Los Angeles: Warren F. Lewis, 1941. First edition. Folio (13 inches tall), original half burlap over green paper boards with mounted illustration, original dust jacket. Light spotting to excellent dust jacket. A nearly-fine copy. Item #595
"THE OLD MUSIC REMAINS, TO BE SUNG AGAIN WITH REVERENCE, AND TO TOUCH OUR MATTER-OF-FACT LIVES WITH SOME OF THE BEAUTY AND ROMANCE OF THE PAST"
First edition, copy number 475 of the "Patron's Limited Edition," one of only one thousand copies of this important liturgical sourcebook, a joyous tribute to the musical traditions of the California Missions. Guided by figures such as St. Junipero Serra, Franciscan missionaries journeyed through Alta California and established a series of missions along the coast between 1769 and 1833. These small mission villages formed the spine of the early California Church, effectively colonizing the region and lending an enduring Spanish and Catholic flavor to the region. Spanish colonial rule ended when the explosion of the Gold Rush flooded Alta California with new settlers from the eastern United States and Europe. California was quickly admitted to the United States in 1850; the colonial Spanish culture receded into the background and the indigenous culture was eradicated with little trace. This tribute to the liturgical and musical patrimony of the Missions was supervised by Fr. Owen da Silva, O.F.M. (the sometime Professor of Music at St. Anthony's Seminary in Santa Barbara) and includes his brief Preface and Dedication: "To the Franciscan Fathers, California's Padres of Yesterday and Today."
The text consists of four sections: Mission Music, Padre Musicians, Translation of Padre Duran's Prologo, and Musical Contents (including Misa de Cataluna, Misa Viscaina, Credo Parisiense, Gregorian Chants, Motets, Morning and Evening Hymns). The musical content reproduces printed musical scores in Latin and English, decorated with lovely marginal pen-and-ink sketches by Paul A. Moore. Mission Music is lavishly illustrated with a deluxe binding (reproducing "Music at Mission Dolores," Edith Hamlin's mural in the Library at Mission High School, San Francisco), a photographic frontispiece, a hand-lettered and illustrated title-page, and full-page plates numbered II-IX. The plates include a haunting early photograph, captioned "Last Indian Choir of Old Santa Barbara." These portraits of Indian choristers and musicians are perhaps among the last depictions of a local indigenous culture forever vanished and an important testament to the Native American contribution to the achievements of the Missions. The attitude towards the Indians here is decidedly mixed: the book includes a Foreword by the Hon. John Steven McGroarty (writing as Historian and Poet Laureate of California) with thoroughly regrettable and antiquated characterizations of the Indians. The back matter following the text includes: Notes on Musical Contents, Sources ("A List of the extant Mission Music Manuscripts with Indices of Their Contents"), Bibliography, Index. Printed at a local press (Schauer Printing Studio in Santa Barbara) and published by Warren F. Lewis in Los Angeles. The Approbations include an Imprimatur with John J. Cantwell's endorsement (complete with his printed signature).