What's In a Name? Why has the Verdi Newsletter been renamed the Verdi Forum?
To most readers the designation "Newsletter" will suggest a publication to be read for the "news" then recycled. The more lofty "Journal" or "Forum," on the other hand, suggests something more permanent, a publication that has earned a place on your bookshelves. When it began life as the semi-annual publication AIVS Newsletter back in 1976 -- it was renamed Verdi Newsletter two issues later, perhaps to avoid confusion with a certain automobile rental company -- it presented a mix of ephemeral news and permanent scholarship about Verdi. There was news about recent publications, additions to the Verdi Archive, recent and
forthcoming performances, recordings, conferences, musical events, and so on. There were even advertisements about recent Verdi LPs (remember them?). But in the very first issue there was also the first of three installments of an important document about Verdi's early years in Busseto, Giuseppe Demalde's Cenni biografici of Verdi, presented in the original Italian and in the translation of Mary Jane Matz and Gino
Macchidani. In the second issue an article by David Stivender demonstrated that "Gesu mori," a composition that had been assigned to Verdi, was in fact by Bellini. Both contributions -- and many more in future
issues of the Verdi Newsletter -- are cited in standard bibliographies, such as the one in the Verdi entry in The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians and The New Grove Dictionary of Opera. The Verdi Newsletter has made significant contributions to our knowledge about Verdi. So even in the beginning the title "newsletter" may have been overly modest. As the Verdi Newsletter moved into the 1980s the balance shifted from time-sensitive news towards permanent scholarship. Issues 7 (1979), 9-10 (1981-82), and 17 -18 (1989-90), for example, presented a
research tool, a catalogue of the holdings of the Verdi Archive at NYU. Professor Chusid's column "From the Director's Desk" has continued to provide information about recent and forthcoming events, but ever since
the Newsletter became an annual publication around 1981, separate mailings have proved a more nimble means of keeping members/ subscribers informed about time-sensitive events at the American Institute for Verdi Studies and elsewhere than any annual publication could be.
I have emphasized the long-term drift of the Newsletter to a Forum, but there are some short-term modifications that might justify the change as well. It was just four issues ago that the publication shifted from the 6" x 9" to the present 8 1/2" x 11" format. More important, we now have, in addition to the editor, two associate editors and an assistant editor. Although there is not-at least not yet-a fixed editorial board to whom we will distribute articles under consideration, articles will henceforth be reviewed. We have begun to set the text of the issue directly from diskette, which, we hope, will significant reduce the production time. I am enormously pleased that this change of title, long overdue, and this double Festschrift issue coincide with the celebration of the 25th anniversary of the foundation of the American Institute for Verdi Studies under Martin Chusid's extraordinarily effective leadership.
Essays in Honor of Martin Chusid
Verdi, Nationalism, and Cultivation of the Folk Idiom: His Stornelli of the 1860s
Roberta Montemorra Marvin