Blog topic: Manuscripts

Africa Today 1975

Small Treasures in the John Marcum Papers (Part 4)

June 7, 2017
by Franz Kunst

Welcome to part four of our week-long venture into the John Marcum papers. In the midst of revolution and upheaval, many African countries found themselves courted by both East and West in a proxy Cold War. Naturally, much of the battle was fought with propaganda, and these items reflect the urgency and tension of those times.

Henry Cowell, The Harp of Life (detail showing tone clusters)

Henry Cowell's tone clusters and The Harp of Life

May 23, 2017
by Ray Heigemeir

The maverick composer Henry Cowell wrote the solo piano work, The Harp of Life, in Menlo Park in 1925; it was later incorporated into the suite, Four Irish Tales, for piano and orchestra (1940). The original holograph score is held in the Memorial Library of Music in Stanford’s Department of Special Collections (MLM 232C). Accompanying correspondence from Cowell’s widow, Sydney, notes that only a few of Cowell’s 25 or so manuscripts employing tone clusters have survived, this being one. The Harp of Life refers to a great cosmic harp, upon which a plucked string announces the birth of a new being. Cowell’s tone clusters create an aural celestial environment within which the harp is played.

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