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(Milwaukee, 1944)

Prepared by Benjamin Knysak
Online only (2024)

Music [RIPM code MMW] was a short-lived attempt by its editor, Arthur Mendel, to produce a monthly magazine for a musically-interested general readership. Published by Kalmbach Publishing Company in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, a publisher without a music focus, the single issue is declared to be a “preview issue of a postwar monthly” which would appear regularly once wartime paper rationing was lifted. A total of 52 pages were printed. Articles comprise the first two-thirds of the issue, with reviews of books and recordings completing the final sixteen pages. Limited advertising appears at the start and end of the issue.

Arthur Mendel (1905-1979), later known as a major musicologist of his generation, was at the time of Music an editor for the American Musicological Society, Associated Music Publishers, and conductor of the Cantata Singers in New York, a choir focused on music of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Mendel was assisted by Nathan Broder (1905-1967) who served as reviews editor.

The aim of Music was the “discussion of the works, personalities, institutions, and ideas of music old and new, for everyone interested in music, whether expert or layman.”[1] With this broad scope, a wide range of content appeared in the preview issue, beginning with a lament by a New York City public school music teacher, writing under a pseudonym, concerning the lack of music education for some half million of the city’s students. The pianist George Copeland provides recollections of his meetings with Claude Debussy in 1910. Moses Smith contributes an explanation of recording technology and audio engineering with a focus on Phonodeik reproductions of waveforms. A well-illustrated article on the handicraft of music engraving, photographed at the offices of G. Schirmer, forms the center of the issue. John Tasker Howard memorializes the Boston Peace Jubilees of 1869 and 1872, and Ernst Krenek writes on the retreat of professional musicians to the ivory tower.

In the reviews section, Geddes Smith, a musical layman, offers a comparative review of music appreciation books. Of note is Aaron Copland’s review of Gerald Abraham’s book, “Eight Soviet Composers,” in which Copland criticizes Abraham’s anti-Soviet biases. A structural analysis for non-musicians of the Beethoven Ninth Symphony, presumably written by Mendel and aided by cues in two recordings, follows. The issue ends with numerous recording reviews, including one contributed by the composer William Schuman (1910-1992).

It is unclear why no further issues were published, however, competition from other journals and a shifting musical readership after the war likely played a part. Very few copies of this single issue of Music appear to exist; this RIPM index was produced from a copy held by the Center for American Music at the University of Pittsburgh.

[1] Untitled editorial, Music (Preview Issue, November 1944): 35.