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Music Criticism and Music Critics in Early Francoist Spain$

Eva Moreda Rodriguez

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190215866

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190215866.001.0001

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(p.135) Appendix I Publications, 1939–1951

(p.135) Appendix I Publications, 1939–1951

Music Criticism and Music Critics in Early Francoist Spain

Eva Moreda Rodríguez

Oxford University Press



Began: 1905

Ended: still published today. At the beginning of the Civil War, the Republican government confiscated its offices and nationalized the newspaper. In turn, the nationalist side started its own ABC (under the name ABC Sevilla) in Seville. At the end of the war, ABC and ABC Sevilla merged.

Print run: 16,000 subscribers according to Anuario de la Prensa 1945–46 (subscriptions typically amounted to 10–30 percent of the total print run of a newspaper). It was mainly distributed in Madrid, Barcelona, Zaragoza, Valencia, Málaga, and Alicante.

Founder/publisher: initially founded by Torcuato Luca de Tena. The private company Prensa Española, owned by the Luca de Tena family, regained control of the newspaper after the Civil War.

Contents: from its foundation, ABC was well known for conservative, monarchist content, which it continued throughout the Franco regime. A music column was published almost daily, featuring reviews of recent concerts and musical events.

Staff: guitarist and composer Regino Sáinz de la Maza accepted the position of staff music critic in April 1939; he held the post until 1952. He was occasionally replaced—for example, in the case of conflict of interest—by other arts critics such as Jacinto Miquelarena.

(p.136) El Alcázar

Began: 1936

Ended: 1988

Print run: 3,500 subscribers (Anuario de la Prensa 1945–46). It was circulated mainly in Madrid and Toledo.

Founder/publisher: initially founded in 1936 in Toledo during the siege of the Alcázar, it then became the “diary of the front of Madrid” under the control of the Falange. After the war, it was initially run by the Hermandad del Alcázar de Toledo (Veterans of the Battle of the Alcázar of Toledo); in 1945, after the newspaper incurred financial hardship, its staff created a co-op to prevent it from disappearing. In 1949, the Hermandad leased the newspaper out to Prensa y Ediciones, a private company with links to the Opus Dei.

Contents: El Alcázar was at the time mainly influenced by falangist ideology. A music column was published almost daily, focusing on concert life in Madrid.

Staff: the composer and conductor Conrado del Campo was the staff music critic at El Alcázar from 1939 until his death in 1953.


Began: 1939

Ended: 1979

Print run: 90,880 (Anuario de la Prensa 1943–44). It was circulated mainly in Madrid, the capitals of the Spanish provinces, and other larger towns.

Founder/publisher: Arriba was founded by José Antonio Primo de Rivera in 1935, and suspended by the government of the Republic the following year. Just before the Civil War came to an end, the Falange refounded Arriba through the company Prensa del Movimiento.

Contents: as the flagship publication of the Falange, Arriba can be regarded as the official newspaper of the regime, in that other newspapers were encouraged by the censorship apparatus to follow its editorial line, sometimes even explicitly. In regard to music, it focused mainly on daily musical life of Madrid, but it also included more extended articles on historical or aesthetic matters than other newspapers.

Staff: Federico Sopeña, who was at the beginning of his career and served as secretary of the Comisaría de Música, was the staff music critic from 1939 to 1943; he then left his post to take up a place at the Vitoria seminary. He was replaced by Antonio Fernández-Cid but continued writing occasional pieces of criticism.

(p.137) Hoja Oficial del Lunes (Madrid)

Began: 1930

Ended: 1982

Print run: unknown

Founder/publisher: as with other newspapers of the same name published in various Spanish cities, Hoja Oficial del Lunes was the only newspaper to be published on Mondays, since the others were not allowed to have their staff work on Sundays. All papers with the title Hoja Oficial del Lunes were published by professional societies of journalists (Asociación de la Prensa) of the relevant provinces.

Contents: it followed mostly the official line of the regime. Most issues included a section on concert reviews.

