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David R. Kessler Collection of Classical Music CDs

Compact discs

The Music Library is the recipient of a magnificent collection of classical music compact discs donated by Dr. David R. Kessler. The collection consists of 7,701 titles on 9,546 discs resulting from Dr. Kessler’s lifelong love and involvement with music. He began listening to classical music on the radio in New York in his early teens, where he listened to music several hours daily and took notes on what he heard. He also began seriously studying the piano. Together with a friend he began listening to many of the artists of the day on 78 rpm records such as pianist Artur Schnabel and singers Elisabeth Schumann and Aksel Schiøtz. He was able to expand his record collection considerably with the advent of LP records, and he donated many of these recordings to the Archive of Recorded Sound.

However, with the advent of compact disc recordings, he found a veritable explosion of recordings of music that had long been neglected or completely forgotten. While his early record collection contained much of the standard repertory of 19th-century classical music, he was now able to collect recordings of music from the baroque, renaissance, medieval, and 20th century. Consequently, his CD collection comprises a wealth and breadth of music from all eras and types including William Byrd’s Latin motets and English anthems by the Cambridge Singers under John Rutter, the Missa Simile est regnum cœlorum of Francisco Guerrero, Monteverdi’s madrigals on texts by Tasso, the Alfred Schnittke Violin Concerto played by Gidon Kremer and the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, the lute sonatas of Silvius Leopold Weiss performed by Robert Barto, Charles Ruggles Evocations with pianist Michael Boriskin, and thousands of other works. In addition to collecting all of these recordings, Dr. Kessler indexed his entire collection in a database that he also donated along with the collection.

Cataloging this collection for the library will take some time. In order to make it accessible sooner, library users may find a collection citation in SearchWorks. The SearchWorks record contains a link to an inventory that can be browsed or searched. By providing the library staff with the Box number and information in the inventory, individual items will be cataloged by the Music Library and made available on demand.