In support of a major initiative to bring attention to the study of roll playing musical instruments, the Stanford Archive of Recorded Sound and Department of Music have acquired the Denis Condon Collection of Reproducing Pianos and Rolls, a collection of over 7500 rolls and ten players. The Condon Collection has long been known as one of the most important collections of reproducing pianos and piano rolls in private hands. Leading figures in the field of rolls and players are working along with Stanford faculty and staff on the project. The initiative will include roll preservation through scanning and digitization, restoration of instruments for playback, item level cataloging to allow for content discovery, and research into under-represented or rare systems and rolls. Plans for the collection include making streaming audio files of the recordings available to the public at large.
On display in the Music Library are a variety of facsimiles of musical manuscripts. Items range from a meticulous reproduction of the 15th-century Chansonnier de Jean de Montchenu, a heart-shaped collection of courtly love songs worked with gilt and fine hand illustrations, to a very convincing replica of the notebook page upon which Kurt Cobain penned lyrics for the iconic song Smells Like Teen Spirit.
The Archive of Recorded Sound (ARS) recently took an active role in two courses during the spring semester, one in the Stanford Music Department and the other in the Program in Writing and Rhetoric, to encourage students to deposit their final projects into the Stanford Digital Repository (SDR). The purpose of working with these courses was primarily to introduce students to the SDR and its many benefits, and to walk them through the process of using the SDR's self-deposit tool. This instruction was backed up by customized online screencasts that guided students through the deposit process for the particular sets of materials within their projects. The rate of deposit for both courses was extremely high as the professors in each case elected to make the deposit of final projects into the SDR a mandatory part of the courses' requirements.
The Brompton’s Book of Violin and Bow Makers, by Jon Dilworth, is a biographical dictionary of violin (and viola, viola, ‘cello and bass) makers as well as bow makers in Europe and the United States. Jon Dilworth, violin maker and connoisseur, spent many years collecting this information in part through his association with Amati Instruments Limited, in the form of note cards, photographs, and digital files. The work builds upon the corpus of knowledge of lutherie (the art and craft of making fine stringed instruments) established by earlier seminal works such as Henley’s Universal Dictionary of Violin and Bow Makers, Vannes’ Dictionnaire universel des luthiers, and Lütgendorff’s Die Geigen und Lautenmacher vom Mittelalter bis zur Gegenwart.
The Archive of Recorded Sound is delighted to announce that the Richard Maxfield Collection (ARS.0074) can now be listened to online, via the collection's finding aid on the Online Archive of California. This collection features nine distinct works by electronic music composer Richard Maxfield, composed between 1959-1964, four of which are believed to be previously unpublished (Dromenom, Electronic Symphony, Suite from Peripateia, and Wind). Additionally, as Maxfield frequently produced unique edits of his work for each performance, many of the open tape reels that form this collection include alternative edits to those previously published, such as the tapes for Amazing Grace which feature three different versions of the work.
The Archive of Recorded Sound recently processed a number of important additions to the Blanche Thebom Collection (ARS.0059), courtesy of Phyllis Villec, a close friend of Thebom's for many years. These additions include a substantial number of programs, newspaper clippings, correspondence, ephemera, photographs, and personal documents spanning the mezzo-soprano's career.
One of the remarkable things about large digitization projects is that not just formal events are preserved but also informal events are preserved for future access. As a matter of process the Stanford Media Preservation Lab takes part in the preservation of media that captures these special informal events. Recently while working on a portion of the Allen Ginsberg papers many recordings were digitized but (at least) two recordings were re-formatted that informally capture his friendships with other important 20th century figures.
On May 24, Dr. Robert Huw Morgan conducted the University Singers and the Memorial Church Choir in a performance of Haydn’s Creation in Bing Concert Hall. This post highlights two important items in the Memorial Library of Music related to the work: a letter written by Haydn to his English friend Dr. Charles Burney (1726-1814), who helped Haydn arrange for the initial sale of the English-language edition of the full score; and one of the earliest copies of that score, which bears Haydn’s personal stamp on the title page. Burney is best known for his A General History of Music, (4 vols., 1776-89), a monumental publication that set a new standard for works on music history and historiography.