Staff: concert reviews were normally penned by Víctor Ruiz Albéniz (under the pseudonym Acorde), a former military soldier in Morocco and the president of the Asociación de la Prensa of Madrid from 1939 to 1944.


Began: 1922

Ended: 1983

Print run: no numbers are given by Anuario de la Prensa. It was mainly circulated in the cities of Madrid, Córdoba, Cáceres, Badajoz, Málaga, Sevilla, Salamanca, Jaén, Ciudad Real, Guadalajara, Valladolid, Zamora, Burgos, and Palencia (Anuario de la prensa, 1945–46).

Founder/publisher: founded by Leopoldo Romeo, from 1925 it fell under the control of the banker Juan March. In the pre–Civil War years it developed significant connections with German companies to overcome its financial problems.

Contents: during the Second World War, Informaciones was one of the main supporters of the Axis. Music information was mostly limited to reviews of concerts in Madrid.

Staff: Antonio de las Heras was in charge of musical criticism through the 1940s. Víctor Ruiz Albéniz, under the pseudonym Chispero, regularly wrote a short satirical column, which often featured comments about zarzuela.

(p.138) Pueblo

Began: 1940

Ended: 1984

Print run: 86,880 (Anuario de la Prensa 1943–44)

Founder/publisher: Pueblo was the official organ of the falangist trade unions (Organización Sindical); as such, it was part of the line-up of newspapers and other media of Prensa del Movimiento.

Contents: Pueblo followed falangist ideals. It included a daily music section, focusing on concert reviews in Madrid.

Staff: the composer Joaquín Rodrigo was in charge of musical criticism until 1946; after that, he was replaced by Dolores Palá Berdejo.

La Vanguardia Española

Began: 1881 (as La Vanguardia)

Ended: still published today (again, under the name of La Vanguardia, which was reintroduced after the Franco era)

Founder/publisher: it was founded by the Godó family and was confiscated by the Catalonian government during the Civil War, after which it went back to the Godós. It is the only daily newspaper discussed in this book that is published in Barcelona.

Contents: although before the Civil War La Vanguardia had a liberal tradition, during the 1940s it was closely controlled by the regime; the Dirección General de Prensa appointed Luis de Galinsoaga (a self-proclaimed anti-Catalanist) as its editor.

Staff: Urbano F. Zanni was in charge of writing daily reviews of concerts and news of the musical life of Barcelona. However, the most noteworthy contributions of the newspaper to musical criticism were extended articles and series of articles by the composers Xavier Montsalvatge and José Forns.


Began: 1935 (interrupted during the Civil War)

Ended: 1998

Print run: no numbers from Anuario de la Prensa. It was circulated mainly in Madrid, Valencia, Sevilla, Bilbao, and Barcelona (Anuario de la Prensa 1945–46).

(p.139) Founder/publisher: founded and managed by the private company Editorial Católica

Contents: Ya can be classified as a conservative-Catholic newspaper; in this regard, it took over from El Debate, also owned by Editorial Católica, which was never published again after the Civil War. It included a daily column on music focusing mostly on concert reviews in Madrid.

Staff: Joaquín Turina worked briefly as staff music critic during the summer of 1939; he was then replaced by the composer and conductor José María Franco, with rather frequent contributions by another composer, Ángel Martín Pompey.

Music Periodicals

Anuario Musical

Began: 1946

Ended: still published today

Frequency: annual

Founder/publisher: it was published by the Instituto Español de Musicología; Higinio Anglès was founding editor.

Contents: Anuario Musical was the only academic periodical specializing in musicology published during the first decade of the Franco regime. Most of the submissions were consonant with the research trends that characterized the activity of the Instituto during these years: historical musicology focused on Spanish topics (mainly sixteenth and seventeenth centuries), with a specific interest in sources and a positivistic approach, and secondarily, folk music research.

Staff: pieces were written by the Instituto staff and collaborators. This includes, apart from Anglès, the German scholars Marius Schneider and Walter Spanke, and Spanish researchers such as José Antonio de Donostia, José Subirá, Miguel Querol, José María Madurell, and Nicolás A. Solar Quintes.

