The Stanford Libraries recently acquired a collection of 214 libretti of French opera and ballets in first and early editions, from the 17th-19th centuries. The major concentration is in 18th-century material, with significant representation of the works of major composers of the period, Dalayrac, Duni, Grétry, Lully, Monsigny, Philidor, Alexandre Piccinni and Nicolas Piccinni. The inclusion of first and early editions provides the opportunity for comparison of first performances and revivals. Libretti are important records of performance history, often including details such as names of the cast, choreographers, set designers, dancers, and other musicians involved in the production.
Two years after its founding in 1824, the American Sunday School Union published Hymns for Sunday School Teachers, a copy of which is now in the Music Library. Measuring a mere 10 cm. in height and 76 pages in length, it may be one of the smallest items in our collections. It joins 17 other publications by the Union in the Stanford Libraries.
An ambitious online project by the Netherlands Bach Society is a good reason to shine a spotlight on the great and prolific composer Johann Sebastian Bach (not that a reason is needed!). The NBS promises free streaming performances of Bach’s complete works, one video per week. Sign up for the free newsletter so as not to miss anything. Videos are archived on the site; so far there are only six, so you can easily catch up.
The Archive of Recorded Sound has recently processed the following collections:
(N.B details of the live festival recordings in this collection have been online for some time. Recent processing has included the creation of a finding aid that details the entire collection in addition to these live audio and video recordings).
This collection contains the archives of the Monterey Jazz Festival from 1958 to the present. It primarily consists of unpublished sound recordings and videos of festival concerts, and interviews and panel discussions in various formats, many of which are also available as digital sound and video files. Also included are a variety of recordings received with the collection that are not recordings from the festival itself, but instead feature content connected to the festival in some way, such as studio recordings of artists who performed at the festival, demo tapes for artists wishing to perform at the festival, or various recordings relating to festival founder Jimmy Lyons in some way. Some books, photographs, posters, programs, and other miscellaneous papers can also be found in the archives. The collection adds material every year.
British Pathé just released an astounding 85,000 archival film clips on YouTube. Included are numerous clips of musical interest including great singers, instrumentalists, and conductors; music making in the home and community, musical oddities, and unique performances and venues. One clip that caught my attention today is of Australian soprano Marjorie Lawrence making her first standing appearance after being stricken with polio (she's performing with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, 1947). Her story was memorably told in the Hollywood film based on her memoirs, Interrupted Melody, starring Eleanor Parker as Lawrence.
In the 20 years since Kurt Cobain’s death his influence as a musician and iconoclast is still strongly felt. Cobain is the subject of a number of biographies and several videographies; seminal albums by his band Nirvana, including Nevermind and In Utero, rank among the best of late twentieth century alternative rock.
Since 1952 Donald Pippin has been a part of the musical life of San Francisco. He is best known as the founder of Pocket Opera, which started in 1977 with the purpose of making opera more accessible to the average concert goer by presenting opera in unique English language translations with a small chamber ensemble. The Donald Pippin Collection consists primarily of Pippin's English translations of opera librettos available as pdf files. Follow the links in the finding aid to download the files.