (3rd edition, reprinted in 1962) resembles many romantic discussions of the symphonies in that it is descriptive rather than analytical.

In addition to the older facsimiles of Beethoven's Moonlight, Appassionata and Op. 111 sonatas, several other major works have been printed. Among them are facsimiles for the Waldstein (1957), Op. 109 (1965), and Op. 110 (1967) sonatas, in addition to the "Kyrie" from the Missa Solemnis (1965).

Emily Anderson's excellent translation of Beethoven's letters (1961) is now available, as is Alan Tyson's well chosen selection from the same source (1967, paperback). In view of the extensive publicity given to Elliot Forbes during his work on a revision of Thayer's Life of Beethoven (1964; revised edition, 1967), it is hard to understand the decision to publish the Alan Pryce-Jones edition of Thayer in 1960, only a few years before the appearance of the Forbes work. Pryce-Jones does not pretend to be a scholar and the volumes are simply reprinted from the original Krehbiel translation (1921) with no changes whatsoever. Forbes, on the other hand, has contributed some new information and made many corrections as well. Similarly, Donald MacArdle's revised and heavily annotated edition of Schindler's 1860 biography, Beethoven As I Knew Him (1866), rates well above the unchanged reprint (1966) of the Moscheles translation (1841) of Schindler's 1840 biography. A far more valuable reprint is Oscar G. Sonneck's Beethoven: Impressions by His Contemporaries (1967, paperback). Most significant is the Kinsky-Halm Verzeichnis (1955), with information on various editions and arrangements of pieces, location of autographs, and countless other items. Bory's pictorial biography, Ludwig van Beethoven: His Life and Work in Pictures (1960), has numerous photographs and facsimiles of Beethoveniana. For quick reference and thumbnail sketches of both works and friends of Beethoven, Paul Nettl's Beethoven Handbook (2nd edition, 1967) is useful, although on occasion results may be disappointing.2 Finally, Basil Deane's "The Present State of Beethoven Studies", which appeared in the first issue of Studies in Music (University of Western Australia, 1967), should keep readers up-to-date on current Beethoven scholarship in the western world.

Among the best studies from the pen of an English musical journalist is the recent biography of Carl Maria von Weber (1967) by John Warrack. The author offers a successful blend of biographical and analytical commentary. Happily, the facsimile of Weber's manuscript score of his masterpiece, the opera Der Freischütz, is soon to be reprinted.

A pioneering attempt at a new type of biography, one in which the material speaks for itself with additional commentary only designed to bring the documents into sharper focus, exists in the documentary biography or reader, first compiled by the late Otto Erich Deutsch.3 Following his earlier iconographic volume on Schubert, his documentary biography (called The Schubert Reader in America), and a thematic catalogue for that composer, Deutsch published his final volume in the series, Schubert: Memoirs by His Friends (1958). Here we are afforded a glimpse of the Viennese ambience of the early nineteenth century. In Schubert: A Critical Biography (1958), Maurice J.E. Brown successfully disposes of many of the myths passed on by earlier biographers. A more recent book by the same author, Essays on Schubert (1966), proves helpful with regard to material on individual genres. The late Richard Capell's Schubert's Songs (2nd revised edition, 1957) is informative but scarcely readable. Ernest G. Porter, Schubert's Song Technique (1961), presents his material in a more accessible manner. Finally, Norton's Critical Scores, a unique undertaking, deserves to be cited. One of their first releases is Martin Chusid's revised edition and study of Schubert's "Unfinished" Symphony, including essays on the historical background, analytical notes, and a section of views and comments. Norton intends to continue its nineteenth-century releases with two song cycles, Schubert's Die Winterreise and Schumann's Dichterliebe, both scheduled to appear shortly in the same format as that used for the "Unfinished" symphony.