Boletín del Colegio de Directores de Bandas de Música Civiles

Began: first published in 1935; it ceased publication in 1936 owing to the Civil War. Publication was then resumed in 1945.

Ended: 1950

Frequency: monthly

(p.140) Print run: 400 (Anuario de la Prensa 1945–46)

Founder/publisher: the Committee of the Colegio de Directores de Bandas de Música Civiles (association of civil wind band conductors)

Contents: Boletín acted as a newsletter for the members of the Colegio; it included information on the latest activities of the association and focused on problems specific to wind bands (working conditions of wind band conductors, legislation, etc.), with occasional articles on historical topics (mainly biographies of composers) or discussions of contemporary composition trends.

Staff: Victoriano Echevarría and Rodrigo A. de Santiago, both of them composers and wind band composers, were among the most prolific contributors to the Boletín; wind band conductors from all over Spain were also regularly invited to contribute articles and commentaries.


Began: 1916

Ended: 1959 (publication was interrupted from 1936 to 1939 because of the Civil War)

Frequency: quarterly

Print run: 350 (Anuario de la Prensa 1943–44) to 400 (Anuario 1945–46).

Founder/publisher: founded by composer and wind band conductor Mariano San Miguel

Contents: Harmonía was addressed to wind band conductors, and it came with the score of an arrangement or an original piece for wind band and a catalogue of recently published music for wind band. Extended articles focused mainly on Western art music (primarily biographies of composers) and on contemporary problems in the musical life of Spain, such as contemporary Spanish composition, music education, opportunities for young composers, problems specific to wind bands, etc.

Staff: in the years 1939–1951, its main contributors were Ángel Andrada, Julio Gómez, Ángel Arias Macein, Victoriano Echevarría, and José Subirá.

Música. Revista Quincenal Ilustrada

Began: 1944

Ended: 1946

Frequency: bimonthly

(p.141) Print run: 5,000 (Anuario de la prensa 1945–46)

Founder/publisher: the journalist Rodrigo Royo Masiá was its founder and editor.

Contents: Música focused mostly on contemporary music, both Spanish and international, including concert reviews (Madrid, and from February 1946 also Barcelona) and informal interviews with some of the main Spanish performers and composers.

Staff: most of the collaborators of Música were music critics active elsewhere, such as Federico Sopeña, Antonio Fernández-Cid, and Regino Sáinz de la Maza. It also invited occasional contributions from other intellectuals interested in music, such as Gerardo Diego and Eugenio D’Ors. In February 1946, the periodical opened an office in Barcelona; its main contributors there were Federico Mompou, Xavier Montsalvatge, and Carlos Suriñach Wrokona.

Revista Literaria Musical

Began: 1945

Ended: 1967

Frequency: initially monthly, quarterly from August 1945, bimonthly from January 1950

Print run: 1,000 (Anuario de la Prensa 1945–46).

Founder/publisher: Unión de Compositores y Escritores (Union of Composers and Writers)

Contents: as the title indicates, Revista Literaria Musical focused on both musical and literary topics. It featured information on musical events in Spain and abroad, historical topics mainly for a nonspecialist readership, and interviews with Spanish composers and conductors.

Staff: most of the collaborators were members of the Unión de Compositores y Escritores and did not have significant writing careers elsewhere. It most prolific contributors were Manuel Chausa, Santiago Riopérez y Milá, and Javier del Valle. The section about musical life abroad was covered by a number of foreign correspondents.

Ritmo y Melodía

Began: 1944

Ended: 1950

(p.142) Frequency: monthly

Print run: 7,000 (Anuario de la Prensa 1945–46). It was circulated mainly in Madrid, Barcelona, and Valencia.

Founder/publisher: its founding editor was Luis Araque, a medical doctor and amateur jazzman.

Contents: Ritmo y Melodía was the only Spanish periodical of the time focusing primarily on jazz. It included information about the jazz scene in Spain and abroad, reviews of recordings, and articles about the specific issues concerning jazz in Spain, alongside articles focusing on other forms of urban popular music and occasionally art music. In September 1949 it was redesigned to include other forms of entertainment such as theater and cinema.

