Nuestra Musica (Mexico City, 1946-1953)

Nuestra Musica

(Mexico City, 1946-1953)

Prepared by Gabriel Caballero
Online only (2017)

Nuestra Música [NUM] consists of twenty-nine issues, published bimonthly from March to September 1946 and quarterly from January 1947 to 1953 by Ediciones Mexicanas de Música in Mexico City. It features the writings of the Spanish composer and pedagogue Rodolfo Halffter, founder and director of NUM, and of its six editors: Carlos Chavez (Mexican composer and conductor), Jesús Bal y Gay (Spanish composer, critic, and musicologist), Blas Galindo (Mexican composer), José Pablo Moncayo (Mexican composer and conductor), Adolfo Salazar (Spanish composer, music historian and critic) and Luis Sandi (Mexican composer and pedagogue). The journal’s purpose was to contribute to the musical development of Mexico and to provide information on composers considered to be representative of the epoch. Concerts dedicated to works composed by the journal’s editors as well those of European composers were promoted in the recurrent section ‘Conciertos de los lunes’ [Monday concerts].

In addition to the writings by the editors, there are articles (in Spanish translation) by notable composers and prominent musical figures of the twentieth century. These include essays by Darius Milhaud on works he composed while in the United States, Manuel de Falla on Wagner’s influence on the music of his contemporaries, and Bela Bartok on nationalism and music in Hungary. The German conductor Hermann Scherchen offers his insights on Schoenberg’s A Survivor from Warsaw and of Moses und Aron. Nicolas Slonminsky writes about both the progressive and reactionary forces observable in the musical scene of the United States. An article by Jesús Bal y Gay criticizing the restrictions on Soviet composers by the Communist Party offers insights of historical value. Carlos Chavez contributes pedagogical writings on orchestral conducting. The history, performances, and activities of prominent musical institutions in Mexico and Latin America, such as the opera of Bellas Artes, the Conservatorio Nacional de México, the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional, the Conservatorio Nacional de Chile, and the Orquesta Sinfónica de Xalapa are reported by various contributors.

Information on early music in Mexico can be found in Isabel Pope’s bibliography of documents related to the history of music in Mexico found in Spanish archives and libraries, and in Miguel Bernal Jimenez’s article on music in Valladolid (Michoacán) which also contains information on the Conservatorio de “Las Rosas.”

The journal’s commitment to the analysis of popular and folk music and the representation of music and dance in literary sources are two of its distinct features. These types of articles often aim to address the provenance of certain dances and genres of music, they are therefore discussed in conjunction with those of other Latin American countries and Spain. Vicente T. Mendoza provides a historical analysis of the literary/musical genre of “El Cuando” found throughout the American continents. In another example, José E. Guerrero writes about the similarities between the folk-dance “zapateado” of Tabasco and the one from Spain. Other ethnomusicological information can be found in articles such as the one by the American folklorist and radio producer, Hernietta Yurchenco, on the recordings of indigenous music. One of the journals supplements addresses the many references to music, dance, and instruments found throughout the works of Cervantes. In another one, José Luis Martinez discusses the Spanish “Danza de la muerte” and its relationship to poetry of the XV century.