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.
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.
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.
The Archive of Recorded Sound is pleased to announce the acquisition and recently completed processing of the Art Vincent Jazz Collection. The collection features over 800 hours of interviews, broadcasts, and call-in segments primarily created for the radio program Art of Jazz, produced and presented by Art Vincent (1926-1993), Jazz DJ and concert producer. The show aired on radio stations in the New York Metropolitan area between 1961 and the mid 1980s, including WFHA, WJLK, WRLB, and WGBO. In addition to some live concert recordings, the show notably featured interviews with major figures in the jazz world, such as Stan Kenton, Count Basie, Buddy DeFranco, Woody Herman, Ray Charles, Frank Sinatra, Lou Rawls, Roy Eldridge, Skitch Henderson, Art Farmer, Duke Ellington, Teddy Wilson, Stan Getz, Louis Armstrong, Gerry Mulligan, Dave Brubeck, Benny Goodman, Stephane Grappelli, Dizzy Gillespie, Toshiko Akiyoshi, Vera Auer, Ruth Brown, Betty Carter, Etta Jones, Sheila Jordan, Nellie Lutcher, Anita O'Day, Shirley Scott, Maxine Sullivan, Nancy Wilson, and many others.
On March 13th, NPR featured a story on the Project South Collection held in the University Archives and Archive of Recorded Sound. Entitled "A King Speech You've Never Heard--Plus, Your Chance to Do Archive Sleuthing," the article describes the rich treasures found within the audio recordings, including a speech by Martin Luther King, Jr., and asks for volunteers to comb through the materials and share their findings. It also asks for volunteers to help us transcribe the remainder of the collection. So far, our crowd-sourcing experiment has yielded over twenty volunteers, who have completed five transcripts. Several more transcripts are in the works. We thank NPR and all our volunteers for their efforts as there is much work that remains to be done for this amazing collection.
The Project South Collection consists of transcribed interviews with Civil Rights workers in the South recorded by several Stanford students affiliated with the campus radio station KZSU during the summer of 1965. The project was sponsored by the Institute of American History at Stanford. Includes information relating to black history; interviews of members of the Congress of Racial Equality, the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, the NAACP, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and the Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee; recordings of formal and informal remarks of persons working with smaller, independent civil rights projects, of local blacks associated with the civil rights movement, and other people, including Ku Klux Klansmen; "action tapes" of civil rights workers canvassing voters, conducting freedom schools, or participating in demonstrations ; speeches by and/or interviews with Ralph David Abernathy, Charles Evers, James Farmer, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Hosea Williams; and a Ku Klux Klan meeting and speech made by Robert Sheldon, its Imperial Wizard.