Books and articles on Schumann in English are far from numerous, and it is a pleasure to report that an American has recently written a first-rate study of the composer's aesthetics. Leon Plantinga's Schumann as Critic (1967) provides a wealth of information on the composer and those of his friends who participated in shaping contemporary musical tastes. A word of warning is in order regarding several of the currently available translations of Schumann's critical writings, specifically those by Konrad Wolf and Henry Pleasants. With respect to felicitous translations, neither compares favorably with the excerpted passages appearing in the Plantinga volume. For Schumann iconography, Georg Eismann's tiny pictorial biography has recently been translated into English (1964). The Great Composers Series4, lately undergoing revision, offers several reliable short biographies of romantic composers, among them Joan Chissell's Schumann (1962). Marcel Brion's Schumann and the Romantic Age (1956, translated by Geoffrey Sainsbury) may be of interest to non-specializing music students. There are no musical examples. However, in view of the predominantly literary orientation of Brion, it is strongly suggested that serious readers verify his statements concerning the music. With regard to Schumann's vocal music, Martin Cooper's essay on the songs which appeared first in Gerald Abraham's Schumann, A Symposium5, has been reprinted in Cooper's own Ideas and Music (1965). It remains one of the few discussions of these works in English.

Brahms, one of Schumann's proteges, has surprisingly never received the attention of authors to a degree commensurate with his importance in musical history. Karl Geiringer's Brahms: His Life and Work (2nd edition, revised and enlarged, 1961, paperback) is probably the best available biography. A more recent book of value is Hans Gal's Johannes Brahms: His Work and Personality (1963). The reprint (1965) of Edwin Evan's four-volume set on Brahms' instrumental and vocal works provides an example of bar by bar descriptions of questionable value. Joseph Braunstein's thematic catalogue (1956) is little more than a reprint of the fourth edition of N. Simrock's catalogue of Brahms' published works, issued in Berlin in 1907. Several manuscripts of Brahms' pieces exist in facsimile, among them the Clarinet trio (Op. 114), 1958, Symphony No. 3 (Op. 90), Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Handel (Op. 24), and Variations on a Theme by Schumann (Op. 23). The last three were published in 1967.

Biographically speaking, Mendelssohn also fares poorly. Eric Werner's substantial volume, Mendelssohn, A New Image of the Composer and His Age (1963), suffers from some inaccuracy of detail but discloses much new material.6 For general readers, Philip Radcliffe's Mendelssohn (1963) represents one of the recommended books in the Great Composers Series.

There are two noteworthy biographies of Liszt now available in paperback: Humphrey Searle's The Music of Liszt (2nd revised edition, 1966), and Sacheverell Sitwell's interesting monograph, Liszt (1967, with a new preface and corrections by the author). Unfortunately, nothing exists in English to compare with the excellent two-volume biography by Peter Raabe, Liszt: Leben und Schaffen (reprinted 1968).7 An especially valuable view of Liszt as seen by one of his students is available in Amy Fay's Music-Study in Germany in the Nineteenth Century (reprinted 1965). With regard to catalogues of Liszt's works, Peter Raabe's excellent enumeration, which Humphrey Searle used in his Liszt article in Grove's, is supplemented by the Liszt-Bartók issue of the New Hungarian Quarterly (1962).

The vast literature on Wagner makes selection difficult. Stewart Robb's translations of the Ring and Tristan (which appeared first in Dutton paperbacks, 1960 and 1965, respectively) are both first-rate. Unlike his other translations,8 the Dutton volume on the Ring does not contain the original German, but does include an excellent essay on Wagner's philosophical views by Edward Downes. Excerpts from Ellis's standard translation of Wagner's prose works have been gathered into a paperback, Wagner on Music and Drama (1964), by Albert Goldman and Evert Sprinchorn. Elliot Zuckerman's The First 100 Years of Wagner's "Tristan" represents a unique sociological study. Jack Stein's Richard Wagner and the Synthesis of the Arts (1960) deserves mention because of its author's position as a professor of German who writes knowledgeably about music. Chappell White's slight book, An Introduction to the Life and Works of Richard Wagner (1967), is eminently readable. Robert Donington's excellent psychological study, Wagner's Ring and Its Symbols (1963), is both more demanding and more rewarding. Among the newer books on Wagner, Robert W. Gutman's Richard Wagner: The Man, His Mind, and His Music (1968) suffers from the author's personal prejudices.

Despite the recent resurgence of interest in Gustav Mahler, no serious work on this composer has appeared since Dika Newlin's outdated volume Bruckner, Mahler and Schoenberg. Donald Mitchell's Gustav Mahler: The Early Years (1958)—the second volume is forthcoming—must take precedence over both Redlich's and Cardus's efforts on the symphonies (1965). A curious demonstration of the diversity of views on Mahler and his music appears in two opposed articles assigned to him in Grove's. Scott Goddard first presents a negative view of Mahler as a symphonist and then Egon Wellesz offers another, more positive, critique of the composer and his work.

