La Revue musicale de France
Prepared by Doris Pyee
Online only (2013)
La Revue musicale de France [RMF], a “Nouvelle Publication illustrée” was published from March 1946 until October 1947 by Gaveau, the Parisian piano and harpsichord manufacturer, and was, in 1906-1907, the builder of a concert hall which remains in use today. Grouping a myriad of collaborators with different perceptions, the journal constitutes an exceptional chronicle of musical activities in France and abroad just after the Second World War.
RMF was first intended to be published bi-monthly, on the 1st and the 15th of each month, but the publication rate had to be reduced in part due to paper shortage. The entire journal run comprises twelve issues, each consisting of twenty-five pages, organized in two columns. The journal covers a breadth of subjects: theoretical, historical and analytical articles deal with trends in music, such as “Académisme et Modernisme” [Academicism and modernism]; a comprehensive study of a lesser-known musical tradition “L’Iran et sa tradition musicale” [Iran ant its musical tradition]; or links between music and literature such as “Affinités entre Ravel et Valéry” [Affinities between Ravel and Valéry]. Extensive reviews deal with operas, symphonic and chamber music concerts, recitals, ballets, music festivals in France and abroad, international music competitions, recent recordings, films, books, radio programs and jazz.
The first page includes a table of contents and a short article, generally a tribute to a famous artist, such as ballerina Tamara Toumanova or the Australian soprano Marjorie Lawrence, as well as important modern composers including Manuel de Falla and Maurice Ravel. A section entitled “Théâtre Lyrique,” in which performances at the Paris Opéra and Opéra-Comique or at theaters in the provinces are reviewed: performances are either operatic revivals (Saint-Saëns’ Samson et Dalila in Marseille) or premières (Rabaud’s Martine in Strasbourg or Poulenc’s Les Mamelles de Térésias at the Opéra-Comique). Reviews of concerts and recitals feature some of the most prestigious soloists of the time: the pianists Nikita Magaloff and Marguerite Long, violinists Yehudi Menuhin, Jacques Thibaud and Zino Francescatti, and the renowned singers Géori Boué and Gérard Souzay. In “Les Grands Concerts Symphoniques,” performances by the Pasdeloup, Colonne and Lamoureux orchestras, the Orchestre National, the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, among others, are discussed. “Panorama musical de la France” [Musical panorama of France] constitutes an extensive review of musical events in major French cities among which are Lyons, Toulouse, Vichy, Orange, Marseille and Bayonne. “La musique à l’étranger” [Foreign music] reports on concerts in Europe and in the Unites States, Lebanon, Greece and the U.S.S.R., and international festivals in Montreux, Lucerne, Prague, Salzburg, Venice and Edinburgh. Special attention is given to dance, especially the Monte-Carlo ballets with choreographer Serge Lifar and innovative dancers like Isadora Duncan and Kurt Jooss. Recent classical and jazz recordings, as well as recipients of the ”Grand Prix du disque” are also discussed. The RMF is amply illustrated, presenting photographs of musicians and dancers, stage settings, costumes and major buildings.