Writings on Music - Vol. 4

Writings on Music - Vol. 4

Writings on Music - Vol. 4

Writings on Music - Vol. 4


Nicolas Slonimsky was an influential and celebrated writer on music. Working as a freelance author, he built a large file of reviews, articles, and even manuscripts for books that were never published. This is the final volume in a four volume set of his work.


At the beginning, it was not at all obvious how to organize this collection of Slonimsky writings, numbering in the hundreds. Clearly, Russian and Soviet music would be central. But also American music, North and South. Modern music cuts across all geographical categories. The articles varied considerably in length, tone, depth, intended readership. Written over more than fifty years, their historic perspective and writing style shift and evolve. Most of the earlier articles are about the present, while many of the later ones look back on that present that was. How should they be organized into four volumes?

Finally, it emerged that the Boston Evening Transcript articles, though on diverse subjects, comprised a coherent stylistic and historic unit for the first volume. Russian/Soviet pieces then became volume two, and modern music, worldwide, was the obvious third volume. All articles on these three topics were pulled from the mix, regardless of when they were written or whether they were coherent in terms of style and length (they weren't).

That left … everything else, still a very large number of writings. Heterogeneous as to subject (to say the least), they were variously interesting, provocative, funny, scholarly, cerebral, offbeat, opinionated-in other words, Slonimskyana. Within this elastic title, articles on any subject, of any nature, from any source, of whatever length, could be included: herein the reader finds The Best of Everything Else.

Ah, but how should they be organized? In what categories, what order? I confess that the five categories I created are absolutely artificial. As packages, some groupings are a bit lumpy, but not, I hope, offensive. Within each, the articles are in chronological order.

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