How Streaming Media Could Threaten the Mission of Libraries

Dig­i­tal music has made it eas­ier to buy and share record­ings. But try telling that to librarians.

In March 2011, the Uni­ver­sity of Washington’s library tried to get a copy of a new record­ing of the Los Ange­les Phil­har­monic play­ing a piece by Gus­tavo Dudamel, a pop­u­lar com­poser, that the library could lend to stu­dents. But the record­ing was avail­able only as a dig­i­tal down­load, and Ama­zon and iTunes for­bid rent­ing out dig­i­tal files.”

For the full story, please see The Chron­i­cle of Higher Edu­ca­tion.

World War I sheet music online at Library of Congress

From 1914 through 1920 the Library of Con­gress acquired over 14,000 pieces of sheet music relat­ing to what ulti­mately became known as the First World War, with the great­est num­ber com­ing from the years of the United States’ active involve­ment (1917–1918) and the imme­di­ate post­war period.  America’s entry into the war came at a time when pop­u­lar song­writ­ing and the music pub­lish­ing indus­try, cen­tered in New York’s Tin Pan Alley, was at its height and a new musi­cal form known as “jazz” was emerg­ing.  The sheet music col­lec­tion rep­re­sents the inter­sec­tion of this rich out­put of pop­u­lar song and the con­scious­ness of a nation at war that was itself emerg­ing, as a major world power.

In addi­tion to com­mer­cially pub­lished songs, the col­lec­tion also con­tains “music of the peo­ple” — the work of ama­teurs in van­ity press edi­tions and unpub­lished man­u­scripts.  The essay “World War I Sheet Music at the Library of Con­gress: America’s War, as Viewed by Pub­lish­ers and the Pub­lic” dis­cusses the his­tor­i­cal con­text of the col­lected songs and their reflec­tion of Amer­i­can soci­ety dur­ing the war.

Browse this collection.

Richard Maxfield Collection now streaming online

The Archive of Recorded Sound at Stan­ford Uni­ver­sity is delighted to announce that the Richard Max­field Col­lec­tion (ARS.0074) can now be lis­tened to online, via the collection’s find­ing aid on the Online Archive of Cal­i­for­nia

This col­lec­tion fea­tures nine dis­tinct works by the pio­neer­ing Amer­i­can elec­tronic music com­poser Richard Max­field, com­posed between 1959–1964, four of which are believed to be pre­vi­ously unpub­lished (Dromenom, Elec­tronic Sym­phony, Suite from Peri­pateia, and Wind). Addi­tion­ally, as Max­field fre­quently pro­duced unique edits of his work for each per­for­mance, many of the open tape reels that form this col­lec­tion include alter­na­tive edits to those pre­vi­ously pub­lished, such as the tapes for Amaz­ing Grace which fea­ture three dif­fer­ent ver­sions of the work.

You can read more about Max­field and this col­lec­tion on the Stan­ford Libraries Blog -

Daniele Gatti conducts a memorial concert for Claudio Abbado

Yes­ter­day evening, at the Dres­den Music Fes­ti­val and web­cast live on, Daniele Gatti was con­duct­ing a memo­r­ial con­cert for Clau­dio Abbado. Last Jan­u­ary, his depar­ture sad­dened us all, leav­ing the whole musi­cal world very lonely. At the begin­ning of the year, in an inter­view given by Mas­simo Bis­cardi (for­mer artis­tic con­sul­tant to the Orches­tra Mozart) for The Econ­o­mist, this lat­ter declared that Clau­dio Abbado “was a great men­tor to younger con­duc­tors like Gus­tavo Dudamel, Daniel Hard­ing and Daniele Gatti.” Yes­ter­day, per­form­ing along­side the con­duc­tor, was the great mezzo-soprano Wal­traud Meier, singing among other songs the ‘Urlicht’ (from Mahler’s Res­ur­rec­tion Sym­phony), that she had recorded in 1994 in a ref­er­ence ver­sion with Clau­dio Abbado; and the Mahler Cham­ber Orches­tra, a world-renowned orches­tra founded with the sup­port of the very much lamented con­duc­tor. Mahler was, with­out any doubt, one of Clau­dio Abbado’s favourite com­posers. And so, this month, we also sug­gest you a selec­tion of works shed­ding light on how influ­enced by Wagner’s works Mahler was. Both were keen on orches­tras of gar­gan­tuan pro­por­tions, with many brass instru­ments, as well as long silences and long-held melody tones, chro­mati­cism… Later this month, enjoy for the third year in a row the Flâner­ies Musi­cales de Reims and its con­certs of young tal­ents (very recently, true stars were revealed there, such as Beat­rice Rana and Edgar Moreau), a rare opera by Rossini, and aThird Sym­phony by Mahler (yes, still him!) con­ducted by the Bolshoi’s new musi­cal direc­tor Tugan Sokhiev, in Toulouse. Last, but def­i­nitely not least, on July 6th, while the entire world will be keep­ing their eyes riv­eted on Brazil, will be in São Paulo to web­cast Beethoven’s Sym­phony No. 9 con­ducted by Marin Alsop, dur­ing the World Cup.

