The New Quarterly Musical Review
- Complete Introduction: English
Prepared by Richard Kitson
1 volume* (2003)
The eleven issues of The New Quarterly Musical Review were published in London from May 1893 until February 1896 by Robert Cocks & Co. Each contained about fifty pages printed in single-column format. NQM was edited by the English composer Granville Bantock (1868-1946), with the assistance of two other composers: the Scotsman William Wallace (1860-1940) and the Englishman H. Orsmond Anderton (1861-1934). Issues begin with a series of major articles on a number of different topics, followed by three review columns: “Retrospective” about performances of concerts and operas; “Musical Literature” about prose publications on musical subjects; and, “New Musical Publications” on vocal and instrumental compositions.
The main articles are written by important British music scholars and critics. John Alexander Fuller Maitland (1856-1936)—music critic for the Times, the Guardian and the Pall Mall Gazette, editor of the second edition of Grove’s Dictionary of Music and Musicians, and contributor to the Oxford History of Music—writes about the musical structure of madrigals. Maitland is also responsible for the extensive reviews of books about music under the heading “Musical Literature,” and occasionally reviews of published music. C. F. Abdy Williams (1855-1923), an organist, composer, violinist, writer on music, and specialist in ancient Greek music and plainchant studies, contributes articles on the Roman portative organ and musical notation of the ancient Greeks. R. A. Streatfield details the circumstances surrounding the first performance of Bizet’s Carmen. Ernest Newman explores the psychology of listening to music, and discusses Villiers Stanford and Henry Haddow’s views on music criticism. Frederick Corder discusses contemporary musical notation with examples from works by many important composers, and, reviews the literature on instrumentation. The British harp virtuoso John Thomas outlines the mechanism of Érard’s double-action harp.
F. Gilbert Webb, an organist, composer and music critic, lectured before members of the Musical Association and wrote for The Musical World. For NQM he reviews current musical events in London in each of the journal’s eleven issues, under the heading “Retrospective.” This column deals with concerts and performances by London’s major performing institutions: the Royal Opera at the Covent Garden Theatre, the Crystal Palace Concerts, the Philharmonic Society Concerts and the Royal Choral Society to name a few. The opera reviews deal with recently composed Italian operas such as Mascagni’s Cavalleria rusticana and I Rantzau, Leoncavallo’s I Pagliacci, Puccini’s Manon Lescaut and Verdi’s Falstaff. Reviews of English operas feature Cowen’s Harold, and Alick Maclean’s prize-winning Petruccio. Reviews of orchestral concerts include discussion of contemporary music by prominent composers: Richard Strauss, Tchaikovsky, Anton Rubinstein, Goldmark and Grieg. Works by native English composers including Edward German, Villiers Stanford and A. C. Mackenzie are also treated.
Of particular interest in NQM is a very progressive series of articles that recounts the dramatic, musical and structural aspects of modern operas. In all cases the main themes, motives, and harmonic treatments are presented by means of musical examples. Among the contemporary operas studied are Anton Rubinstein’s Moses, Villiers Stanford’s The Veiled Prophet, Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin, August Enna’s Cleopatra, Chabrier’s Gwendoline, Humperdinck’s Hänsel und Gretel, Smetana’s Die verkaufte Braut, and Benjamin Godard’s La Vivandière. Berlioz’s Les Troyens, produced by Felix Mottl at Carlsruhe also received analytical treatment. As none of the articles about these “exotic” operas is signed it is possible that the opera analyses were written by Bantock himself or his assistant editors.
A great quantity of published sheet music and scores is reviewed by the English composer Erskine Allon under the heading “New Musical Publications.” Allon’s copious selections include contemporary compositions from the instrumental and vocal repertories by many different composers: from Britain, Hubert Parry, A. C. Mackenzie, Liza Lehmann, Frederick Cowen, Arthur Sullivan; and, from the Continent, Albéniz, Cécile Chaminade, Saint-Saëns, Anton Rubinstein, Tchaikovsky and Paderewski.
* Hard bound with
- The Musical Antiquary (Oxford, 1909-1913)
- The Quarterly Musical Review (Manchester, 1885-1888)