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L'Année musicale

(Paris, 1911-1913)

Prepared by Doris Pyee
1 volume (2007)

L’Année musicale [ANM] was published annually in Paris from 1911 until 1913 by the publisher Félix Alcan. Comprising three volumes, measuring 6 x 9 inches, of respectively 315, 313 and 358 pages in length, the entire publication totals 986 pages. The journal’s importance is referred to in the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians: “written by eminent French musicologists, [it] contains important historical and critical articles. ” Similar thoughts were expressed many years earlier by Arthur Pougin who wrote that the journal contains “important articles dealing with history and music criticism.”

L’Année musicale was founded by Michel Brenet, Jean Chantavoine, Louis Laloy and Lionel de La Laurencie. This combination of prestigious musicologists could only produce a publication of great value. Michel Brenet’s prolific work “is of an exceptional quality, both due to the variety of the subjects he dealt with and the method used.” For ANM he analyzed “Deux traductions inédites des Institutions Harmoniques de Zarlino” [Two translations of Zarlino’s Harmonic Institutions] and wrote the impressive “Bibliographie des bibliographies musicales” [Bibliography of musical bibliographies]. Jean Chantavoine (1877-1952), was a music critic for the Revue hebdomadaire, the Excelsior and Le Ménestrel. His regular contribution to the journal consists of an annual review of musical activities in the capital. Entitled “La Musique en ....” followed by the year considered (1911, 1912, 1913), this column covers, in 1911, for example, “the theatre, the symphony and chamber music” at the Opéra, Opéra-Comique, Théâtre du Châtelet and Théâtre Sarah Bernhardt. Reviews of the Concerts du Conservatoire and general conclusions concerning the year’s musical activities complete this column. In 1912 and 1913, the Théâtre des Arts, Théâtre de la Gaîté and Gaîté-Lyrique are also treated. Apart from concert reviews, Massenet’s death in 1912 is the occasion to recall the composer’s work. In 1913, the première of Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring was in the news and a detailed analysis of it appears in this column. The performance of this work was considered “among the most important events in French musical life.” Lionel de La Laurencie (1861-1933) wrote three outstanding articles for ANM: “Contribution à l’histoire de la symphonie française vers 1750” [Contribution to the history of French symphony around 1750] “André Campra musicien profane. Notes biographiques” [André Campra, secular musician. Bibliographical notes], and “Deux imitateurs des bouffons: Blavet et Dauvergne” [Two imitators of the Bouffons: Blavet and Dauvergne].

Each year ANM published five or six independent articles including historical, theoretical, critical and bibliographical studies of great interest as they supply remarkably rich information about a period extending from the Middle Ages to the end of the eighteenth century. Apart from the contributions of the journal’s founders, the articles deal, for example, with “La musique de la Chambre et de l’Écurie sous le règne de François Ier (1516-1547)” [Chamber music in the royal room and stable under the reign of King Francis the First (1516-1547)], “Les Lullistes et les Ramistes” [The Lullists and Ramists], “Jean de Cambefort d’après des documents inédits” [Jean de Cambefort according to unpublished documents], “La critique musicale dans les ‘revues’ au dix-huitième siècle” [Music criticism in the eighteenth-century ‘revues’], and “Le Baron de Bagge et son temps” [Baron de Bagge and his time].

The journal’s articles are followed by an important section entitled “Bibliographie” in which analytical reviews deal with recently published books in French, English, German, Russian or Italian: L. Augé de Lassus’s La Trompette. Un demi-siècle de musique de chambre [La Trompette. Half a century of chamber music], Giuseppe Radiciotti’s G. B. Pergolesi, vita, opere ed influenza su l’arte [G. B. Pergolesi, life, work and influence on art], Otto Klauwell’s Geschichte der Programmusik von ihren Anfängen bis zur Gegenwart [History of program music from its beginning to the present], S. Kierkegaard’s L’erotico nella musica [The erotic in music], Eugénie Lineff’s Peasant Songs of Russia, as they are in the Folk’s Harmonisation, and Henry Davison’s From Mendelssohn to Wagner, Being the Memoirs of J. W. Davison, Forty Years Music Critic of “The Times.”

In addition to the editors’ contributions, the only other article contributors are Henri Collet, Georges Cucuel, Henri Prunières and L. Royer. Russian music specialist Michel-Dimitri Calvocoressi and church music authority Félix Raugel are among the authors of book reviews in the “Bibliographie” section.