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Reviewed by:
  • Liber Amicorum: Festschriften for Music Scholars and Nonmusicians, 1840–1966
  • Allen Scott
Liber Amicorum: Festschriften for Music Scholars and Nonmusicians, 1840–1966. Edited by Zdravko Blažeković and James R. Cowdery. (RILM Retrospective Series, 5.) New York: Répertoire International de Littérature Musicale, 2009. [xxxii, 599 p. ISBN 9781932765045. $145.] Indexes.

Although famously disparaged by Nicolas Slonimsky in his Lectionary of Music (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1989), Festschriften have an honored place in music scholarship. Many if not most of the leading music scholars in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries have made valuable contributions to their fields of study in this venue. According to Ernst C. Krohn in his article "Musical Festschriften and Related Publications" for this journal (Notes 21, no. 1–2 [Winter 1963–Spring 1964]: 94), "Since these anniversary volumes are usually the only place in which the respective essays are published, such volumes assume bibliographical importance of a high degree." Moreover, RILM Retrospective Series editor Barbara Dobbs Mackenzie asserts in the introduction to Liber Amicorum that "[t]here is another layer of significance to this body of work: Many seminal works were published in Festschriften just at the time when the disciplines were first being established, lending these works historiographic importance over and above the specific content of their reported research" (p. xv). The value of Festschriften as significant sources for music research, however, has been hampered by the fact that their contents were not easily accessible, especially pre-1967 publications that are not indexed in a single print source or searchable database available on the Web. Thanks to this volume, the first of three to index the contents of Fest schriften, the accessibility problem is being solved.

According to editor, James R. Cowdery, the project began with the most complete single index of Festschriften to date—Walter Gerboth's An Index to Musical Festschriften and Similar Publications (New York: W. W. Norton, 1969). To Gerboth's list, the RILM staff added items from Imogen Fellenger's essay on "Fest- und Gelegenheitsschriften" in the second edition of Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart, Krohn's "Musical Festschriften and Related Publications" cited above, Marc-André Roberge's "Focussing Attention: Special Issues in German-Language Music Periodicals of the First Half of the Twentieth Century" (Royal Musical Association Research Chronicle 27 [1994]: 71–99), and Nigel Simone's "Festschriften" article in the second edition of the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians. In addition, the RILM editors searched a number of databases and the Web for Festschriften to index, and various RILM national committees contributed items as well. At the end of the collection process, the RILM team had gathered over 11,500 records—far too many for a single volume. Therefore, the editors decided to divide the records into three volumes. Liber Amicorum, the first to appear, "documents Festschriften for music scholars and nonmusicians (including scholars and artists in [End Page 136] other fields)" (p. xiii). The next two volumes will index Festschriften "celebrating milestones of composers and performing musicians" and those "marking anniversaries of institutions … and other nonpersonal entities such as cities and countries" (p. xiii).

At the risk of beginning this review on a slightly negative note, I feel the need to clarify the meaning of the volume's subtitle, "Festschriften for Music Scholars and Nonmusicians," which is not made completely clear in the introductory material. Liber Amicorum indexes articles about music found not only in Festschriften dedicated to musicians or music scholars, but also articles about music found in Festschriften dedicated to scholars in other fields, such as archaeology, linguistics, theology, philosophy, and medicine. For example, the authors and subjects index lists eight items (both Festschriften and articles) under the subject heading "archaeology." The first item references a three-volume Festschrift dedicated to the French Egyptologist Gaston Maspero and his son, the Byzantine scholar Jean Maspero. The Festschrift's third volume contains three articles pertaining to music, which are indexed and abstracted in Liber Amicorum.

Liber Amicorum begins with a catalog of 574 Festschriften (totaling 118 pages and 715 entries), arranged in alphabetical order by honoree; citations of reviews of the Festschriften are also included. Each entry contains publication information...


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