Music in Cuba

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A publishing event: the foundational work on Cuban music by a major figure of the twentieth century, now in English for the first time.

In the wake of the Buena Vista Social Club, the world has rediscovered the rich musical tradition of Cuba. A unique combination of popular and elite influences, the music of this island nation has fascinated since the golden age of the son&—that New World aural collision of Africa and Europe that made Cuban music the rage in Paris, New York, and Mexico beginning in the 1920s.

Originally published in 1946 and never before available in an English translation, Music in Cuba is not only the best and most extensive study of Cuban musical history, it is a work of literature in its own right. Drawing on such primary documents as obscure church circulars, dog-eared musical scores pulled from attics, and the records of the Spanish colonial authorities, Music in Cuba sweeps panoramically from the sixteenth into the twentieth century. Carpentier covers European-style elite Cuban music as well as the popular worlds of rural Spanish folk and urban Afro-Cuban music.

In a substantial introduction based on extensive original research, Timothy Brennan explores Carpentier's career prior to the writing of his novels. Looking especially at Carpentier's work as a music reviewer, radio producer, and musical theorist, Brennan suggests new ways of thinking about the role of Latin American artists in Europe between the wars, and the central place of radio and music-club cultures in the European avant-gardes.

About the Authors:
Perhaps Cuba's most important intellectual figure of the twentieth century, Alejo Carpentier (19041980) was a novelist, a classically trained pianist and musicologist, a producer of avant-garde radio programming, and an influential theorist of politics and literature. Best known for his novels, Carpentier also collaborated with such luminaries as Igor Stravinsky, Darius Milhaud, Georges Bataille, and Antonin Artaud. Born in Havana, he lived for many years in France and Venezuela but returned to Cuba after the 1959 revolution.

Timothy Brennan is professor of cultural studies, comparative literature, and English at the University of Minnesota.

Alan West-Durán is a freelance translator living in Massachusetts.

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Editorial Reviews

Times Literary Supplement
Music in Cuba is a pioneering chronicle of the historical confluence of two musical streams, from Europe and Africa, that produced the special richness of the Cuban musical tradition. . . . Remarkable, groundbreaking and indispensable. . . . This first translation is elegantly produced, with an extensive introduction by Timothy Brennan, who situates Carpentier in the historical matrix of race and class in Cuba and the debates of today’s theorists of cultural globalization.
Times Literary Supplement
Remarkable, groundbreaking, and indispensable, Music in Cuba is a pioneering chronicle of the historical confluence of two musical streams, from Europe and Africa, that produced the special richness of the Cuban musical tradition. This first translation is elegantly produced, with an extensive introduction that situates Carpentier in the historical matrix of race and class in Cuba and the debates of today's theorists of cultural globalization.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780816632305
  • Publisher: University of Minnesota Press
  • Publication date: 2/28/2003
  • Series: Cultural Studies of the Americas
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 312
  • Sales rank: 1,046,710
  • Product dimensions: 5.88 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction to the English Edition 1
Preface 59
1 The Sixteenth Century 65
2 The Seventeenth Century 89
3 Esteban Salas 106
4 Salon and Theater at the End of the Eighteenth Century 119
5 A Plot in the Cathedral of Havana 132
6 Introduction to the Contradanza 142
7 Blacks in Cuba 153
8 The Beginning of the Nineteenth Century 166
9 Antonio Raffelin-Juan Paris 177
10 Saumell and Nationalism 185
11 Espadero, the Romantic 194
12 Ignacio Cervantes 204
13 Cuban Bufos 214
14 Laureano Fuentes-Gasper Villate 235
15 A Transition Period 243
16 Afro-Cubanism 256
17 Amadeo Roldan-Alejandro Garcia Caturia 268
Notes 283
Bibliography 291
Index 297
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