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Parralejo Masa Francisco, El músico como intelectual. Adolfo Salazar y la creación del discurso de la vanguardia musical española (1914-1936)

Madrid, Sociedad Española de Musicología,2019, 484 p.
Michael Christoforidis
Référence(s) :

Parralejo Masa Francisco, El músico como intelectual. Adolfo Salazar y la creación del discurso de la vanguardia musical española (1914-1936), Madrid, Sociedad Española de Musicología,2019, 484 p.

Texte intégral

  • 1 See for example the exhibition and accompanying catalogue La Música en la Generación del 27: Homen (...)
  • 2 Reprinted by Universidad de Oviedo, Servicio de Publicaciones Arte-Musicología (1982).

1Music and modernity in interwar Spain have been a key area of study for Spanish musicology over the past four decades, and one that coincides with the resurgence of the discipline within that nation. My own interest in the area dates back to the late 1980s, a period in which issues of musical modernity and the institutional frameworks of the Edad de Plata [Silver Age] had resurfaced in the literature, at times imbued with a quasi-political zeal to demonstrate the musical potential of the Republican project for post-transition Spain.1 Needless to say, the revindication of the figure of Adolfo Salazar was central to this enterprise, drawing heavily on his musical criticism, and including the republication of some of his key monographs, starting with a facsimile edition of his 1930 classic, La música contemporánea en España.2 While musicologists have since taken more nuanced approaches to some of the assumptions underpinning this early revindication of the Edad de Plata and the primacy of Salazar – thereby creating the space for other voices, repertories and narratives – his impact on Spanish music of the first half of the twentieth century still looms large.

  • 3 Carredano Consuelo (ed.), Adolfo Salazar. Epistolario, 1912-1958, Madrid, Fundación Scherzo, Publi (...)

2Francisco Parralejo Masa’s volume is therefore a very welcome addition to the critical study of interwar Spanish music and, more importantly, to our understanding of the pivotal position of Salazar as a music critic during the period. It builds on the landmark publications by Consuelo Carredano of Salazar’s voluminous and highly illuminating correspondence,3 and provides insights into what was arguably the key facet of this multifaceted musician and cultural propagandist. However, while music criticism is at the core of Parralejo Masa’s volume, the author strives to illuminate the intellectual foundations of Salazar’s writings during the first two decades of his professional career.

3The book comprises four chapters, each of which is divided into clearly structured sections. These are preceded by a succinct and informative preamble that serves to circumscribe the scope of the study by introducing the reader to the position of music and Salazar in the context of the Edad de Plata. The first chapter, “El músico como intelectual” [The musician as an intellectual] , frames the new contexts for (and discourses of) music criticism that arose around the Generation of 1914, and situates Salazar’s early career in this intellectual orbit. Most notable is the way Parralejo Masa highlights the influence of the leading intellectual of the Generation of 1914, the philosopher and cultural activist José Ortega y Gasset, in the framing of Salazar’s elitist conception of modernity. The chapter concludes with a discussion of generational change as the principal aesthetic motor of modernity.

4The second chapter is dedicated to what Parralejo Masa terms the “discourse of rupture” and its varied musical manifestations, in both Salazar’s writings and ideas emanating from Spain and abroad. The focus is on questions of anti-academicism, the idea of the new, and the framing and rejection of Romanticism. The chapter concludes with reflections on the breakdown of the market for new music and the possible intervention of the State. Chapter three is most closely aligned to the question of Salazar’s construction of Spanish musical nationalism, one that is linked to the idea of musical nationalism, Parisian avant-garde and neoclassicism, with Manuel de Falla as its principal exponent. The final chapter broadens the lens to include other narratives emanating from a range of – mostly Madrid-based – music critics (of different aesthetic and political hues), and their points of intersection with the ideas and writings of Salazar.

5This volume is the result of a substantive and sustained research effort on the part of Parralejo Masa, one in which he has synthesised a huge volume of information drawn from the press and other primary sources, as well as an extensive body of secondary literature. However, he is not overwhelmed by this plethora of information. The narrative is clearly structured, and it is presented with a clarity of expression that does not diminish the nuances of the often-complex texts that are explored. The referencing is exemplary, and the volume includes an onomastic index, although the inclusion of a thematic index would have been very useful in a book of this kind. In fact, given the scope of this book, and that it presents so much documentation, an electronic edition would be very welcome and enable greater search capability. Digital format would also assist with the broader dissemination of this key work, and facilitate its reading (the font size of the interesting footnotes is miniscule).

  • 4 To that end recourse to the work of Ruth Piquer would have been welcome, including Clasicismo mode (...)