Staff: most of the collaborators were part of at least one of the “Hot Clubs” active in some of the largest Spanish cities, such as Araque and Alfredo Papó.


Began: 1929; interrupted 1936–1940 because of the Civil War

Ended: still published today

Frequency: nine or ten issues per year

Print run: 6,000 (Anuario de la Prensa 1943–44 and 1945–46)

Founder/publisher: it was founded by Rogelio Villar, a composer and critic, in 1929. Contents: Ritmo focused on topics of both Spanish and non-Spanish music history, with a particular focus on Spanish early music, concert reviews in Madrid and other Spanish cities, and contemporary trends in music composition.

Staff: after Rogelio Villar died in 1937, Nemesio Otaño was appointed the editor of Ritmo in 1940; he was then replaced by Fernando Rodríguez del Río, who had collaborated in the foundation of the periodical back in 1929. Ritmo boasted a large number of collaborators, some of whom were active as performers, composers, or critics in other publications (Eduardo López-Chavarri, Julio Gómez, Federico Sopeña, Antonio Massana, Bonifacio Gil, Noberto Almandoz, José Subirá, etc.), whereas others left very few records of their activity outside this newspaper.

Tesoro sacro-musical

Began: 1917 (interrupted temporarily during the Civil War)

(p.143) Ended: 1978

Frequency: monthly

Print run: 750 (Anuario de la Prensa 1943–44) to 1,000 (Anuario 1945–46)

Founder/publisher: Congregación de Misioneros del Corazón de María (Association of Missionaries of the Heart of Mary)

Contents: Tesoro sacro-musical focused almost exclusively on sacred music, including historical topics (mainly early music), information about music in cathedrals and monasteries of Spain, and translations of articles on sacred music published elsewhere.

Staff: most of its contributors were church musicians or members of the Catholic Church and were not active as composers, performers, or critics elsewhere.

Other Periodicals


Began: 1944

Ended: still published today

Frequency: bimonthly

Founder/publisher: Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas

Contents: the periodical was subtitled Ciencia, pensamiento y cultura (Science, thought, and culture) and aimed to present a panorama of the various scientific and humanistic disciplines under the umbrella of the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas. It usually consisted four to six academic articles, followed by a column (Crónica) providing information about recent events and developments in Spanish science and culture. Although music was initially underrepresented in Arbor, it became more prominent from 1947 onward, with about four extended articles per year; similarly, Crónica started to include more information about musical life in Spain and abroad. The articles focused on the history of Spanish music, contemporary trends in European music, and the philosophy of music.

Staff: two of the main contributors on musical topics were Higinio Anglès (who worked at the Consejo as head of the Instituto Español de Musicología) and Federico Sopeña.

(p.144) Destino

Began: 1939

Ended: 1985

Frequency: weekly

Print run: 13,000 (Anuario de la Prensa 1943–44 and 1945–46), distributed mainly in Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca, and Valencia

Founder/publisher: founded by Ignacio Agustí Peypoch, who was then director of Publicaciones y Revistas

Contents: Destino focused on politics and culture, and during the Second World War it was more pro-Allies than most other publications under the regime. It usually included a small section (less than one full page) on music, mainly focusing on reviews of recent concerts in Barcelona.

Staff: the Catalan composer Xavier Montsalvatge was in charge of the music section through the 1940s.


Began: 1940

Ended: 1971

Frequency: weekly

Print run: 53,000 (Anuario de la Prensa 1943–44); 40,500 (Anuario 1945–46); it was circulated mainly in Madrid, Barcelona, and Valencia.

Founder/publisher: Editorial Católica (see Ya)

Contents: Dígame included some lighthearted articles on political topics, but focused mostly on middle- and working-class leisure activities, such as cinema, bullfighting, football, etc., and included some political articles as well. Almost all issues included a short review of recent concerts in Madrid.

Staff: the composer Joaquín Turina was in charge of music criticism until his death in 1949. He was then replaced by José Forns.

