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Eolian Review

(New York, 1921-1932)

Prepared by Richard Kitson
Online only (2016)

The Eolian Review, the official organ of the National Association of Harpists, Inc. and devoted to the dissemination of information about the harp and harp playing and modern music was published in new York City from December, 1921 to April, 1932. In November, 1923 the title was expanded to include the phrase “A Review for New Music,” owing to the expansion of articles dealing with developments in contemporary musical composition. In January, 1925, the title was changed to Eolus, without comment. Three issues were issued for volumes I and II (1921-23), reduced to two issues for volumes III through V (1923-26) and again reduced to a single annual issue (1927-32). Most issues contain forty pages in single column format. Two exceptions are the single issue volumes VII and X each of which contain fifty pages.

Carlos Salzedo, the eminent harpist and editor of the journal, was sympathetic to modern music, upholding Edgar Varèse’s International Composers’ Guild and other institutions as forums for American modernist composers to hear their compositions performed. Salzedo made every effort to include salient articles about modernism in his publication: Charles Ruggles on the uses of dissonance; Marion Bauer on the meaning of “modernism”; Claire R. Reiss on the reactions to modern music of the “man on the street … the average person without esthetic standards which belong to the past;” Dane Rudhyar on a system to develop “progressive modernity”; and an interview with the writers Romain Rolland and Stefan Zweig on their enthusiasm for modern music. Henri Prunières, editor of the influential Parisian music journal La Revue musicale, contributed articles concerning the International Society for Contemporary Music’s annual festivals . Boris de Schlœzer‘s expressed concern that American modern music lacked audacity showing “the timidity of young composers;” Salzedo countered this opinion with a reproduction of Dane Rudhyar’s article on Charles Ruggles’ dissonant counterpoint in his symphony Men and Angels. However, toward the end of the 1920s, Salzedo became aware of both public and professional indifference to the new music. Notable expressions of this concern are an editorial concerning the important American music critic William James Henderson’s condemnation of the leading modernist composers, and a report on the exodus of the New York audience during a performance of Stravinsky’s Le Sacre du Printemps. Salzedo reproduced both positive and negative portions of Parisian reviews of a performance of Edgar Varèse’s Ameriques, conducted by Nicolas Slonimsky, to demonstrate the opposed views of modernism in the Parisian press.