Significant music acquisitions 2016-2017
Some of the significant acquisitions in music acquired last year are highlighted here. A more complete list may be found on the Music Library’s web page. We are grateful to our endowed fund donors whose contributions made most of these purchases possible.
Expositions and world fairs were responsible for creating a lot of popular music, as the collection recently added shows. The sheet music provides a fascinating view of these events, from the colorful cover art, to the stories and descriptions contained in the lyrics. The 1893 Chicago, 1904 St. Louis, and 1915 and 1939 San Francisco fairs are especially well represented. The collection includes more than 20 songs from the 1915 Panama-Pacific Fair held in San Francisco. Some of them are Romanoff Caviar, Meet Me in Frisco and We’ll Go to the Fair, That’s How They Spent Their Honeymoon, 1915 Rag, Frisco You’re a Bear. The earliest example in the collection is The Exhibition Quadrille, its cover shows a lithograph of the Crystal Palace of the Great Exhibition of 1851 in London.
Jean de Reszke (1850-1925) was a baritone and later tenor, who made his debut at La Fenice in Venice in 1874. He excelled in the French repertory and Wagnerian roles, and created the role of Le Cid in Massenet’s opera. His unpublished memoir tells of his childhood, musical experiences and training, and early career, to ca. 1880. Considered the leading tenor at the Met before Caruso, de Reszke later taught. His pupils included Maggie Teyte and Bidu Sayao.
Art nouveau illustrations by Wilhelm Weimar in Das Rheingold: Richard Wagners gleichnamigen Werke, depict scenes from the Rheingold legend, which was the source for the first opera in Richard Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen. The volume also includes decorated text by Hans Paul von Wolzogen.
Jenny Lind (1820-1887) was a Swedish operatic and oratorio soprano nicknamed the “Swedish Nightingale.” Her voice inspired composers such as Meyerbeer and Verdi to create roles for her. While her operatic career ended in 1849, she continued as a recitalist and oratorio singer. Though she was offered a number of tour possibilities, she chose to tour the United States. American showman P.T. Barnum offered to pay her $1000 a performance, up to $150,000. Lind was a 19th-century superstar. The paper doll of her which was recently acquired, was produced in Germany between 1846 and 1848. The set includes the doll with 10 dresses and 5 hair pieces which depict Lind in some of her most important operatic roles.
Advances in photography and technology have made it possible to show every inch of an instrument in fine detail. The 8-volume set Antonius Stradivarius is an amazing compilation of photographs of instruments taken from various angles so that one can easily see features like the grain of the wood or any blemishes. A special “drip off technique” was used, which enabled the varnish of the instruments to look close to original. The set is a chronological catalog of Stradivari stringed instruments. Besides the amazing photographs, information is provided about construction, condition, and provenance. Accompanying cds contains measurements and additional visual aspects.