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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.

Monterey Jazz Festival logo

The Archive of Recorded Sound has recently processed the following collections: 

Monterey Jazz Festival Collection

(N.B details of the live festival recordings in this collection have been online for some time. Recent processing has included the creation of a finding aid that details the entire collection in addition to these live audio and video recordings). 

This collection contains the archives of the Monterey Jazz Festival from 1958 to the present. It primarily consists of unpublished sound recordings and videos of festival concerts, and interviews and panel discussions in various formats, many of which are also available as digital sound and video files. Also included are a variety of recordings received with the collection that are not recordings from the festival itself, but instead feature content connected to the festival in some way, such as studio recordings of artists who performed at the festival, demo tapes for artists wishing to perform at the festival, or various recordings relating to festival founder Jimmy Lyons in some way. Some books, photographs, posters, programs, and other miscellaneous papers can also be found in the archives. The collection adds material every year.

Australian soprano Marjorie Lawrence in an undated publicity photo

British Pathé just released an astounding 85,000 archival film clips on YouTube. Included are numerous clips of musical interest including great singers, instrumentalists, and conductors; music making in the home and community, musical oddities, and unique performances and venues. One clip that caught my attention today is of Australian soprano Marjorie Lawrence making her first standing appearance after being stricken with polio (she's performing with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, 1947). Her story was memorably told in the Hollywood film based on her memoirs, Interrupted Melody, starring Eleanor Parker as Lawrence.

The Archive of Recorded Sound recently collaborated with the Bing Stanford in Washington program to provide digitized images from the Archive's Grover Sales Collection (ARS.0016) for an evening event at the program in late January which served to launch both a new arts track at Bing Stanford in Washington, and provide students from both Stanford and nearby Duke Ellington School of the Arts with an insight into the role jazz played in African American history and civil rights through the early to middle part of the 20th century.  The event  featured a display of enlarged wall mounted images of Duke Ellington, Billy Strayhorn, and Ethel Waters, sourced from the Grover Sales Collection, digitized from 35mm negative slides. Grover Sales (1920-2004), a Bay Area author, jazz critic, and teacher, who regularly taught jazz history here at Stanford, amassed the image portion of his collection from various sources for use during his classes.  
Kurt Cobain

In the 20 years since Kurt Cobain’s death his influence as a musician and iconoclast is still strongly felt.  Cobain is the subject of a number of biographies and several videographies; seminal albums by his band Nirvana, including Nevermind and In Utero, rank among the best of late twentieth century alternative rock.

Donald Pippin, Artistic Director of Pocket Opera

Since 1952 Donald Pippin has been a part of the musical life of San Francisco. He is best known as the founder of Pocket Opera, which started in 1977 with the purpose of making opera more accessible to the average concert goer by presenting opera in unique English language translations with a small chamber ensemble. The Donald Pippin Collection consists primarily of Pippin's English translations of opera librettos available as pdf files. Follow the links in the finding aid to download the files.

A new exhibition has just opened at the Stanford Music Library entitled Treasures from the Archive of Recorded Sound, on show through August 14. The exhibition was curated and installed by the Archive of Recorded Sound's Interim Operations Manager, Benjamin Bates, who describes the content and theme of the exhibit in more detail. 

2013 marked the 200th birthdays of Giuseppe Verdi and Richard Wagner. The Music Library purchased a number of out-of-print and rare scores of works by both composers, and books by and about Wagner. The Wagner works include his Die Kunst und die Revolution (Leipzig, 1849) and Deutscher Kunst und deutsche Politik (Leipzig, 1868), Julius Lang’s Zur Versöhnung des Judenthums mit Richard Wagner (Berlin, 1869), and Hermann Schneider’s Richard Wagner und das germanische Altertum (Tübingen, 1939). Arrangements for piano, 2-hands including overtures to Christoph Columbus (Leipzig, 1908), Faust (Leipzig, 189?), and König Enzio (Leipzig & London, 1908), and a score of Lohengrin in French (Paris 1891) were also acquired. All of the Wagner materials are described in Significant Acquisitions 2012-2013, on the Music Library’s web page.

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