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Composer's News Record

(New York, 1947-1949)

Prepared by Richard Kitson
Online only (2017)

The Composer’s News-Record [CNR], a broadsheet type of publication, was issued by the National Composer Members of the League of Composers in New York City beginning in February, 1947 and ending in the spring of 1949. In all, five single issues and two double issues, each consisting of four to eight pages and printed in three-column format were published. CNR appears to have been a stopgap following the cessation of the League’s full-fledged music journal Modern Music (1924-1946).

The first editor was the American composer and musicologist Everett Helm, with the assistance of Anis Fuleihan, Charles Jones, Gail Kubik and Jacques de Menasce. Helms’s services were concluded in 1948 owing to his appointment as Music and Theatre Officer for Wuerttemberg-Baden in Germany under the Civilian Branch of the American Military Government. Donald Fuller succeeded Helm as editor.

The musical activities of members of the League and other musicians in all parts of the United States receive considerable attention in news articles and regular columns about symposiums on modern music, festivals of contemporary music, competitions and prizes for new compositions, broadcasts of contemporary music on the three national radio stations, new recordings, new film scores, and rental libraries offering new music. An important development was the Composer’s Forum held in the McMillan Theater, Columbia University, which consisted of performances of contemporary works followed to questions directed to the composer by audience members. The activities of the American Section of the International Society for Contemporary Music are reported. Reviews of books about modern music and new music publications appear periodically. An important review is devoted to Minna Lederman’s Stravinsky in the Theatre. An announcement of the publication by Information Service of The Music Index, an important advance in music bibliography, is given with details of subscriptions. A symposium addressing differing opinions on the function of the composer in an educational institution is discussed in great detail by Ernest Krenek, Henry Cowell, Walter Piston and Edwin Gerschefski. Gail Kubik examines the negligible participation of the composer in radio broadcasting. Theatrical law and the composer of incidental music scores is discussed by specialist L. Arnold Weissberger, a member of the New York State Bar. A resume by Leonarrd Zissau probes the intricacies of commercial practices pertaining to copyright and the film composer. The stoppage of record making in the United States leading to the victimization of American composers is the topic of an article by Howard Taubman.

The journal contains a number of articles dealing with contemporary developments in both Europe and the United States. Carlos Moseley reports on the activities of the State Department’s promotion of American music abroad. Kurt Weill writes about his opera Street Scene, performed on Broadway as musical theater. Norman Dello Joio reports on contemporary music in Poland and the newly established Union of Polish Composers. Gustave Reese discusses the vague opposition that exists between the composer and his publisher, and Anis Fuleihan responds with the composer’s point of view. Contemporary music in Europe is regularly discussed by Jacques de Menasce, while Ingolf Dahl reports on modern music matters in Sweden. The arrival of Schoenberg’s twelve-tone music in France is discussed by René Leibowitz. Pianist Andor Foldes discusses the revival of musical life in Hungary following the Nazi occupation, highlighted by news of the Béla Bartók International Music Competitions. Despite the smallness of the population and the threat of an emergency, music flourishes in Israel as reported by Peter Grandenwitz. Everett Helm investigates the effort made by German composers to regain the lost time of the Hitler period, when modern music was discouraged and often forbidden.