NEITHER AMERICANIST nor American, perhaps I may offer an opinion all the more disinterested about the completion of the works of William Billings by the present fourth volume. While this edition was not planned to rival in scope national editions such as Musica Britannica and the German and Austrian Denkmäler series, it equals and indeed surpasses them in terms of scholarly care and precision. The Billings edition is a remarkable national achievement, the first of its kind in this country, one in which the nation can take justified pride, and one which by virtue of musical worth and meticulous execution calls for celebration. Scholars and performers of all stripes, Americanists or not, will want to ponder the remarkably informative essays by the editor, Karl Kroeger, especially the second one in which he considers various aspects of performance practice for the music of all four volumes. And valuable as is the Billings edition on its own merits, it has also been seminal in launching a project which may well take a place among the series of other nations, namely, the proposed Music of the United States of America, now being planned by the AMS Committee on the Publication of American Music with advice from the Sonneck Society and support from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

During the many years encompassing this edition, collaboration with the Colonial Society of Massachusetts has been both crucial and cordial from the initial discussions with the late Walter Muir Whitehill to the current relations with Frederick Allis, Editor, and Frederick Ballou, Treasurer, of the Colonial Society. The American Musicological Society is deeply grateful for this collaboration and also for subventions from the National Endowment for the Humanities and from the Sonneck Memorial Fund administered by the Music Division in the Library of Congress. The University Press of Virginia, Meriden-Stinehour Press, and A-R Editions deserve praise and merit our gratitude for their fine work.

The exemplary manner in which Karl Kroeger took over in 1977 from the first editor, Hans Nathan, shall not go unremarked, nor his careful, thoughtful editing and his insightful essays. From the time of the first volume there has been no doubt whatever about the contributions of Richard Crawford who shaped editorial policy, who was consulted in every step of the process, who shared his considerable knowledge of the repertory, and whose deep interest in performance practice has seen to the editing of every note and of every word. Our thanks must also go to Cynthia Adams Hoover who not only read various versions but who also coordinated the editors, engravers, publishers, and the donors of funds. Lastly, the Society’s gratitude extends to its Executive Director, Alvin Johnson, whose encouragement, financial and otherwise, has fulfilled the initial vision of placing the music of Billings where it belongs: in the hands and hearts of performers and scholars.

H. COLIN SLIM, President

American Musicological Society