In 2014, The Classical World Still Can’t Stop Fat-Shaming Women

After a week full of dis­cus­sions about gen­der and the news­room in the U.S., a pile of week­end reviews arrived from Lon­don, cour­tesy of five older male crit­ics writ­ing about an emerg­ing Irish mezzo-soprano named Tara Erraught. Erraught is singing Octa­vian in the Strauss opera Der Rosenkava­lier at the Glyn­de­bourne Fes­ti­val, which opened Sat­ur­day night.”

Read the full story at

Symphony guide: Brahms’s Fourth

The very first peo­ple to hear or see any part of Brahms’s Fourth Sym­phony in 1885 had some sur­pris­ingly hereti­cal things to say about the piece. Brahms and a friend played through the sym­phony on the piano to a group of his clos­est con­fi­dants, crit­ics and col­lab­o­ra­tors, but the reac­tion was one of those dev­as­tat­ingly uncom­fort­able silences. Eduard Hanslick, Brahms’s crit­i­cal cham­pion, broke the uneasy atmos­phere after the first move­ment with the unfor­get­table com­ment, “I feel I’ve just been beaten up by two ter­ri­bly intel­li­gent peo­ple”. As Brahms’s biog­ra­pher Jan Swaf­ford reveals, another friend, the writer Max Kalbeck, turned up at Brahms’s apart­ment the next day to rec­om­mend that the com­poser should not release the piece to the pub­lic in its cur­rent form. Instead, he sug­gested, he should keep the finale as a stand-alone piece, and replace both the slow move­ment and the scherzo. Riven by self-doubt, Brahms was unsure that he would allow the piece to have any life beyond its pre­miere in Meinin­gen that Octo­ber. Only the work’s pos­i­tive recep­tion there, and the grad­ual, grudg­ing change in his friends’ atti­tude to the piece at its Vien­nese pre­miere, con­vinced Brahms that the Fourth Sym­phony could survive.”

For the full story, please see The Guardian.

Symphony guide: Janáček’s Sinfonietta

The clue’s in the title, surely: Janáček’s Sin­foni­etta is pre­cisely that; an orches­tral diver­tisse­ment and an occa­sional enter­tain­ment rather than an actual “sym­phony”. If you think that a piece that begins and ends with a pha­lanx of mil­i­tary fan­fares, per­formed by an addi­tional ensem­ble of 13 brass play­ers - includ­ing nine trum­pets – can’t pos­si­bly be taken seri­ously as one of the 20th century’s most com­pelling sym­phonies, then look away now. But I’m here to make the case for Janâček’s work (one of his final mas­ter­pieces, pre­miered in 1926, two years before his death) as the prod­uct of a unique approach to sym­phonic form, for the 1920s – or indeed for any other time.”

For the full story, please see The Guardian.

New Collections from the Stanford Archive of Recorded Sound

Charles Daniels Sheet Music Col­lec­tion -
The Charles Daniels Sheet Music Col­lec­tion prin­ci­pally con­tains sheet music of works either com­posed by Daniels, pub­lished under his given name or one of his pseu­do­nyms, notably Neil Moret, or works pub­lished by one of the many pub­lish­ers Daniels was affil­i­ated with dur­ing his career. Also included are piano rolls of works by Daniels, var­i­ous peri­od­i­cals from the late 19th and early 20th cen­turies, ephemera, and com­po­si­tions and pub­li­ca­tions by the cre­ator of the Charles Daniels Sheet Music Col­lec­tion, Nan Bostick.

Mon­terey Jazz Fes­ti­val Col­lec­tion - (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)  The 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.