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.
Piano music. Concertos. Songs. Orchestral and chamber works. Operas. The complete recorded works of Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943) are now available for borrowing from the Music Library. This limited-edition, 32-disc set from the Decca Classics label features some of the greatest performers of the 20th and 21st centuries, including Vladimir Ashkenazy, Martha Argerich, Mikhail Pletnev, Jorge Bolet, Elisabeth Söderström, Olga Borodina, Alexander Ghindon, Sviatislav Richter, and Zoltán Kocsis, among many others. Orchestras include the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the London Philharmonic, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the San Francisco Symphony, and more.
For your browsing pleasure, these titles have recently joined our reference collection. In no particular order:
Compilations of musical works usually evoke images of audio cassettes, burned CDs, or playlists, but here at the Archive of Recorded Sound we’ve been uncovering compilations of a different flavor: conjoined piano rolls.
For your browsing pleasure, we present the following list of new scores added to composer complete editions, historical sets, and facsimiles:
Beethoven. Festspiele von 1812 und 1822. Werke / Beethoven ; herausgegeben von Beethoven-Archiv, Bonn, unter Leitung von Joseph Schmidt-Görg.