Henry Cowell, The Harp of Life (detail showing tone clusters)

Henry Cowell's tone clusters and The Harp of Life

May 23, 2017
by Ray Heigemeir

The maverick composer Henry Cowell wrote the solo piano work, The Harp of Life, in Menlo Park in 1925; it was later incorporated into the suite, Four Irish Tales, for piano and orchestra (1940). The original holograph score is held in the Memorial Library of Music in Stanford’s Department of Special Collections (MLM 232C). Accompanying correspondence from Cowell’s widow, Sydney, notes that only a few of Cowell’s 25 or so manuscripts employing tone clusters have survived, this being one. The Harp of Life refers to a great cosmic harp, upon which a plucked string announces the birth of a new being. Cowell’s tone clusters create an aural celestial environment within which the harp is played.

The Record Catalog Collection

April 26, 2017
by Frank Ferko

For a number of years the Archive of Recorded Sound has been collecting catalogs published by recording companies from around the world.   Although the ARS continues to collect these catalogs on an ongoing basis, the materials that are currently in the the Record Catalog Collection have now been processed, and a finding aid is available in the Online Archive of California.  In addition to record catalogs, the publications in the collection include promotional and advertising mat