Cover

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Title, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. i-vi

Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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Preface

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pp. ix-xvi

Carlos Chávez was the most powerful Mexican artist of the twentieth century. Not necessarily the best (who could determine that?) or even the best known, but undoubtedly the most powerful. Chávez’s cultural agitation—for indigenous music, for modernism, for a place for Mexican music in the world, and for a Mexican culture widely supported by the state—started early, in the years of the Revolution...

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Acknowledgments

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p. xvii

My special gratitude and admiration go to Leon Botstein for bravely choosing to devote this year’s Bard Music Festival to Carlos Chávez, a difficult but important composer, a fascinating and controversial historical figure, and yet virtually unknown to audiences in the United States. What Eugene Ormandy once said of Chávez could be said as well of Leon Botstein: “He’s a fighter!” Profound thanks are also due to Christopher Gibbs for his enthusiasm, ...

Permissions and Credits

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pp. xviii-xxii

PART I CHÁVEZ’S MUSICAL WORLD

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Chávez, Modern Music, and the New York Scene

Christina Taylor Gibson

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pp. 2-27

As Virgil Thomson noted in his obituary for Modern Music, which ran from 1924 through 1946, the magazine served as the central chronicle of the New York new-music scene during the years it was in existence.1 Although technically the house organ of the League of Composers, it was the only publication of its kind—none of the other new-music organizations produced a periodical—and, like many “little magazines” of the early twentieth century, its small...

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The Pan/American Modernisms of Carlos Chávez and Henry Cowell

Stephanie N. Stallings

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pp. 28-45

The fifty-year friendship and professional relationship between Carlos Chávez and Aaron Copland has been well documented.1 Often overlooked, however, is Chávez’s relationship with Henry Cowell, another American modernist active in New York in the 1920s. Though they were not close friends, their working relationship between 1928 and 1940 provides privileged insights into several issues of significance to the historicization of Chávez’s early career. This...

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“The heartbeat of an intense life”: Mexican Music and Carlos Chávez’s Orquesta Sinfónica de México, 1928–1948

Ricardo Miranda

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pp. 46-61

In 1948, Carlos Chávez claimed Mexico’s musical scene had experienced a “surprising degree of progress” when compared to the state of affairs twenty years earlier, at the outset of activities of the Orquesta Sinfónica de México (OSM).1 Although such an accomplishment could not be credited entirely to the orchestra or its conductor, Mexican music had enjoyed during those two decades a prolific and unique period in which symphonic music flourished, as ...

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Carlos Chávez’s Symphonies

Julian Orbon

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pp. 62-75

The symphony and its many technical and generic implications were at the core of Carlos Chávez’s thought as a composer, pedagogue, and eternal student of compositional techniques. We know of two early attempts, a symphony written while Chávez was still in his teens, between 1915 and 1918, and the Sinfonía de la patria (1923), the first performance of which was canceled on the day before it was scheduled to be heard. None of these works has ever been performed, and the ...

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Carlos Chávez and Silvestre Revueltas: Retracing an Ignored Dialogue

Roberto Kold-Neuhaus

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pp. 76-98

More often than not, the life and work of Silvestre Revueltas has been narrated by stressing the contrast, and even conflict, with Carlos Chávez. Yet there was a time when a strong friendship and artistic partnership bound them together. In 1928 Chávez invited Revueltas to return to Mexico as a violin teacher and conductor of the school orchestra at the Conservatorio Nacional de Música, as well as assistant conductor of the Orquesta Sinfónica de México (OSM), which Chávez had recently founded...

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Aaron Copland, Carlos Chávez, and Silvestre Revueltas

Howard Pollack

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pp. 99-110

Aaron Copland and Carlos Chávez quickly became good friends after meeting each other in New York City in 1926.1 Copland was twenty-five at the time, Chávez a year older. They had already achieved some notoriety among followers of new music, and had won several of the same friends, including the American music critic Paul Rosenfeld. But essentially they were at the start of their careers.2 Two years later, in 1928, ...

PART II BIOGRAPHICAL AND ANALYTICAL PERSPECTIVES

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Chávez and the Autonomy of the Musical Work: The Piano Music

Luis Vilar-Paya

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pp. 112-133

Born in 1899 and, from an early age, a key player in the artistic and political arenas of Mexico, Carlos Chávez intensely lived and represented the acceleration of cultural change that characterized the onset of the twentieth century. His reception, nevertheless, typecasts him in ways that eclipse important aspects of his oeuvre. Chávez’s determining, albeit controversial role in the development of Mexico’s national culture in the 1930s and ’40s has weighed...

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Carlos Chávez and the Myth of the Aztec Renaissance

Leonora Saavedra

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pp. 134-164

In May 1940, Carlos Chávez wrote a short piece for wind and percussion instruments entitled Xochipilli-Macuilxóchitl. In the program for the premiere, given on 16 May at New York’s Museum of Modern Art, the strange-looking title was followed by an explanation of sorts: “Music for pre-Conquest instruments (XVIth century).”1 This new work opened a concert designed by Chávez to “give some conception of the historic development of music in Mexico.”2 The concert,...