6Analysis of the press, with recourse to other aspects of reception history, form the cornerstones of Parralejo Masa’s methodology, however, the author is not circumscribed by such approaches and draws on a variety of sources to enrich his argument. And while the study is squarely situated in Spain (and largely centred on the Madrid context), much international context is provided. And this is just as well, given that Salazar’s musical tastes and aesthetics were largely shaped by Parisian notions of Latinité, and cosmopolitan “nationalist” internationalism in music in the aftermath of World War I. In a sense, Salazar’s polemical tone, and at times even his contradictory pronouncements (an aspect addressed by Parralejo Masa), were conditioned by this identification with, and promotion of, evolving constructions of modernism that emanated from internationalist forums aligned with developments in Paris. Manuel de Falla, the principal Spanish exponent of these ideas of musical modernity in his oeuvre, became integral to Salazar’s construction of modernist nationalism, and in the process (and at times via Falla’s promotion) Salazar became a key representative and propagandist of Spanish music in several international forums, including the International Society for Contemporary Music. The dynamic exchange between the two musicians is treated in depth, and here Parralejo Masa even resorts to some discussion (and exemplification) of Falla’s construction of his neoclassical music. However, the overall focus on the written word (and published texts) in the framing of Salazar’s ideas in this volume leaves scope for exploration of other aesthetic underpinnings for the ideas promulgated by Salazar. For instance, there is relatively little discussion of the impact of the visual arts, which radically shaped aspects of Parisian musical modernity and conceptual parameters of Falla’s neoclassicism.4

7Parralejo Masa does well to touch on some of the human factors surrounding Salazar’s promotion of certain agendas and composers, in particular Ernesto Halffter, and it is hoped that a global study of Salazar and his prodigious output (perhaps even in the form of a biography) will provide a more nuanced and integrated understanding of this remarkable creative, intellectual, and often combative and political figure – one that also privileges the personal dimension. Such a volume could also provide insights into how many of the ideas explored in this book, which does not venture much beyond the advent of the Second Spanish Republic, were later synthesised by Salazar in his monographs (arguably his most rigorously intellectual endeavours). Nonetheless, any future study of Salazar will owe a huge debt of gratitude to Parralejo Masa’s impressive research that is presented lucidly in this exceptional book, as will innumerable scholars of Spanish music and musical modernity in the early twentieth century.

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Notes

1 See for example the exhibition and accompanying catalogue La Música en la Generación del 27: Homenaje a Lorca (Madrid, Ministerio de Cultura, 1986), curated by Emilio Casares Rodicio as part of the Granada Festival.

2 Reprinted by Universidad de Oviedo, Servicio de Publicaciones Arte-Musicología (1982).

3 Carredano Consuelo (ed.), Adolfo Salazar. Epistolario, 1912-1958, Madrid, Fundación Scherzo, Publicaciones de la Residencia de Estudiantes, e Instituto Nacional de las Artes Escénicas y de la Música, 2008; and more recently Manuel de Falla - Adolfo Salazar Epistolario. 1916-1944, Madrid, Publicaciones de la Residencia de Estudiantes, Amigos de la Residencia, 2022.

4 To that end recourse to the work of Ruth Piquer would have been welcome, including Clasicismo moderno, neoclasicismo, y retornos en el pensamiento musical español (1915-1939), Sevilla, Editorial Doble J, 2010.

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Référence électronique

Michael Christoforidis, « Parralejo Masa Francisco, El músico como intelectual. Adolfo Salazar y la creación del discurso de la vanguardia musical española (1914-1936) »Transposition [En ligne], 11 | 2023, mis en ligne le 14 novembre 2023, consulté le 18 juin 2024. URL : http://0-journals-openedition-org.catalogue.libraries.london.ac.uk/transposition/8149 ; DOI : https://0-doi-org.catalogue.libraries.london.ac.uk/10.4000/transposition.8149

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Auteur

Michael Christoforidis

Michael Christoforidis (University of Melbourne) was born in Melbourne, Australia. He completed his Ph.D. on aspects of the creative process in Manuel de Falla’s Neoclassical music. He has been a research associate at the Instituto Complutense de Ciencias Musicales (Madrid) and at the Archivo Manuel de Falla (Granada), where he was responsible for classifying the composer’s annotations to his library. He has published extensively on aspects of 20th century Hispanic music and is currently completing a monograph on Spanish music in Belle-Epoque Paris. His next major research project examines Bizet’s Carmen, Spain and the emergence of popular culture. Other research interests include the music of Igor Stravinsky and Percy Grainger.

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