Música Hispana - ICCMU
A frustration for would-be promoters of zarzuela has been the lack of clear, decent and reliable modern scores. UME (Union Musical Española) were bought out more than a decade ago by the British arm of the global company Music Sales, since which time they have done little other (as far as complete editions are concerned) than reprint elderly vocal scores of the most popular works. Fortunately since 1992 ICCMU (Instituto Complutense de Ciencias Musicales) have slowly but surely been redrawing the map, publishing brand new editions of many of the most important stage and instrumental works by 18th, 19th and 20th century Spanish composers. The work has been done to a very high standard, with full critical apparatus for the orchestral scores in Spanish and English, and with useful one-page introductions for the vocal scores. Both interleave the complete spoken texts, which gives the ICCMU vocal scores a big advantage over the dialogue-free UME standard versions, where those exist.
No.57 in the Full Score series is La revoltosa. Emilio Casares Rodicio has done an impeccable job in collating Chapí's manuscript and early printed sources. These proved unusually error-free and consistent, resulting in a full score almost completely free of the need for editorial interpretation or conjecture. Casares has done his work with the scrupulous care and depth we have come to expect, even down to pinpointing an optional 3-bar cut sanctioned by Chapí in the No.5 Escenas. His introduction - encompassing La revoltosa's genesis and history in the context of its creators' careers, as well as a detailed musicological account - is required reading for any student of Chapí. Yolanda Acker's English translation is likewise impeccable. The score itself, clearly printed on high-quality A4 format paper, is preceded by Oliva García Balboa's regularised edition of the sainete text, and backed up by an index. With bar numbers at the head of each page, rehearsal figures, and full stage directions to supplement the interleaved spoken scenes, it is altogether a thing of practical beauty.
The Vocal Score (No.23 - not all the full scores are of material popular enough to justify their issue in piano reduction) follows the Full Score precisely in the matter of rehearsal figures and bar numbering. It improves over the old UME vocal score not only by including the full spoken text, but also by providing separate staves for each singer-actor in the melodramas spoken over music. Against this, the UME score - prepared under Chapí's own supervision, and unusually accurate for its time - provides copious and accurate instrumental cues, allowing it to be used as a substitute conductor's score at a pinch. Modern computerised musical type setting results in a vocal score which is not so aesthetically pleasing as the hand-set old edition, but is as least equally clear and utile.
The value of ICCMU's work cannot be overstated. Recent editions have included zarzuelas diverse as El mal de amores y La mala sombra (No.45), El asombro de Damasco (No.48) and Doña Francisquita (No.50, all three edited by Miguel Roa); the revista Las Leandras has also been dignified by a critical edition (No.52, edited by Manuel Moreno-Buendia). As can be seen, ICCMU are employing an imaginative mixture of the best academic and performing talents available for this important series, one which will be providing high-quality performing material for the masterpieces of the género lírico, for many years to come.
© Christopher Webber 2006