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Rassegna Dorica

(Milan, 1929-1942)

Prepared by Marcello Conati
1 volume (2008)

The Rassegna Dorica, Cultura e Cronaca Musicale was founded by Vincenzo Di Donato (1887- 1967), a young composer, and musical director, and published in Rome without interruptions in thirteen annual volumes (November 1929 to December 1942). It was suspended due to the war. The title of the journal derives from dorico, a term used in the lyric choral, and Dorica, a collection of musical works edited for Edizioni F.lli De Santis by the “Gruppo Dorico,” young composers including Di Donato, Giorgio Nataletti, Mario Peragallo, Goffredo Petrassi, Attilio Poleggi and Ennio Porrino. The journal’s publication year, usually comprising ten or eleven issues, ran from November to October. From 1940 to 1942 the publication run corresponded to the solar year. Each issue is ordered in two parts: first part is printed in book format, the second part in two-column format, There are variable total numbers of pages ranging from sixteen pages to more than thirty-two pages. Due to a governmental ordinance that required all periodicals to economize in the use of paper, starting from November 1935 the number of pages was reduced to sixteen, then twelve.

The initial editorial board consisted of Vincenzo Di Donato, Mario Saint-Cyr and Battista Travasi, with Giorgio Nataletti added in 1931. From November 1932 Di Donato assumed the direction of the periodical, with Mario Saint-Cyr as editor-in-chief. The musicologist Mario Rinaldi (1903-85) provided the most substantive support to RAD with article topics of informative and critical interest, beginning with an essay on Wagner and Nietzsche. Rinaldi’s collaboration resulted in a series of essays on Pizzetti, Corelli, Bellini, the operas of the Verismo school and the series article “Verdi e Shakespeare.” Rinaldi also wrote many reviews of operatic premières; the column “Rassegna mensile di musicologia” [Monthly musicological review], 1933-35; the correspondence from the Venice Biennale (1934 and 1936); reviews of the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino (1937); and about the Festival in Siena of the two Scarlattis. Rinaldi was also responsible for reports of musical events in Rome, conceived as a diary of the concert and operatic activities of the Teatro Reale dell’Opera, the Accademia di Santa Cecilia and the Accademia Filarmonica Romana, with particular attention given to new compositions.

RAD was published in the midst of a fascist dictatorship and is therefore conditioned by the totalitarian policy aiming at the submission of all cultural and artistic activities. In the first issues the political aspect is seemingly circumscribed mostly to the notices; but from 1936 onward the submission to the fascist regime is much more evident, following the racial laws of 1938 (see the article by Federico Càndida, “Razzismo nel settore musica. Italianità” [Racism in the Italian musical zone]), and articles demonstrating a total adherence to fascist ideology by numerous musicians—explicitly noted by Pizzetti—as a result of Italy entering the war as an ally of Nazi Germany.

The structure of each issue is constant: two or more major articles dedicated to musical topics, such as biographical sketches of Italian contemporary composers (generally signed by Saint-Cyr), music history, folk music (Giorgio Nataletti, Giulio Fara, Luigi Neretti), music bibliography (Federico Ghisi), historical librettos (Ulderico Rolandi), sacred music, musical instruments (Eugenio Albini), unknown composers and pre-Paganinian instrumentalists from Liguria (Mario Pedemonte), and jazz (also Saint-Cyr). The authors belong to the young generation of Italian music critics, who play a major role in post-war critical writings. In addition, the following writers merit mention: Guglielmo Barblan, Angiola Maria Bonisconti, Adelmo Damerini, and Paolo Fragapane. Reviews of significant musical events follow the articles, including the results concerning the three referenda introduced by the periodical: on the study of composition (1933-34); on music criticism (1935); and, on concert activities in Italy (1941), and foreign correspondence, a “Notiziario” (then titled “Notizie”), and “Musica e libri ricevuti” (devoted to reviews). Thereafter, each page is printed in two columns with sections headed by various rubrics: “I giovani” (a series of short biographies of young Italian artists), “La musica a Roma” (monthly reports of current activities promoted by the Accademia di S. Cecilia and the Accademia Filarmonica Romana, written by Rinaldi), “Cultura e didattica” (frrm 1933 to 1938: professional advice to young concert performers), “Vita corale” (signed by Arnaldo Boreggi), “Rassegna mensile di musicologia italiana” (1933-35), then transformed into “Battute d’aspetto” (1937-38), signed by Mario Rinaldi. The correspondence is from cities throughout Europe and the United States. The rubric devoted to current events gives little attention to obituaries [necrologie] (amazing is the failure to report Ottorino Respighi’s death on 18 April 1936) which are reserved almost exclusively to composers and performers belonging to the “Gruppo Dorico.” The issue entirely devoted to Ildebrando Pizzetti (20 September 1940), is worthy of attention, as are the significant “Ricordi verdiani” by Giovanni Tebaldini (1940), the Rossini celebrations held in Pesaro in 1864 and 1868 reconstructed by Paolone from the correspondence of Angelo Mariani (1935-36), and the interesting series of articles on Roman music chapels signed by falsetto singer Alessandro Gabrielli.