Mission Music of California; A Collection of Old California Mission Hymns and Masses. Owen da Silva.
Mission Music of California; A Collection of Old California Mission Hymns and Masses
Mission Music of California; A Collection of Old California Mission Hymns and Masses

Mission Music of California; A Collection of Old California Mission Hymns and Masses

Los Angeles: Warren F. Lewis, 1941. First edition. Folio (13 inches tall), original burlap spine, gilt green paper boards with mounted illustration, original dust jacket. Light spotting to scarce dust jacket. A nearly-fine copy. Item #595


"Patron's Limited Edition" of this important musical sourcebook of the vibrant liturgical 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. Mexico's colonial rule ended when 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 and the local Native American tribes were quickly eradicated with little trace. This tribute to the liturgical and musical patrimony of the Missions was supervised by 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."

Despite a number of errors, Mission Music is the "only single-volume work dedicated to music during the mission period and still is a bedrock of valuable information" (Craig H. Russell). The text consists of four sections: I. Mission Music, II. Padre Musicians, III. Translation of Padre Duran's Prologo, and IV. Musical Contents (including Misa de Cataluna, Misa Viscaina, Credo Parisiense, Gregorian Chants, Motets, Morning and Evening Hymns). The musical content reproduces printed scores in Latin and English, decorated with lovely marginal pen-and-ink sketches by Paul A. Moore. Mission Music is lavishly illustrated throughout 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 (signed in ink by Father Da Silva), and full-page plates numbered II-IX.

The plates include an early photograph, hauntingly captioned: "Last Indian Choir of Old Santa Barbara." These portraits of Indian choristers and musicians are perhaps among the last depictions of a vanished indigenous culture and an important testament to the Native American contributions 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 antiquated and regrettable characterizations. 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. This is copy #475, one of only 1000 copies 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 Archbishop John J. Cantwell's endorsement (complete with his printed signature). Russell. From Serra to Sancho: Music and Pageantry in the California Missions. Rare in the original dust jacket and in this overall condition.

Price: $300.00