Stanford University Libraries is the grateful recipient of a very generous donation of some 700 individual leaves from early printed books, the gift of Donn Faber Downing and Letitia Leigh Sanders. The vast majority of these leaves are from books from the 15th and 16th centuries and serve not only as examples of which texts were being printed with this “new” technology (Gutenberg’s Bible was printed about 1455, the first book printed in the western world with moveable type) but also how these texts were presented: their typefaces, page layout, and format. It is a remarkable, rich collection, and will be used in a wide variety of classes.
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.
Spring term will begin on March 30th and with the new term comes new hours for Special Collections and University Archives. Our open hours for Spring term will be Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Over the past several months, I have been blogging about rare Haydn materials held in the Department of Special Collections, Memorial Library of Music, including one autograph manuscript, one important letter, and nine first or early score editions. Each item was digitized for deep storage in the Stanford Digital Repository, and high-quality, downloadable images have been made available to the world via links in SearchWorks. Thanks go to Astrid Smith, Rare Book and Special Collections Digitization Specialist, and the Digital Production Group for their excellent efforts on behalf of this project in support of Haydn, Patronage, and the Enlightenment.
Stanford University Libraries, Memorial Library of Music, MLM 495
Original title on the autograph score: Orfeo ed Euridice; title in Haydn’s catalogue: L'anima del filosofo ossia
Composed in 1791 and headed for the boards in the new Haymarket Theatre, Orfeo was cancelled due to recurring arts-patron rivalry between George III and his son, the Prince of Wales. The King and the Prince supported rival opera houses and seasons. The Prince was a patron of the Haymarket, and George III took it upon himself to refuse to grant a performing license to the Haymarket’s manager, Sir John Gallini, effectively mothballing the production of Orfeo at the new theatre.
Deux Duos avec accompagnement de piano forte:
Saper vorrei se m’ami, HXXVa:1
Guarda qui, che lo vedrai, HXXVa:2
À Bonn : Chez N. Simrock., [1803 or 1804]
Stanford University Libraries, Memorial Library of Music, MLM 490
This pair of pastoral duets for soprano, tenor, and piano were composed in 1796, a highly productive year for Haydn. Other major works Haydn composed that year include the Trumpet Concerto, the Missa Sancti Bernardi de Offida (‘Heiligmesse’), and the Missa in tempore belli (‘Paukenmesse’). The librettist was Carlo Francesco Badini, whom Haydn met while in London. Badini worked for the Italian opera house, and also supplied the libretto to Haydn's last opera, L'anima del filosofo, ossia Orfeo ed Euridice.