Academic journal article Notes

Communications

Academic journal article Notes

Communications

Article excerpt

This column provides a forum for responses to the contents of this journal, and for information of interest to readers. The editor reserves the right to publish letters in excerpted form and to edit them for conciseness and clarity.

To the Editor,

I would like to respond to the late Calvin Elliker's discussion of two guitar methods by Phillis, one of which was recently discovered in the University of Michigan's music library, in his article, "Bibliographical Footnote to Benton and Halley: Discovery of Jean-Baptiste Phillis's Methode courte et facile (Notes, March 2002, pp. 491-503). Contrary to Dr. Elliker's assumption, there is at least one other surviving exemplar of Phillis' Methode courte et facile. In fact, RISM A/I (Einzeldrucke vor 1800, ed. Karl Schlager, 13 vols. to date [Kassel: Barenreiter, 1971- ], 13) lists one in the library of the Conservatorio di Musica S. Pietro a Majella, Naples, Italy (RISM PP2008A). As far as I have been able to ascertain, with the generous help of Charles Reynolds at the University of Michigan's music library, the two exemplars are identical, except that the final page is missing from the Naples exemplar (or, at least in the copy of it that I have received).

In dating the two Phillis methods under discussion, Dr. Elliker draws on information from Benton and Halley's Pleyel book, concluding that the Methode courte et facile was published in 1803, and the Nouvelle methode pour la lyre ou guitarre a six cordes in 1799. Most likely, however, these datings are incorrect. Benton and Halley refer to an advertisement of the Nouvelle methode, appearing 29 April 1799 in the Journal typographique et bibliographique. The text of the advertisement is not reproduced, but, although I have not reviewed the original advertisement myself, I strongly suspect that it actually refers to the Methode courte et facile, and that Rita Benton somehow misfiled the information. My reasons for questioning the datings are:

According to Philippe Lescat (Methodes et traites musicaux en France 1660-1800 [La Villette, Paris: Institut de pedagogie musicale et choreographique, 1991]), Phillis' Methode courte et facile was advertised in the Journal des theatres, 15 April 1799 (Lescat quotes the text of the advertisement, thus excluding a misattribution). …

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