A Guide to the Latin American Art Song Repertoire: An Annotated Catalog of Twentieth-Century Art Songs for Voice and Piano

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Maya Hoover, editor, A Guide to the Latin American Art Song Repertoire: An Annotated Catalog of Twentieth-Century Art Songs for Voice and Piano. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2010. Paper, xxi, 343 pp., $27.95. ISBN 978-0-253-22138-4 www.iupress.indiana.edu

Most singers and voice pedagogues, if asked to name art songs by Latin American composers, could readily produce the names of Brazilian composer Heitor Villa-Lobos, and Argentineans Alberto Ginastera and Carlos Guastavino. Music by other Latin American composers, however, is largely unknown outside the region. Even if performers are aware of the rich repertoire, they find it difficult to obtain scores or research the pieces. Maya Hoover offers assistance with A Guide to the Latin American Art Song Repertoire. The volume, intended as a starting point for study, is representative rather than definitive.

The book is comprised of twenty-two chapters, each devoted to a specific country of the region. For every Latin American nation, an introductory essay chronicling the cultural and political history is followed by listings of repertoire, arranged alphabetically by composer. The entries include data about the composer, poet, year of composition or publication, range, tessitura, publication, and where the piece can be found. The editor includes only music that is readily available in the United States, accessible via libraries and collections in Latin America, or obtainable directly from composers and other new music sources. The volume is limited to works written by composers as art songs, with notated accompaniment and intended for classical performers. For six of the nations, Hoover turns to guest contributors. Allison L. Weiss and Stela M. Brandão wrote the chapters for, respectively, Argentina and Brazil. The other contributors are Ellie Anne Duque (Columbia), Jean-Ronald LaFond (Haiti), José-Luis Maúrtua (Peru), and Kathleen L. Wilson (Venezuela).

Argentina and Brazil have produced the greatest number of art song composers, so it is not surprising that more than half of the volume is devoted to these countries. …