Erwin Doernberg's short but informative The Life and Symphonies of Anton Bruckner (1960) is not intended as a scholarly work, but remains among the few studies in English dealing with this essentially Austrian favorite. Hugo Wolf's life and music have been accorded excellent treatment in Frank Walker's Hugo Wolf, A Biography (2nd revised edition, 1968). The Songs of Hugo Wolf, an excellent monograph by Eric Sams, includes commentaries on all of the songs as well as paraphrased translations.

Although Richard Strauss' life spanned both the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, his musical roots rest firmly in the last decades of the earlier century. Indeed, most of his programmatic works appeared before 1900. William Mann's Richard Strauss, A Critical Study of the Operas (1964; American edition, 1966) and Norman Del Mar's definitive two-volume study, Richard Strauss, A Critical Commentary on his Life and Works (1962; 1969) are both excellent. Two volumes of correspondence, A Working Friendship: The Correspondence between Richard Strauss and Hugo von Hofmannsthal (translated and published in 1961) and Richard Strauss and Romain Rolland: Correspondence, edited and annotated by Rollo Myers (1968), reveal much information on the manner in which composer and librettist plan the production of an opera. George Marek's Richard Strauss: the Life of a Non-hero (1967) reveals more about Marek's personal prejudices than about Strauss. The final scene from Der Rosenkavalier exists in facsimile (1964) and, finally, the extensive thematic catalogue of Strauss' works compiled by Erich H. Mueller von Asow (1955 to date), contains much valuable data.

Except for Berlioz and Chopin, composers in the French orbit have not received attention equal to that lavished on their German contemporaries. The paperback, Berlioz and his Century, by Jacques Barzun (1956) is a greatly abridged version in one-volume of the original two-volume work, Berlioz and the Romantic Century (1949, 1950), which remains the definitive study of the composer. Several recent paperbacks offer examples of Berlioz's literary efforts, notably his Memoirs (1966) and Evenings in the Orchestra (1963). Note also Humphrey Searle's selections from Berlioz's letters (1966).

Little scholarly investigation touches on Chopin's individual pieces; the collection of essays Chopin: Profiles of the Man and the Musician (1966), edited by Alan Walker, is an exception. Gerald Abraham's analyses in Chopin's Musical Style (1960) are not very helpful today. By contrast, Chopin, the short book by Arthur Hedley (revised edition, 1963) is useful; and his translation and edition of the Selected Correspondence of Fryderyk Chopin (1963) includes much biographical information as well as peripheral material on Paris in the 1840's. The writings of Zofia Lissa, the eminent Polish scholar who has contributed so much to recent research on Chopin, have unfortunately been translated only into German. Liszt's supposed authorship of a biography of Chopin (translated by Edward Waters, 1963) is generally thought to be the work of the Countess d'Agoult. Fortunately, the Chopin Institute in Poland is continuing publication of a series of facsimiles with the Scherzo in E (1955), the Scherzo in vol9id556 minor (1957), and the Fantasy in F-minor (1955). Maurice J.E. Brown's Chopin: An Index of his Works in Chronological Order (1960) does not provide sufficient information on the various and often significantly differing editions of Chopin's music.

Composers of French Grand Opera—Auber, Hérold, Halévy, and Meyerbeer—have not attracted the attention of English or American biographers. The French, on the other hand, tend to write flattering, descriptive commentaries that add little to our knowledge of the composers or of their works. One of the few available studies on Meyerbeer is Martin Cooper's short essay in Ideas and Music (1965).

Neil Cole Arvin's Eugene Scribe and the French Theater (reprint 1967) describes theatrical activities in Paris during the middle of the century. Ivor Guest's The Romantic Ballet in Paris (1966), a more recent work, may be cited because it, too, contains background material on musical Paris between 1820 and 1847. Martin Cooper's French Music from the Death of Berlioz to the Death of Fauré (paper, 1961), offers little more than a chronicle of the times. Lander MacClintock's translation of a portion of Offenbach's dairy, Orpheus in America (1957), affords pleasurable reading. No recent book can substitute for Léon Vallas's fine older volume on César Franck, although James Harding's Saint-Saëns and His Circle (1965) provides information referring to the same period as the Vallas book. Jean-Pierre Barricelli and Leo Weinstein collaborated on Ernest Chausson: The Composer's Life and Works (1959) the only study in English on this French Wagnerite.

