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Violin bridge

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 Brompton’s Auctioneers--Fine & Rare Instruments, 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.

Tape container for Wind (1961)

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by electronic music composer Richard Maxfield, composed between 1959-1964, four of which are believed to be previously unpublished (Dromenom, Electronic Symphony, Suite from Peripateia, and Wind).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. 

Blanche Thebom as Laura, in La Gioconda

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.  

Image of Allen Ginsberg Papers Cassette

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.

Portrait of Joseph Haydn by Thomas Hardy (1791)

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.

The Stanford Libraries recently acquired a collection of 214 libretti of French opera and ballets in first and early editions, from the 17th-19th centuries. The major concentration is in 18th-century material, with significant representation of the works of major composers of the period, Dalayrac, Duni, Grétry, Lully, Monsigny, Philidor, Alexandre Piccinni and Nicolas Piccinni. The inclusion of first and early editions provides the opportunity for comparison of first performances and revivals. Libretti are important records of performance history, often including details such as names of the cast, choreographers, set designers, dancers, and other musicians involved in the production.

ASSU Hymns for Sunday School Teachers (Philadelphia, 1826)

Two years after its founding in 1824, the American Sunday School Union published Hymns for Sunday School Teachers, a copy of which is now in the Music Library. Measuring a mere 10 cm. in height and 76 pages in length, it may be one of the smallest items in our collections.  It joins 17 other publications by the Union in the Stanford Libraries.

Portrait of Johann Sebastian Bach, by Elias Haussmann

An ambitious online project by the Netherlands Bach Society is a good reason to shine a spotlight on the great and prolific composer Johann Sebastian Bach (not that a reason is needed!).  The NBS promises free streaming performances of Bach’s complete works, one video per week.  Sign up for the free newsletter so as not to miss anything.  Videos are archived on the site; so far there are only six, so you can easily catch up.

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