El Español

Began: 1942

Ended: 1947 (but was published again from 1953 to 1962)

Frequency: weekly

(p.145) Print run: 31,421 (Anuario de la Prensa 1943–44) to 45,000 (Anuario 1945–46)

Founder/publisher: it was published by the Delegación Nacional de Prensa (Press National Delegation), controlled by the Falange.

Contents: El Español focused mainly on political issues; during the Second World War, it was overtly pro-Axis. It did not have a specific music section, but occasionally included articles on music focusing on a range of topics: musical life (mainly the visits of German conductors or ensembles before the end of the war), music history both in Spain and abroad, and concert reviews.

Staff: El Español did not have a staff music critic. Some of its occasional contributors were critics and musicologists active elsewhere, such as Federico Sopeña, Ángel Sagardía, Joaquín Rodrigo, José Forns, and Tomás Andrade de Silva.


Began: 1940

Ended: 1950

Frequency: monthly

Print run: 6,500 (Anuario de la Prensa 1943–44) down to 1,800 (Anuario 1945–46)

Founder/publisher: members of the Falange Liberal, including Pedro Laín Entralgo and Dionisio Ridruejo, founded Escorial in 1940. It was published by the Delegación Nacional de Prensa y Propaganda (Press and Propaganda National Delegation), then controlled by the Falange.

Contents: Escorial aimed to help shape the Nuevo Estado by promoting discussion and debate in the arts and humanities. In comparison with other humanities, music played a rather ancillary role, with about three or four articles per year, most of them addressing issues of contemporary music life.

Staff: some of the leading critics writing for other newspapers and periodicals, such as Federico Sopeña and Joaquín Rodrigo, also contributed to Escorial. During the Second World War years, the periodical invited contributions from German music critics, such as Karl Holl and Heinz Drewes.

(p.146) La estafeta literaria

Began: 1944

Ended: 1946

Frequency: bimonthly

Print run: 20,000 (Anuario de la Prensa 1943–44) to 25,000 (Anuario 1945–46)

Founder/publisher: Delegación Nacional de Prensa

Contents: a publication about cultural life, targeted toward a general readership. It usually included one or two pages about music in each issue, mainly focusing on contemporary issues of Spanish musical life (concerts, new composition trends, etc.).

Staff: Antonio Fernández-Cid was usually responsible for the information about music.

Radio Nacional

Began: 1938

Ended: 1945

Frequency: weekly

Print run: 45,800 (Anuario de la Prensa 1943–44)

Founder/publisher: Delegación Nacional de Prensa

Contents: Radio Nacional was the newsletter of the Spanish state-funded radio station, Radio Nacional. It included several articles on current topics aimed at a nonspecialized readership. Music articles typically focused on the role of radio in dissemination of music, contemporary composition and music life (Spanish and international), and historical topics (mostly biographies of famous composers and performers).

Staff: Radio Nacional received contributions from a number of music critics active elsewhere, such as Otaño, Eduardo López-Chavarri, Rodrigo, and Forns.

Revista de ideas estéticas

Began: 1943

Ended: 1979

(p.147) Frequency: quarterly

Founder/publisher: Instituto Diego Velázquez, which was a section of the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas

Contents: an academic publication about aesthetics. One or two articles per year dealt with music aesthetics issues.

Staff: contributors on musical aesthetics included Federico Sopeña, Carlos Bosch, and Juan José Mantecón.


Began: 1937

Ended: 1944

Frequency: monthly

Print run: 14,630 (Anuario de la Prensa 1943–44)

Founder/publisher: Delegación Nacional de Prensa

Contents: Vértice was founded as a high-end illustrated magazine with propaganda aims. It included historical and cultural articles consonant with the main focuses of the Falange at the time (creation of national conscience, fostering friendship with Italy and Germany). Most of its issues (but not all) included an article on music, focusing mainly on historical topics (predominantly Spanish early music).

Staff: several well-known names can be found on articles contributed to Vértice, such as Federico Sopeña, Regino Sáinz de la Maza, Víctor Espinós, and Antonio de las Heras. (p.148)