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Revista Musical Peruana

(Lima, 1939-1941)

Prepared by Esperanza Berrocal
Online only (2013)

The monthly journal Revista Musical Peruana [RPE] was published in thirty-two issues between January 1939 and July 1941. With an average of seven pages per issue, the entire journal consists of two hundred and thirty-two pages in all. Issues generally begin with biographical sketches of composers, followed by one or two articles treating a variety of music topics ranging from music teaching (for example, how to train the memory of musicians or causes of time wasting during music practice), piano pedagogical techniques for handicapped children, the piano works of Richard Wagner, and the Italian piano repertoire, to the state of music in Peru, Chile and Argentina; conducting techniques,; the origins of the concerto form; and the basis of musical composition. Two less serious columns close the issues: one dedicated to music anecdotes and the other to anniversaries of birthdays and deaths of musicians. Other regular columns are the “Sección bibliográfica” [Bibliographic section] serving as a medium for the exchange of books and scores among readers; “Curiosidades musicales” [Musical curiosities]; “Correo,” a section of responses to readers’ inquires on musical subjects; and “Obras y publicaciones recibidas” [Works and publications received] reviewing recently received published journals or books. Advertisements are rare.

Rodolfo Barbacci was the only writer and editor behind the journal’s publication. Born in Buenos Aires in 1911, Barbacci settled in Lima in 1939, taking a position as harpist in the recently founded Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional (OSN). Barbacci devoted his efforts to research in the musicological and pedagogical fields publishing Apuntes para un diccionario biográfico musical peruano (1949) [Notes for a Peruvian biographical dictionary of music], Educación de la memoria musical [Education of the musical memory] and El cruce de manos en la ejecución pianística [The crossing of hands in piano performance], among other writings. Barbacci accounts for nearly all of the articles published in the journal, although most of them are unsigned.

As stated in the journal’s statement of intent (Year I, No. 1), Barbacci did not set forth a clear aim for RPE, claiming rather to be open to any individual or collective initiative concerning the cultural progress of the nation, at a time when Peru enjoyed a turning point in the development of its music history . With the foundation of the OSN and the emerging musical academies in various cities of the country under the government of Oscar R. Benavides, Barbacci’s residence in Peru coincided with a generation of cosmopolitan musicians, such as the Belgian-French Andrés Sas and German Rodolfo Holzman, both of whom became the teachers of the coming generation of notable Peruvian composers. From the very first issue Barbacci called for support from Peruvian music teachers and students to whom he dedicated his publication.

Among the RPE’s most valuable contributions, are the unique biographical sketches on composers, always published with corresponding photographs and catalogues of works. The list treats the Peruvians Theo Buchwald, Vicente Stea, Andrés Sas, Roldolfo Holzmann , Theodoro Valcárcel, Enrique Fava Ninci, Federico Gerdes, Pablo Chávez Aguilar , José María del Valle Riestra, Daniel Alomía Robles, Claudio Rebagliati, Ernesto López Mindreau, Roberto Carpio Valdés, Luis Pacheco Céspedes, Raoul de Verneuil, Luis Dunker Lavalle, José Bernardo Alzedo and Rodolfo Barbacci himself. Also treated are the Argentineans Roberto García Morillo, Carlos Suffern, Luis R. Sammartino, José Torres Bertucci, Pedro Valenti Costa, Celia Torrá, and Ernesto de la Guardia. Of note is an interview with Chilean pianist Claudio Arrau during his youth.