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.
Blog topic: Manuscripts
Special Collections recently acquired a "Journal and Remark Book" kept by James B. Hay from 1867-1872. At the time he wrote the volume, Hay was a Midshipman in the Royal Navy. He served on the HMS Terrible, HMS Martin, HMS Gladiator, HMS Speedwell, and HMS Duke of Wellington. You can find him listed as the Midshipman of the Gladiator in The Navy List, Corrected to the 20th June, 1871.
The Stanford East Asia Library has recently obtained a small collection of Japanese manuscripts used in the Buddhist ritual practice of kōshiki 講式. Most of the manuscripts are from the 17th-19th centuries, but the oldest is believed to date to 1304 CE.
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.
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, 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.
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
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.
On October 14, the exhibit, “Mario Paci and Music Culture in Shanghai: A Special Exhibition in Commemoration of Mario Paci,” opened at Shanghai Symphony Hall to commemorate 70 years since the death of the Symphony’s revered founding conductor. The exhibit is a collaborative project between the Stanford University Libraries, the Shanghai Conservatory of Music, and the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra.