Blog topic: Music

The Carter Family, 1927

Introducing the Bear Family Records collection

December 6, 2016
by Benjamin Lee Stone

Founded by Richard Weize in 1975, the German re-issue label Bear Family Records has been a leader in reissuing lavishly produced box sets of American roots music, with a particular focus on American country music (and related genres) from the 1920s through the 1980s.   Bear Family’s box sets are impeccably curated, with recordings sourced from the best known copies, or master tapes whenever possible.  The reissued recordings are accompanied by extensively researched discographies and book-length liner notes. Bear Family recordings have been the recipient of a number of prestigious awards, including 17 ARSC (Association for Record Sound Collections) Awards for Excellence in Historical Recorded Sound Research and 6 Grammy nominations.

Mario Paci

Music exhibit about Mario Paci in Shanghai

On October 14, the exhibit, “Mario Paci and Music Culture in Shanghai: A Special Exhibition in Commemoration of Mario Paci,” opened at Shanghai Symphony Hall to commemorate 70 years since the death of the Symphony’s revered founding conductor. The exhibit is a collaborative project between the Stanford University Libraries, the Shanghai Conservatory of Music, and the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra.

Canzonetta (detail)

Introducing Alfredo Piatti

November 4, 2016
by Ray Heigemeir

Canzonetta for cello and piano [1882]
by Alfredo Piatti (1822-1901)

[download images of this work]

Carlo Alfredo Piatti (1822-1901) was one of the most famous cellists of the 19th century.  Born in Bergamo, Italy, he began his cello studies at age 5 with his uncle. At age 7 he played in the local opera orchestra. In his teens, he studied at the Milan Conservatory and then began touring Europe. After meeting Liszt in Munich, the pianist invited Piatti to share a concert billing in Paris. There, Liszt presented Piatti with a fine Amati cello, having learned that he was playing on borrowed instruments after having to sell his cello during hard times on the road. Piatti later owned a fine Stradivarius cello, now nicknamed the “Piatti.” The book, The Adventures of a Cello, chronicles this instrument's story from its creation in Cremona in 1720 to the present day.

Franz Schubert

Mysterious attributions: Reception of Die Zauberharfe

May 13, 2016
by Ray Heigemeir

Overture zum 3. Akt, Die Zauberharfe, original manuscript by Franz Schubert (1797-1828); libretto by Georg von Hofmann.
Memorial Library of Music, MLM 948
[download images of this work]

Guest blogger: Benjamin Ory

Die Zauberharfe, or “The Magic Harp,” was a melodrama premiered on August 19, 1820 at the Theater an der Wien in Vienna. The original cast included Ferdinand Schimon (Palmerin, tenor), Karl Erdmann Rüger (Arnulf), Josefa Gottdank (Melinda), Frl. Botta (Ida), and Nikolaus Heurteur (Folko). There were seven repeat performances through October 12, before the work was subsequently withdrawn from the repertory. The majority of Hofmann’s text and some of the musical numbers were lost, and thus, no further staged performances were able to occur. The manuscript of the Act III Overture now resides in Stanford’s Memorial Library of Music.

John C. Lilly open reel audio tape

Open reel tapes, head blocks, and unconventional track arrangements at the Stanford Media Preservation Lab

Part of audio preservation work includes working with media that has peculiar characteristics. Sometimes the atypical qualities are a byproduct of how the recording was made by the recordist. An example of this type of problem that we occasionally see at the Stanford Media Preservation Lab is when an open reel tape is recorded over and there is remaining content hidden in certain spots of the tape. This presents specific problems in capture since tape heads are built for use with specific physical configurations of tracks and thus capturing the hidden spots outside of the normal range of track configuration is near impossible. With this in mind SMPL recently worked on obtaining equipment to address this challenging scenario.

Claude Monet, Impression Sunrise (1872)

New music scores and facsimiles, June 2016

June 7, 2016
by Ray Heigemeir

For your browsing pleasure, we present the following list of new scores added to composer complete editions, historical sets, and facsimiles.

Modern editions

CPE Bach. Flute concertos, vol. II. Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach ; edited by Barthold Kuijken (Works, series III, vol. 4:2)

Cavalli. Orione / Francesco Cavalli ; dramma per musica by Francesco Melosio.

Chabrier. L'Étoile : opéra bouffe en trois actes / Emmanuel Chabrier.

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