After the Franco-Prussian War, both the French and Russian national schools became increasingly important. Several pocket-sized biographies and studies of French composers appeared during the last hundred years (since 1870) and a few were actually translated into English. Because French publishing companies never permit their surplus to be remaindered, first editions of books written more than fifty years ago can still be obtained at their original prices on request from the publishers. Unfortunately Frenchmen do not write the best books about French music. Consequently it is not surprising that one of the best studies of a French composer, Bizet and his World (1958) is by the American literary scholar Minna Curtiss. As may be expected, there are no musical examples. Winton Dean, in his Bizet (1962), another recommended book from the Great Composers Series, discusses both the music and the composer's life.

There are no recent books on Spanish music of the nineteenth century, although Gilbert Chase includes a few pages on Romantic musicians in his Music of Spain (paper, 1959). The English writer Walter Starkie and the esteemed French aesthetician Vladimir Jankélévitch have attempted historical evaluations of Spanish music and musicians of the past century. The two-volume Starkie set, a limited edition now out of print, contains records to accompany the text. Only a portion of the Starkie history, Spain, A Musician's Journey Through Time and Space (1958) is concerned with the nineteenth century. Jankélévitch's La Rhapsodie (1955), however, deals exclusively with this period in French and Spanish musical history.

The Bohemian composer Dvorák has recently been the subject of two biographies: John Clapham's expensive volume is scholarly; Gervaise Hughes' book, while readable, unfortunately is not very informative. Antonin Horejs's Antonin Dvorak: sein Leben und Werk in Bildern (1955) represents an exceedingly useful addition to the literature. Most of the significant material on Smetana remains untranslated from the Czech. An exception appears in Letters and Reminiscences (1955), a translation of selections from documentary volumes by Mirko Ocadlik and F. Bartos.

Among the Italians, Rossini has been the subject of several biographies, the newest (1968) being by Herbert Weinstock. While readable, this book offers little new material, leaving unexplained, for example, the puzzle of Rossini's early retirement. Fortunately the historically significant Vie de Rossini by Stendahl was translated by Richard N. Coe and republished (reprinted, 1969). Originally written in 1824, it is most valuable for its presentation of contemporary musical criticism.

There is at present no monograph on Bellini in English, although a recent query to readers of The New York Times Book Review seems to indicate that Mr. Weinstock is currently engaged in preparing one. Interested readers should scan his lucid article on musical biographies which appeared in Notes 22 (1965-66). Here he attempts to justify the limits of his research. Weinstock argues against intensive investigation of operas that are rarely performed—even those by significant composers. Instead he prefers to concentrate his efforts on well-known works in order to afford his general audiences more information about their favorites. Weinstock's Donizetti and the World of Opera in Italy, Paris, and Vienna in the First Half of the Nineteenth Century (1963) achieves this goal. The English writer William Ashbrook has also written an informative book on Donizetti (1965).

For serious readers there is Frank Walker's The Man Verdi (1962), a brilliant series of nine biographical studies correcting many of the errors and distortions of past Verdi biographers. George Martin's biography of the composer (1963), written in a more popular style, stresses the political scene and also includes some discussions of the works. Spike Hughes' Famous Verdi Operas (1968) offers much valuable analytical commentary, and William Weaver's libretti of Verdi's five best known operas (1963) is a handy paperback. All nineteenth-century scholars will benefit from the efforts of the recently established Italian organization, the Institute of Verdi Studies at Parma (L'istituto di Studi Verdiani). Since 1960 this group has undertaken several ambitious projects. These include beginnings for a collection of a specialized library devoted to Verdi and his times (nineteenth-century music, art, literature, and history), publication of trilingual volumes (Bolletini) devoted to studies of his operas, preparation of critical editions of the scores, a lecture series, and international Verdi congresses (1966 and 1969). To date, two full volumes of three Bolletini each have been published. Each volume deals with an individual work: Volume I stresses Un Ballo in Maschera, Volume II is concerned with La Forza del Destino, and Volume III, in progress, focuses on Rigoletto. There are also notebooks (Quaderni) that treat details of some lesser known works.

