At a glance

Music Library

Significant acquisitions

Below is a sampling of significant acquisitions from recent years.  See more titles, listed by year, at left. Items are located in the Music Library, the Archive of Recorded Sound, or in the Department of Special Collections, Green Library.


Chansonnier de Jean de Montchenu.
Valencia: Vicent Garci­a Editores, 2007.
Acquired through the Susan & Ruth Sharp Fund.

This limited facsimile edition of the well known Chansonnier cordiforme, Ms. Occ. Rothschild 2973, housed in the Bibliotheque nationale de France, is exceptional in many respects. It has an unusual heart shape when closed, and opens into the shape of a butterfly, composed of the hearts of two lovers who send love messages to one another in each of the songs. A pictogram is used whenever the word “heart” appears in the texts and there is beautiful artwork throughout the manuscript. Included are French and Italian secular pieces, by or attributed to Barbingant, Fedé, Bedingham, Dufay, Dunstable, Binchois, Frye, Busnois, Caron, Cornago, Ghizeghem, Morton, Ockeghem, Vincenet and others. The chansonnier was commissioned by Jean de Montchenu, a nobleman, apostolic prothonotary, Bishop of Agen (1477) and Later of Vivier (1478-1797). More details may be found on the publisher's website.


Encomium Musices.
Antwerp: Gallaeus, [ca, 1590]
Acquired through the Susan & Ruth Sharp Fund.

Printed ca. 1590, the 18 engraved plates that comprise this book depict scenes from the Old and New Testaments. Two of the plates contain music, and are some of the earliest music engravings created. The exquisite title page shows the figures of Harmonia, Musica and Mensura surrounding an open score of a six-voice motet, identified as Nata et grata polo by the Flemish composer Andreas Pevernage. The figures, in turn, are surrounded by a sea of musical instruments. All of the depictions are based on the designs of Jan von de Straet and engraved by well-known engravers Phillip Galle, who was also the publisher of the work, and Adrian Collaert. Several of the engravings contain musicians and musical instruments, some real, others more imagined. It is indeed rare to find a complete set of the plates, as they have often been detached and sold separately.

Artemisia title page  Domenico Cimarosa. Artemisia : Dramma Tragico.
Venezia, [1801].
Acquired through the Lucie King Harris Books for Music Fund.

Artemesia is the last of Cimarosa’s almost sixty operas, with libretto by Count Giovanni Battista Colloredo who wrote under the pen name of Cratisto Jamejo. Cimarosa completed only two of the acts; the third was completed by an unknown person. The opera premiered at La Fenice in Venice in January 1801, was performed in Florence in 1806, and was likely performed in England, Germany and Russia. Arias from the opera were published in the early nineteenth century and the overture in 1957. However the full opera has never been published. This two-volume manuscript copy was produced in Venice by the well known copying shop of Valentino Bertoja, who at one time was Haydn’s second cellist at Esterháza. It is inscribed to Alvise Mocenigo, a member of one of the most renowned patrician families of the Venetian Republic.

Music for King Henry: BL Royal MS 11 E XI.
Charenton près Paris : Chez Vernay, [1804]
Commentary by Nicolas Bell; performing edition by David Skinner.
London : The Folio Society, 2009.
Acquired through the Susan & Ruth Sharp Book Fund.

This deluxe facsimile edition, limited to 500 copies, is a beautiful reproduction of a manuscript compiled in 1516 in Flanders. It is believed to have been presented to King Henry VIII of England as a means of securing a position for Benedictus de Opitiis as court organist. The illuminated manuscript is thoughtfully designed to appeal to the king’s interests and contains six motets, two of them composed in his honor. The intricate frontispiece utilizes the texts of two of the motets and its illustrations are full of symbolism relating to Henry’s lineage and history. A separate volume of Commentary provides background information about the manuscript’s creation, a description of the manuscript, and a discussion of its pieces, as well as a Performing Edition of the music. A recording is also provided, containing most of the pieces in the manuscript, many never before recorded, some of King Henry’s compositions, and other works.


Mahler, Gustav, 1860-1911.
3. Symphonie / von Gustav Mahler.
Wien : J. Weinberger, [1899?]

Dritte Symphonie D Moll / von Gustav Mahler.
Wien : Universal-Edition, [19--]

Acquired through the Susan & Ruth Sharp Book Fund. 

The first and second editions of Mahler’s third symphony increase the number of source materials for the work in the Memorial Library of Music, which already included two sketches and a corrected first edition. This copy of the first edition contains extensive manuscript corrections and alterations in a neat hand in red ink throughout, possibly from a member of Mahler’s circle, or of a professional copyist from the publisher Universal. Stanford owns another copy of the first edition which also contains corrections by an unknown source. Mahler is known to have constantly revised his works so that sources such as these may provide significant insight into his process. Besides the two annotated first editions at Stanford, there are other annotated copies at the Internationale Gustav Mahler Gesellschaft in Vienna, which has corrections in Mahler’s handwriting and another hand, the Library of Congress, and New York Public Library. The handwriting in the first Stanford copy and the New York Public copy seem to be similar. We do not fully know what the relationship is between these copies or what the information in them tells us. When one compares the newly acquired first and second editions, it is evident that the corrections and alterations noted in the first edition were made in the published second.

Jean Baptiste Lully. Le Triomphe de l’Amour, Ballet Royal. 
Paris : Christophe Ballard, 1681.
Acquired through the Lucie King Harris Books for Music Fund. 

Lully held prominent positions in the court of Louis XIV of France and was the most influential composer in the country during the latter part of the 17th century. Le Triomphe de l’Amour, with libretto by Isaac de Benserade and Philippe Quinault, is a ballet de cour, which combines dance with sung comedie. It was first performed at Saint-Germain-en-Laye in 1681 marking the arrival of Marie-Anne-Christine-Victoire of Bavaria, who was to marry the dauphin. The first public performances later that year are noteworthy for having the first appearances of professional female dancers. Music abounded at court and Louis was known as an accomplished dancer. It was not unusual for members of the court to take part in the private performances and the dauphin is reported to have appeared as Pleasure, in this work. This copy of the ballet includes 17th-century performance markings and the composer’s autograph paraph.