The Archive of Recorded Sound (ARS) has recently begun cataloging Irish folk music recordings donated by the family of Thomas Quilter. The collection features items representing a significant span of Irish and Irish-American music from the 1910s to the 1980s and a progression in performance practices leading up to and including the revival of Irish traditional folk music.
Cavalleria rusticana, original manuscript by Pietro Mascagni (1863-1945); libretto by Giovanni Targioni-Tozzetti and Guido Menasci after a play and story by Giovanni Verga. Memorial Library of Music, MLM 651.
Cavalleria rusticana premiered on May 17, 1890 at the Teatro Costanzi in Rome, one of three winners of a one-act opera competition sponsored by the publisher Sonzogno (the other two winners were Labilia by Nicola Spinelli and Rudello by Vincenzo Ferroni). The young Mascagni was hesitant to enter; his wife Lina ended up sending the manuscript without his knowledge. This manuscript now resides in Stanford's Memorial Library of Music.
Opern-Tÿpen consists of six volumes of chromolithographic plates depicting scenes from 54 operas popular in 19th century Germany. Each opera plot has been distilled into a mere six frames, with liberally adapted accompanying text. The visual charms of Opern-Typen are evident. The plates reveal a sophisticated understanding of the effective use of line, gesture, and composition to convey drama and comedy in a tight narrative sequence. Future research may determine if these drawings captured or were informed by real-life performances, as is suggested by the inclusion of staging and scenic elements.
The Archive of Recorded Sound (ARS) recently deposited two significant collections into the Stanford Digital Repository (SDR), the Terry Smythe AMICA Collection and the Stanford Soundtrack Collection.
In November 2014, I posted a blog detailing a very small roll (4.5" wide) that staff at the Archive of Recorded Sound had uncovered among the reproducing piano rolls in the Denis Condon Collection of Reproducing Pianos and Rolls. It was discovered that the roll was designed to be used with a toy, a type of player saxophone called the Playasax, produced by Q.R.S. I am very pleased to announce that the Archive, just yesterday, acquired an actual Playasax along with four additional rolls, thanks to a generous donation by Kristine Sturgill. This donation will make up the Otto M. Slater Playasax Collection, named in honor of Mrs Sturgill's father, who passed away earlier this year.
A recent score arrival highlights an interesting musical connection between Stanford and Fisk Universities. Salute, a fanfare for four b-flat trumpets and optional percussion by the American composer Walter Piston (1894-1976), was written for the Thirteenth Festival of Music and Fine Art at Fisk University in Nashville, held in 1942. The piece was commissioned by Harold C. Schmidt, Director of Choirs and Chair of the Music Department.
The Archive of Recorded Sound has recently processed two notable collections, covering very different musical genres.
Helen Colijn (1920-2006) was held captive in a Japanese prison camp on the island of Sumatra for three and one half years during World War II. One remarkable survival mechanism for some of the prisoners at the Women’s Barracks Camp in Palembang was making music, and a series of concerts was prepared and given in which the women sang a cappella arrangements of great works of Western Art music. The music was arranged by Margaret Dryburgh and Norah Chambers. Programs included Dvorak’s Largo from the New World Symphony, the Pastoral from Handel’s Messiah, Chopin’s ‘Raindrop’ Prelude, and Tchaikovsky’s Andante Cantabile, among many other works.