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Revue internationale de musique

(Brussels, 1938-1940, 1950-1952)

Prepared by Doris Pyee
Online only (2015)

La Revue Internationale de musique (RIN) was published irregularly in Brussels as seven issues (no. 5-6 a double issue) from 1938 to 1940, and six additional issues from 1950 to 1952. The single column pages of the prewar issues are numbered consecutively from page 1 to page 1120, while the postwar issues are numbered from page 1 to 562 for 1950-51, and from page 1 to 225 for 1952. The journal defined itself as the center of an international assembly of composers, critics, performers, art historians and scholars in the humanities, interested in illuminating the cause of music and composers; in solving technical and esthetical problems as well as in offering professionals and educated amateurs a critical apparatus as thorough as possible. Its director, Stanislas Dotremont was assisted by composer, pedagogue and music critic Jean Absil, the musicologist Charles Leirens, and Françoise Dony as a delegate for the United States of America. Contributors to the journal are eminent French musicologists and composers, including Guy Ropartz, Max Pincherle, Jacques Chailley and René Leibovitz. Many pages of advertisements featuring reviews of prominent performers and composers, often supplemented by their photographs, are found in the final pages of each issue.

The first issue contains an editorial and features the well-wishes of many musicians in “Messages à la revue et considerations sur la musique” on the occasion of the inauguration of the journal; “La situation actuelle de la musique dans les principaux pays du mond” [The actual position of music in the principal countries of the world]; and “Chroniques et notes” [Chronicle and notes]. The organization of subsequent issues contains any number of topics selected from the following list: (1.) an editorial and the issue’s principal article; (2.) Articles divers; (3.) Documentation critique; (4.) Analyses musicales; (5.) Les livres et les revues; and (6.) Table analytique des principaux articles des revues.

A breadth of subjects is covered in depth by illustrious musicologists, performers, composers, art historians and aestheticians: music in contemporary Italy, a chronological and panoramic presentation of music in Portugal, Ireland, Hungary, Austria, the United States, to cite a few. Reviews of numerous performances, festivals and conferences in France and abroad, among which the 1939 London Music Festival, the Maggio musicale Florence, and a Wagner Festival.

Some issues focus on a single topic. One on the piano gives the history of the instrument, its evolution from the clavichord, technical aspects, instrument makers, performance practice and comments of internationally known performers such as Alfred Cortot and Marguerite Long. Another issue, on the occasion of the two-hundredth anniversary of Johann Sebastian Bach’s death, covers the entire Bach family, reveals lesser-known relatives, composers in their own right. For the Vincent d’Indy centennial, his life and works are studied in detail. Other issues treat specific compositions, for example: André Jolivet’s Concerto for the Ondes Martenot and orchestra. Reviews of newly published books are extensive. Of particular interest is a survey on music in France including discussion of audience tastes, the major works performed, and the concert hall programs that reveal the importance of “classical” composers. The journal is amply illustrated and reproduces portraits of many famous composers.