Mosco Carner's Puccini: A Critical Biography (1958) remains the definitive English biography, and includes an excellent discussion of the operas as well. William Ashbrook recently completed The Operas of Puccini (1968), a fine study of the stage works; and Hughes and Weaver have offered Puccini the same treatment accorded Verdi, i.e., an analytical volume and a collection of librettos respectively.

The recent translation by Florence Jonas of Stassov's Memoirs (1969) offers helpful material for researchers in Russian music of the late nineteenth century. Unfortunately, the reprinted essays of Gerald Abraham in Slavonic and Romantic Music (1968) are uneven. Some of the essays introduce important subjects, but in treating the material Abraham skims the surface. Sergei Bertensson and Jay Leyda collaborated on the most recent biography of Rachmaninoff (1956). Sergei Dianin's Borodin (1963) is the most recent, if not the only, book in English on that composer, and Edward Garden has just completed a new study of Balakirev (1967).

Sibelius, the Finnish composer whose music achieved great popularity during the 1940s, has been the subject of several books, among the best of which are Harold E. Johnson's Jean Sibelius (1959) and Simon Parmet's The Symphonies of Sibelius (1959). Two recent books have been devoted to the Swedish composer Carl Nielsen, one a collection and translation of essays by the composer, Living Music (1968), the other a collection of articles about him, Carl Nielsen: Centenary Essays, edited by Jurgin Balzer (1966).

Sir Edward Elgar seems to be the only celebrated English musician of the nineteenth century for whom we can cite a significant biography, Michael Kennedy's Portrait of Elgar (1968). Reprints of the memoirs of several English music critics, among them J.W. Davison's From Mendelssohn to Wagner (reprint n.d., 1966?), contribute much to our knowledge of the concert life of London during the past century.

Notes of a Pianist (1964), selections from the American composer Louis Moreau Gottschalk's journal is his account of the years 1857-1869. It is edited by Jeanne Behrend, whose introductory comments and explanatory notes supply the reader with valuable additional information. This book far surpasses Vernon Loggin's popularization, Where the World Ends: The Life of Louis Moreau Gottschalk (1958).

Lillian de Courcey's Paganini, the Genoese (2 volumes; 1957) represents one of the few competent studies of a virtuoso of the nineteenth century, although popular biographies of pianists and instrumentalists of the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries are plentiful. For example, there are volumes on Gabrilowitsch, Paderewski, Friedheim, and Josef Hoffmann. But these books, together with two others by Harold Schonberg (The Great Pianists, 1963 and The Great Conductors, 1967), are hardly in the category of definitive works.

National histories of music and studies of specific genres represent two further sources of information concerning nineteenth-century music and musicians. Norwegian Music, A Brief Survey (1958), written in an oversimplified style by Kristian Lange and Arne Ostvedt, suffers by comparison with John Horton's Scandinavian Music (1963). Frank Howe's The English Musical Renaissance (1966) stands as one of the best studies of English music from the Victorian era to the present day. Bence Szabolcsi's A Concise History of Hungarian Music (1964), which includes recorded examples; proves exceptionally informative with regard to the music of Szabolcsi's countrymen, many of whom are not well-known here. Two very poor books on Russian music have appeared in the last few years. R.A. Leonard's A History of Russian Music (1956), recently reprinted in paperback, and James Bakst's book A History of Russian-Soviet Music (1966), only slightly better than Leonard's. It is expected that both volumes will be superseded by Boris Schwarz's Two Hundred Years of Russian Music, 1770-1970 when that book appears.

Concerning the music of our own country, John Tasker Howard's Our American Music (4th edition, 1965), acceptable when it first appeared, needs to be replaced. Gilbert Chase's American Music (2nd revised edition, 1966) appears to be aimed at an unsophisticated audience. Each, of course, contains sections devoted to musicians of the nineteenth century. H. Wiley Hitchcock's Music in the United States: A Historical Introduction (1969, also in paperback), although shorter than either of the two volumes just mentioned, is decidedly superior to both. Irving Lowens' Music and Musicians in Early America (1964), includes an excellent bibliography of writings about music in the periodicals of American Transcendentalism (1835-50). W. Thomas Marrocco and Harold Gleason's Music in America: An Anthology from the Landing of the Pilgrims to the Close of the Civil War, 1620-1865 (1964), and Chase's The American Composer Speaks (1966) both contain useful material about nineteenth-century American music and musicians. The more specialized Dwight's Journal of Music (reprinted in 1968) describes the musical activities in Boston and environs in the mid-nineteenth century.

