Le Canada musical

Le Canada musical. Name of two unconnected periodicals published in Montreal.

Le Canada musical

Le Canada musical. Name of two unconnected periodicals published in Montreal.

1 Published monthly, 1 Sep 1866-1 Aug 1867 and (numbered vols 2-7) 1 May 1875-1 Apr 1881, by its owner A.J. Boucher. Labelled a 'revue artistique et littéraire,' a typical issue had 16 pages. It reported news of musical interest from Canada (mainly Montreal and other Quebec cities but also Ottawa and Winnipeg) and from France. It took much interest in the careers of young musicians such as Albani (biography by Legendre), Couture, Lavallée, Jehin-Prume, François Boucher, and Oscar Martel. Activities of Roman Catholic church choirs, particularly at Easter and Christmas, often were reported in detail. Some of the material (eg, essays on famous composers) was reprinted from French periodicals. Of considerable interest to the historian are listings and reviews of new publications (mostly if not always Boucher's) and teachers' advertisements. Beginning with the 1875 revival it featured short piano pieces and songs, practically all by non-Canadians (eg, Frédéric Boissière, Gustave Nadaud, Charles Kinkel). Both suspensions of publication were intended to be temporary. The first was due to Boucher's overwork and preoccupation with his business interests as an importer and retailer of music, and the second to financial problems. An 1879 advertisement claims Le Canada musical to be 'the only musical review published in the Dominion, also the only one published in the French language in America'. In 1881, it was followed briefly by Boucher & Pratte's Musical Journal, essentially a US magazine with a Canadian title and back page ('Le Journal musical, nouvelles artistiques canadiennes'). It appeared monthly, and the numbering (vol 3, no. 6, July 1881, to vol 4, no. 11, Dec 1882) may be explained by its US connection.

2 Published bimonthly 5 May 1917-19 Apr 1924 (vol 1 to vol 7, no. 24) and semi-monthly 6 Sep 1930-20 Dec 1930 (vol 8, no. 1-8), edited by C.-O. Lamontagne. Lamontagne's aim was to present news of music and to stimulate interest in and understanding of the art. Articles usually were short; news items covered Quebec and at times the rest of Canada. The editor's particular interest in opera is reflected by detailed reports on performances at the Metropolitan Opera, New York, and at the Opéra and Opéra-Comique in Paris. Correspondents were maintained in both cities. The magazine is a valuable source of information and pictorial documentation relating to Quebec's musical life. It also featured regular reports on activities in the French-Canadian centres of New England. Some articles dealt with history: eg, Lamontagne on Guillaume Couture, 6 Dec 1930, and Frédéric Pelletier on the AMQ, 18 Oct 1930. The suspension in 1924 was due to an intended 4-month trip by the editor to Europe, but the publication was revived only six years later.

The title for the volume of essays Musical Canada: Words and Music Honouring Helmut Kallmann, edited by John Beckwith and Frederick A. Hall (Toronto 1988), was selected to recall these two periodicals and also the periodical Musical Canada.


Further Reading

  • Paul, Hélène, '"Le Canada Musical" (1917-24): miroir d'une ville, reflet de deux continents,' Cahiers de l'ARMuQ, 13, May 1991