From Contemporaneous Reviews of the Festival
“[T]he important orchestral works I heard played Saturday and Sunday in the Greek Theatre and the reports of the previous activities gave me a fair picture of a California meeting of musicians of broad vision. …
“As a result of holding the sessions on the campus, freedom from interferences and the absence of a public only interested in entertainment were marked advantages. Of course there were first, second, and even third-rate composers presented by the not-infallible judges but music of such merit was heard that it will be heard again and some of it will retain a music history.”
–Isabel Morse Jones, “Music Society Brings Great Works West,”
Los Angeles Times, August 16, 1942.
“Time was when the academic and the progressively creative were poles apart. Today that condition no longer exists. Of the thirty-three composers represented on the seven programs of the festival, the majority are now teaching in American institutions of higher learning …. There were other signs of the times in the festival’s programs. The American representation–twelve composers–was unusually high, and the Latin-American delegation of seven was probably the highest in the history of the ISCM. And of the eleven composers considered, for the purposes of the occasion, as Continental Europeans, there is only one, Marcel Poot of Belgium, who has not come to this country in the last two or three years.
“Two works played at the festival–the Bloch piano sonata and the Schoenberg piano pieces, opus 19–are already in the standard corpus of world music, but these two pieces are older than all the others and were presented hors concours as marks of special honor to their creators as the outstanding figures in modern music residing on the Pacific Coast. All the other works performed were composed within the past five years … At least four of them, I think, will stay with us for a long time. These are the divertimento for string orchestra by Béla Bartók, the symphony in E flat by Paul Hindemith, the canon and fugue for strings by Wallingford Riegger and the fifth quartet of Alexander Tansman.”
–Alfred Frankenstein, “West Coast Hears Festival of Modern Music,”
The New York Times, August 23, 1942.
“It can hence be generalized that Latin American composers, good and not so good, follow quite the same stylistic trends as that European and American composers have been following.
“Extraordinarily fresh and charming were ‘Music for Children’ by Luis Gianneo (Argentina) and ‘Seven Miniatures on Brazilian Folk Themes’ by Fructuoso Vianna (Brazil). Both these works … were among a beautiful series of piano performances by Bernhard Abramowitsch. Three songs by Mexico’s Carlos Chavez … expressed a lyricism that was folkishly simple but profound.
“A duo by Aebecca Clark [sic] (England) was notable for its queer and doleful interplay of clarinet and viola … No great impression was made by three very Gallic songs by Andre Singer (Yugoslavia) and a Sonatina by Donald Fuller (U.S.A.).
“Yesterday’s event did courtesy to two modern music veterans who are now Californians. Maxim Schapiro played Arnold Schoenberg’s exquisitely mystic ‘Six Short Piano Pieces’ and Ernest Bloch’s appealingly pictoral ‘Poems of the Sea.’ Bloch’s powerfully dramatic and ruminative Sonata was played by Abramowitsch. … Abramowitsch concluded yesterday’s interesting concert with an impetuous but empty Toccata of Jacques de Menasce (Austria).”
–Alexander Fried, “Latin American Folk Music at ISCM Festival,” San Francisco Examiner, August 8, 1942.