Pertinent material on romantic music can also be located in genre studies, particularly those dealing with piano pieces, art songs, orchestral music and opera. Among the best studies in English is Frank Kirby's Short History of Keyboard Music (1966), which includes an extensive section on nineteenth-century piano music. Kirby provides excellent tables for quick reference to many of Schumann's titled piano pieces, and to the various opus numbers of Brahms' most important piano music. Norman Demuth's more specialized French Piano Music (1959) unfortunately includes numerous errors. Ernest Hutcheson's The Literature of the Piano (3rd edition, revised by Rudolf Ganz in 1964) represents the most useful book on how to perform nineteenth-century piano music.

Recent publications concerned with song include A History of Song (1960), prepared by several different writers under the guidance of Denis Stevens. Unfortunately it is inadequate. The Penguin Book of Lieder (1964, in paperback), edited by S.S. Prawer, includes texts to German songs and brief essays on the composers and their production of songs. Philip L. Miller's The Ring of Words: An Anthology of Song Texts (1966, in paperback), contains French, Italian, Spanish, Scandinavian, and German song texts. Both volumes can be recommended as helpful.

A useful book on orchestral music is Gerhart von Westerman's The Concert Guide (1963), translated and edited by Cornelius Cardew. After brief introductory chapters on musical form and a history of the concert, the author discusses symphonic repertory of composers from Bach beyond Bruckner. He adds chapters on Italian and French orchestral music and concludes with material on orchestral pieces by several different nationalist composers.

Of all the writings on music, books on opera have always been the most plentiful. Several fine works that include material on nineteenth-century operas and opera composers have been published recently. For quick reference, The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Opera (1964), edited by Harold Rosenthal and John Warrack is exceptionally useful. Henry Simon's 100 Great Operas and their Stories (1960; revised edition of Festival of Operas, 1957) and Ernest Newman's Stories of the Operas (2 volumes; 1958) are both in paperback and contain plot summaries plus commentary. Newman provides more historical and literary background than does Simon, and he also includes musical examples. Rudolph Fellner's Opera Themes and Plots (1958) quotes 1000 musical motives, inserting them into the narration of the stories of 32 operas. In the most substantial of all the opera volumes cited, Gustave Kobbe's Complete Opera Book (1961), edited and revised by the Earl of Harewood, the material is presented chronologically by century and then further subdivided according to the country of origin of the composers. The World of Opera (1962), by Wallace Brockway and Herbert Weinstock, is generally useless for the serious reader, apart from an appendix with data on annals of performance of 250 operas. These are listed alphabetically by title. Westerman's Opera Guide (1964), translated by Harold Rosenthal, offers an operatic counterpart to his Concert Guide. Donald J. Grout's A Short History of Opera (2nd edition, 1965) remains the definitive historical study of nineteenth-century opera.


1On page 200, Example 9-5(b), the Chausson Symphony in B-flat has been omitted. Page 214 begins in the middle of a paragraph with the opening sentences omitted.

2A spot check reveals that "Birchall," one of Beethoven's English music publishers who was also an impresario has been omitted; and the last line of the article on Beethoven's family reads "See entries: Brothers and Family-Tree." But no entry exists for Family-Tree.

3Deutsch, whose Schubert, Die Dokumente seines Lebens und Schaffens appeared in 1913-14, seems to have been the first biographer to insist that the documents "speak" for themselves.

4The British "Master Musicians" Series is published by Collier's in the United States under the title "Great Composers" Series.

5Despite its early date (1952), this collection of essays must be cited inasmuch as it contains the only discussion of the works of Schumann in English. A new book by Eric Sams on Schumann's Songs (Norton, 1969?) will soon be published.

6Peripheral sources should not be overlooked for valuable information about Mendelssohn. For example, see the Goethe literature, much of it available in translation.

7Alan Walker's Liszt, similar to his recent book on Chopin, will soon be available.

8Robb has recently (1969) completed several other excellent translations for Schirmer's collection of opera librettos; among them are Der fliegende Holländer, Lohengrin, and Parsifal. For comparable Verdi translations, see Walter Ducloux's Aida, Don Carlo, Falstaff, and Otello.

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