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Revue Pleyel

(Paris, 1923-1927)

Prepared by Doris Pyee

The journal of the important manufacturer of pianos (established in 1807 by Ignace Pleyel), the Revue Pleyel was published monthly in Paris from September 1923 until August 1927, and consists of forty-eight issues, each of thirty-four pages. The issues were printed in oblong format in the style of published piano music of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. The final issue, August 1927, announced a merger with a new journal, Musique. The name of the editor of REP is not given, and few articles are signed. Yet one cannot fail to notice the extensive contribution of the eminent writer Roland-Manuel throughout the journal’s run.

There are two kinds of articles: those self-contained and those constituting a “series.” Those in the first group deal with a wide range of subjects extending historically from music and dance in ancient Greece, to the contemporary concerts of the Festival of the International Society of Contemporary Music (I.S.C.M.). Some articles are historical in nature, for example: “L’Origine du Ballet-Opéra,” “La Romance” considered from its origin in the chanson de geste, and still others are interdisciplinary. In fact, the Revue Pleyel displays interest in other arts and their relationship to music, thus: Rodin and music, Delacroix and Chopin, Heine and Meyerbeer. There are also studies on composers, for example, Glinka, Prokofiev and on music in various countries: “Musical Life in Yugoslavia” reporting on musical activities in the opera houses of Belgrade, Zagreb and Ljublijana. Moreover, in keeping with its decision to reach out to other artistic forms, the journal includes a few articles on topics such as the furnishings of transatlantic steamers, decors by Léon Bakst and Utrillo, and urban architecture in Morocco. The Revue Pleyel also contains information about the activities and creations of the prosperous Pleyel factories, from which pianos were exported from the beginning of the nineteenth century to European countries and to the New World.

Among the series, some deal with composers (Carl Tausig or the Scarlattis), a singer (Rosalie Levasseur), music in a given nation (Russia), or patronage (that of Mr. de La Pouplinière). Moreover, the journal published letters of composers; for example, letters by Weber, published in 1926 on the occasion of the centenary of his death—and letters by Mozart to his father, written during the trip Mozart undertook to Paris with his mother. There are also letters sent to the journal by several composers gathered under the title “Les projets des maîtres de la musique.” In these one learns about the latest creations of composers or their works in progress. Relating interesting news of the day, one follows Prokofiev’s progress in composing his opera L’Ange flamboyant and information concerning the revival of Claude Laparra’s Joueur de viole at the Opéra-Comique. In the “Revue des journaux” section, compositions of a very different character such as Honneger’s Pacific 231 and Le Miroir de Jésus, a sacred cantata by André Caplet, are reported on by nine and six reviewers respectively. An occasional article on jazz and its origins or film music, also appears. Well-known contributors in addition to Roland-Manuel include Boris de Schloëzer, Louis Aubert, and the founder and conductor of the Orchestre de la Suisse romande, Ernest Ansermet.