Blog topic: Manuscripts

Henry Cowell, The Harp of Life (detail showing tone clusters)

Henry Cowell's tone clusters and The Harp of Life

May 23, 2017
by Ray Heigemeir

The maverick composer Henry Cowell wrote the solo piano work, The Harp of Life, in Menlo Park in 1925; it was later incorporated into the suite, Four Irish Tales, for piano and orchestra (1940). The original holograph score is held in the Memorial Library of Music in Stanford’s Department of Special Collections (MLM 232C). Accompanying correspondence from Cowell’s widow, Sydney, notes that only a few of Cowell’s 25 or so manuscripts employing tone clusters have survived, this being one. The Harp of Life refers to a great cosmic harp, upon which a plucked string announces the birth of a new being. Cowell’s tone clusters create an aural celestial environment within which the harp is played.

Aida manuscript detail

Aida in Paris at the Théâtre Italien, 1876

April 3, 2017
by Mimi Tashiro

At the December 7, 2015 auction at Sotheby’s London, the Stanford Libraries acquired a manuscript copy of Giuseppe Verdi’s opera Aida, used for the performances at the Théâtre Italien in Paris in 1876. The manuscript, which will be housed in the Department of Special Collections, was the focus of a seminar, Music 310: Aida in Paris (and Beyond) taught by Professor Heather Hadlock of the Music Department in Fall 2016. Seminar participants were Kelly Christensen, Kirstin Haag, Michael Kinney, Tyler Mitchell, Ben Ory and David Wilson.

Personal Digital Archiving Hackathon scheduled for March 31 - April 1, 2017

How can we best make sense of the digital strands and data that comprise a 21st century life? Explore innovative solutions to this challenge and others facing both individuals in the digital age, and scholars in the cultural heritage and digital humanities sectors, at the Personal Digital Archiving (PDA) 2017 Hackathon. The Hackathon is sponsored by Stanford University Libraries and will be held from March 31 - April 1, 2017 at the Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center on the Stanford University campus.

Carl Maria von Weber

Weber’s vocal works: More than just Der Freischütz

March 7, 2017
by Ray Heigemeir

Carl Maria von Weber, 6 Lieder und Gesänge, op. 66

Memorial Library of Music, MLM 1141

Guest blogger: David Wilson

Carl Maria von Weber is remembered today primarily for his opera Der Freischütz, almost to the exclusion of all else. Yet Weber was, in fact, a prolific, and widely respected composer—even Chopin, a notoriously cantankerous critic of other composers, admired Weber’s work. His compositional output includes several symphonies, chamber music, piano music, and dozens of art songs. While a few of the examples of this latter category are still performed today, many of Weber’s songs are almost completely unknown to contemporary audiences.

The autograph from the 17th century manuscript of Purcell’s Te Deum & Jubilate for Voices and Instruments Made for St. Cecilia’s Day 1694. “Fini, Mr. Henry Purcell.”

Purcell remembered: The history of the autographed manuscript of Purcell’s Te Deum & Jubilate for Voices and Instruments Made for St. Cecilia’s Day 1694

December 15, 2016
by Ray Heigemeir

Henry Purcell. Te Deum & Jubilate for Voices and Instruments made for St. Cecilia’s Day 1694

Memorial Library of Music, MLM 850

Guest blogger: Michael Evans Kinney

While not much is known about the early St. Cecilia’s Day celebrations circa 1683, England’s premier composer, Henry Purcell (1659-1695), wrote many pieces for the festivities. In 1694, he wrote one such piece, titled Te Deum & Jubilate for Voices and Instruments made for St. Cecilia’s Day 1694. The landmark work sets an English translation of the St. Ambrose Hymn and revolutionized church music with its scoring for violins, viola, basso continuo, and two trumpets, with soloists and choir.

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