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The Musical World

(Boston, MA, 1901-1904)

Prepared by Randi Trzesinski
1 volume (2004)

The Musical World was published monthly in Boston by the Musical World Publishing Company of the J. B. Millet Company. The journal’s publication run extended from 1 February 1901 to 1 January 1904; its issues contain fourteen to sixteen pages printed in a two-column format. Some issues contain music or pictorial supplements. At its demise, MUW was incorporated into The Musician, a journal published in Philadelphia from 1896 to 1903, in Boston from 1903 to 1918, and in New York from 1919 to 1948. Music critics Philip Hale, Henry T. Finck, and Louis C. Elson were the journal’s associate editors for Volume I. Hale became the sole editor for Volume II, and the subsequent volumes were published under the direction of American composer, teacher and journalist Edward Burlingame Hill.

Volume I deals with a variety of subjects with no clearly defined focus: biographical sketches of performers and composers, and articles dealing with music appreciation, criticism, history, and contemporary music. Music critic John F. Runciman contributes a series of articles on modern English composers (Alexander Mackenzie, Villiers Stanford, George W. L. Marshall-Hall, Fritz Delius, and Edward Elgar), and Ernest Newman examines Tchaikovsky’s compositions. The distinguishing features of Volume II are the biographical sketches and three hundred related photographs. These depict performers (often in costume) including tenor Victor Capoul, sopranos Marcella Sembrich and Adelina Patti, and mezzo-soprano Emma Calvé; conductors Theodore Thomas, Arthur Nikisch, Walter Damrosch, Felix Mottl, and Gustav Mahler; composers Saint-Saëns, Tchaikovsky, Berlioz, Schumann (Robert and Clara), and Puccini; and music critics William F. Apthorp, James Huneker, W. J. Henderson, Henry Krehbiel, Louis C. Elson, and F.-J. Fétis.

Interestingly, articles on female performers are featured prominently in Volume II: a series by Arthur M. Abell about young violinists treats Sophie Jaffé, Gabriele Wietrowetz, Irma Saenger-Sethe, Maud Powell and Camilla Urso. There are also numerous biographical notices on female singers including sopranos Lina Cavalieri, Lucienne Bréval, Georgette Leblanc, and Suzanne Cesbron; and a series on American singers in Europe: Bessie Abott, Augusta Doria (stage name Augusta Klous), and Claude Albright. Several composers’ works—Tchaikovsky, Paderewski, Elgar, and Isidore De Lara—are also discussed in Volume II.

Beginning in Volume III and continuing in Volume IV, the focus of The Musical World displays growing interest in musical education in the United States. There are numerous feature articles on teaching methods (particularly relating to piano technique) and on the growing quality of music education. Several important American writers, Lawrence Gilman, W. J. Henderson and James Huneker contributed to the journal.