Blog topic: Music

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.

The Record Catalog Collection

April 26, 2017
by Frank Ferko

For a number of years the Archive of Recorded Sound has been collecting catalogs published by recording companies from around the world.   Although the ARS continues to collect these catalogs on an ongoing basis, the materials that are currently in the the Record Catalog Collection have now been processed, and a finding aid is available in the Online Archive of California.  In addition to record catalogs, the publications in the collection include promotional and advertising mat

Anthony Robinson Scanner

Piano roll scanner update

April 10, 2017
by Jerry L McBride

It has been some time since there has been a report on the Player Piano Project, but there has been a great deal of activity toward the design and construction of a piano roll scanner. We are working with Anthony Robinson in England who is a player piano enthusiast and the designer of a roll scanner which we believe is one of the best scanners in operation to date. Anthony graciously and generously agreed to work with us to create a scanner that would handle scanning large numbers of rolls easily and efficiently.

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.

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.

Pages

RSS