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Non-Repetition and Personal Style in the Inventions and Solis

Amy Bauer

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pp. 165-177

Recent scholarship shows how the indigenous, neoclassical, and avantgarde elements of Chávez’s early music reflect a complex network of allegiances.1 But little has been written about the later music, especially the challenging chamber works that demonstrate the composer’s continuing interest in a high modernist style that challenges listener and performer alike. As Chávez entered the 1960s and continued to teach and conduct ever more widely, his compositiona...

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Music and the Marketplace: On the Backstory of Carlos Chávez’s Violin Concerto

David Brodbeck

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pp. 178-202

In January 1947 Carlos Chávez received a letter out of the blue from a man named Murray D. Kirkwood, a public relations writer for International Telephone and Telegraph in New York (IT&T). It brought the offer of a commission to write a violin concerto for the professional debut of Kirkwood’s twenty-year-old wife, Viviane Bertolami, who was about to complete her study with Efrem Zimbalist...

PART III CHÁVEZ’S GREATER WORLD

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Carlos Chávez and the Mexican “Vogue,” 1925–1940

Helen Delpar

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pp. 204-219

On page 60 of the June 1929 issue of Vanity Fair magazine are photographs of five individuals under the heading “Men of Mexico.”1 Four are visual artists: Luis Hidalgo, José Clemente Orozco, Miguel Covarrubias, and Rufino Tamayo. The fifth photograph is of Carlos Chávez. The inclusion of these photographs in a stylish periodical testified to the then current and growing appreciation in the United States for the cultural production of Mexico. The earliest ...

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Carlos Chávez and Paul Strand

James Krippner

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pp. 220-236

Historical biography is a tenuous enterprise, one that permits only a partial reconstruction of complex lives and past experiences.1 The task is made even more difficult when two individuals and the fraught concept of “friendship” are involved.2 The quotation above demonstrates that Carlos Chávez considered Paul Strand a friend, a sentiment that Strand undoubtedly shared.3 Though the two ...

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Masters Carlos Chávez and Miguel Covarrubias: A Puppet Show

Antonio Saborit

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pp. 237-254

In her diary for Tuesday, 25 May 1926, the young aspiring anthropologist Anita Brenner recorded the arrival from New York of “El Chamaco” (The Kid) Miguel Covarrubias and the Friday party celebrating his return to Mexico City after a three-year absence. A few details survive from this celebration, memorable among the festivities of Mexico City’s writers and artists. Ambassador-to-be Genaro Estrada performed an unexpected parody of Carmen, with a ...

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The Literary Affinities and Poetic Friendships of Carlos Chávez

Susan Gonzalez Aktories

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pp. 255-272

Carlos Chávez’s relationship with different cultural circles in Mexico and abroad is well-known. Few studies, however, elucidate fully the musician’s various ties to other artistic disciplines, particularly painting, ballet, and literature. Chávez was not only an avid, consistent reader, but also had direct exchanges with his writer friends from which some of his literary interests emerged. In fact, he built a universe of shared values and tastes, guided by his affinity with texts and authors...

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The Composer as Intellectual: Carlos Chávez and El Colegio Nacional

Ana R. ALonso-Minutti

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pp. 273-294

Responding to an ideological and political impulse to modernize the country after the Revolution, the Mexican State supported the creation of institutions, periodicals, and award systems that provided the financial structure for an intellectual elite to thrive. The most prestigious of these is El Colegio Nacional (National College), founded in 1943 under the presidency of Manual Ávila Camacho. At the core of its constitution lies the belief that the knowledge produced by it...

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Portraits of Carlos Chávez: Testimonies of Collaboration

Anna Indych-Lopez

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pp. 295-305

Throughout his long and influential career as a composer and cultural promoter, Carlos Chávez had a significant impact on the development of modern Mexican art and was one of the critical figures of the period known as the Mexican Renaissance. In addition to his strong personal relationships with visual artists such as Rufino Tamayo, he collaborated directly with Agustín Lazo, Miguel Covarrubias, and Diego Rivera on sets, costumes, and scenography for his...

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The Modernist Invention of Mexico: Carlos Chávez, the Mexican Revolution, and the Cultural Politics of Music

Leon Botstein

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pp. 306-338

Octavio Paz harbored few doubts about his ability to write “with dignified authority” about painting. But he could not do so for music, which he loved. As Paz observed, “A Panofsky of music, capable of deciphering the origin and significance of each sonorous figure is unimaginable.”1 The visual could be read and translated into language, but, for Paz, “the code of music—the scale—is abstract: units of sound empty of meaning.”2 In his Essays on Mexican Art, Paz reproduces...

Index

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pp. 339-356

Notes on the Contributors

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pp. 357-360

Series Info

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