Registered Tribunale di Lucca – RG n. 1323/2017 | ISSN 2532-9995 | © Centro Studi Opera Omnia Luigi Boccherini. All rights reserved.
  • Jean Nattiez as Music Critic in Amiens, 1946-1963: The Challenges of Postwar Musical Reconstruction

Katharine Ellis (University of Cambridge) |

Studies of music critics in the 20th century have rarely considered regional figures in centralised national contexts, perhaps because their links to capital cities, and to new music and modernist practice, are too tenuous. Yet, historically speaking, it is through such figures that we can see unfold the musical life of the (provincial) majority. This study focuses on the work of Jean Nattiez (1919-2009), music critic at Le Courrier Picard in Amiens and major chronicler of the town’s musical regeneration following the ravages of World War II. Via examination of his pithy and often trenchant prose, and via analysis of incoming correspondence he received in response to his work, the image that emerges is one of constant struggle to regain and then retain audiences, to rebuild established cultural rhythms and to establish or come to terms with new ones, to communicate the principles of performing excellence, to inculcate a love of classical music in a new generation whose choices had already expanded to other genres, and to balance criticism of and solidarity with local musicians. Nattiez’s journey along all these paths offers a model for future work based on small-town experience of musical life in mid-20th century Europe.

  • Traces of the Blue Pencil: An Approach to Music Criticism and Censorship in Portugal

Mariana Calado (CESEM / NOVA FCSH) |


Censorship and propaganda were central axes of the strategy of the Portuguese dictatorship known as the Estado Novo (1933-1974). Censorship of all publications was regulated by the Constitution in 1933 and deeply marked Portuguese society throughout the 20th century. In 1926, newspapers and magazines started to be examined by state censors, a measure introduced shortly after the military coup that ended the First Republic (1910-1926) and established the military dictatorship (1926-1933). The media operated in a climate of censorship, scrutiny of information, and propaganda. Censorship services had the power to cut magazine articles and news stories, temporarily suspend publications or shut them down completely. Self-censorship and preventative censorship also resulted from this coercive environment, which can be seen in examples of the ingress of the regime into the operation of newspapers and state control of information and opinion. Although there are studies about censorship of the press, and in relation to particular newspapers and/or journalists (for instance, Barros 2022, Carvalho 1999, Forte 2000), less is known about censorship of music criticism. One of the objectives of my Ph.D. dissertation is to understand the specific context of music criticism in Portugal in the period 1926-1945. In relation to this period, and the channels through which music criticism was practised, the question of censorship is key. How was music criticism affected by the establishment of state censorship services? Was music criticism censored, in the same way as magazine articles and news stories? If so, what or who agitated the censors? Are there signs of self-censorship by music critics and newspaper editors? This article addresses these questions through an analysis of selected cases of censorship in music criticism in the Portuguese press. The aim is to contribute to knowledge about press censorship during the Estado Novo regime.

  • Musicisti ebrei in Cina e il contesto delle attività musicali dei rifugiati ebrei di Shanghai durante la Seconda Guerra Mondiale

Chenwei Su (Conservatorio di Musica ‘F. Venezze’, Rovigo) |


The historical context of Jewish refugee musicians in Shanghai is a topic of research that is still underdeveloped in Italy. My contribution with this article is the aim at least to outline an initial introductory framework of a very complex cultural-historical issue that is arousing considerable interest in China, and that in more recent years has also begun to be explored in depth in the West. The musical life of the Jewish refugees in the Shanghai Ghetto during the Second World War constitutes an unexpected moment of encounter between different cultures that not only allows us to assess a unique artistic and social phenomenon but also to better understand the musical developments of the following decades and an artistic contribution that would significantly condition the musical culture of China, arising from those precise events.

  • La critica musicale sui quotidiani veneziani all’indomani del 25 luglio 1943: la censura tra fascismo e RSI

Paola Cossu (Conservatorio di Musica ‘A. Buzzolla’, Adria) |



During the so-called ‘forty-five days’, the leading Venetian newspaper, Il gazzettino, saw at least three editors take control, two of whom belonged to the Italian cultural and literary scene (Giuseppe Ravegnani, Enrico Motta and Diego Valeri) at a period during which the terms ‘fascism’ and ‘fascist’ disappeared from the pages of the paper. Subsequently, men of the Italian Social Republic took over Il gazzettino with the task of rehabilitating the figure of the Duce. Between 1944 and 1945, upon the surrender of the fascist national forces, the publication of all newspapers was suspended, and was to resume only under the direction of the National Liberation Committee of the Veneto Region. On 31 July 1943, a week after the fall of Fascism, Il gazzettino published an article in which Guido Piamonte, the newspaper’s music critic, was already hopeful about the return of Arturo Toscanini who had been forced into exile in the United States in 1939. In the following days, the journalist penned two more articles in which he vigorously attacked the cultural and repressive policies of the regime. So much freedom cost him dearly and he was tried and imprisoned for anti-fascism. From 28 July to 12 August the newspaper’s editors took a clear anti-fascist stance that was followed by several journalists, including critic Piamonte, who a few years earlier had taken Gian Francesco Malipiero’s composition courses at the ‘Benedetto Marcello’ Conservatory. This work aims to investigate music criticism in Venetian newspapers between 23 July 1943 and 25 April 1945, trying to reconstruct the dynamics and involvement of music culture in those twenty-two crucial months that saw the alternation of fascism, the ISR and the NLC.

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