WHEN one considers the Spanish music brought forward in New York in the season of 1915-16, one is surprised that Mr. Carl Van Vechten's book, "The Music of Spain,"* is the only one that has been written that brings to general attention this delightful and little-known music. In that year, the picturesque opera Goyescas, by Enrique Granados, was given at the Metropolitan Opera House; Geraldine Farrar and Maria Gay achieved brilliant successes in Bizet's Carmen; Maria Barrientos, the Spanish singer made her debut here; later Pablo Casals, the Spanish cellist, pleased appreciative audiences, also Miguel Llobet, the guitar virtuoso. Later also by a few months, there followed Joaquin Valverde's colorful revue, "The Land of Joy," with its display of Spanish costumes, dazzlingly brilliant unfamiliar Spanish dancing, and equally unfamiliar and beautiful Spanish music. Mr. Van Vechten writes of these events crisply and informationally. Three essays and notes on the text make up the volume. He says that very little of the best Spanish music is available here. Important scores are as yet unpublished and others are not listed in even the libraries. His pages on Spanish dancing are vivid. Almost one hears the tapping of slippered feet, the clink of castanets and sees the Goya costumes with their lace flounces, the mantillas, combs, and shawls that mean-Spain. Among the illustrations are portraits of noted Spanish dancers in costume, Mary Garden as Carmen, and an interesting portrait of the Spanish composer Tomas Breton, head of the Royal Conservatory of Madrid. Mr. Van Vechten's previous critical works on music are: "Music and Bad Manners," "Interpreters and Interpretations," and "Music After the Great war." They are stimulating, unconventional criticisms of art and music.
-Review of Reviews, Volume 59 show more