Abstracts of issue 1/1985 (1)

George Leotsakos

Albanian Music, or an as yet Unpublished Article for an Encyclopedia

With the possible exception of two or three short references, often in sources non-musicological, Albanian art-music is a subject matter as yet absent from international (non-Albanian) bibliography. Scholars (ethnomusicologists) were not unjustly absorbed in studying only the treasures of Albanian folk heritage. In dealing with art-music extensively and with as many factual data as space allows, the author hopes to assist substantially any multi-volume encyclopedia (especially a musical one) wishing to cover the subject. Therefore this article, originally destined for a Greek publication of this kind, as far as its chapter about art-music is concerned, represents perhaps an absolute priority of Greek musicology in a field which to this very day has remained uncovered even by the most authoritative and respectable musical encyclopedias, such as The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians (6th ed.) and the German MGG.
Research work was the fruit of the authors three consecutive visits to the PSR of Albania (29/9 13/10/1981, 11/5 1/6/1982, and 1-25/10/1983), made possible by the kind invitations, generous hospitality and assistance of the Union of Writers and Artists of the PSR of Albania. The text is preceded here by a lengthy foreword
  1. stating in full detail how the article came to be conceived, programmed and written, and
  2. attempting to describe and analyze what distinguishes Albanian musical life, praxis, education and creation from corresponding activities in all other countries, both socialist and non-socialist.
Within 40 years, a country primitive and in utter destitution in 1940, attained high levels in all these fields of musical activity, while its strict adherence to the principles of socialist realism has turned its musical life and creation into a uniqueness in 20th-century sociology of art.
The article itself is divided into two chapters:
  1. Folk music
    1. General introduction Sources.
    2. Southern Albania.
    3. Northern Albania.
    4. Music in traditional rituals.
    5. Folk instruments.
    6. Bibliography (in Albanian and foreign languages as well as in Greek).
  2. Art-music
    1. Before the Liberation (1944)
    2. After the Liberation
      1. Organization of musical life and musical education.
      2. Festivals.
      3. Radio and TV.
      4. Opera.
      5. Orchestras, choruses and performers.
      6. The Union of Writers and Artists.
      7. Composers.
    3. Bibliography.
Both in length and content the article (especially in Chapter 2, Art-music) differs greatly from its original form though not conception. It has been enriched with a wealth of information from recent Albanian scientific publications and data concerning the latest musical activities. The range of information extends from Albanias musical presence in medieval Dalmatia to the existence of five fragments, in Tirana, from Vivaldis opera Scanderbeg, reported lost by the musicologist Peter Ryom in his thematic catalogue of the composers works. Finally, the author wishes to express his deep gratitude to all the friends of the Union of Writers and Artists of the PSR of Albania for their help and encouragement and especially to Professor Ramadan Sokoli for his priceless advice and assistance.

Musicology