Blog topic: Music

Canzonetta (detail)

Introducing Alfredo Piatti

November 4, 2016
by Ray Heigemeir

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

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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
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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 There were seven repeat performances through October 12, before the work was subsequently withdrawn from the repertory.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.

Archangel Michael Hurls the Rebellious Angels into the Abyss, by Luca Giordano (ca. 1666)

The Fallen Angel: An oratorio, unearthed

March 30, 2016
by Ray Heigemeir

“There was war in heaven: and Satan was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. Rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them: woe to the inhabiters of the earth.” – Revelation 12:7-12

So opens The Fallen Angel, an oratorio by Sir Henry Rowley Bishop. The manuscript score, in Bishop’s hand, has recently been reunited with a full set of manuscript orchestral and choral parts, as item MLM 87 in Stanford’s Memorial Library of Music.

Oinousses main settlement

Ravel's lively Greek songs

October 6, 2016
by Ray Heigemeir

Tout Gai!, original manuscript by Maurice Ravel (1875-1937); traditional Greek text from the island of Chios, French translation by Michel-Dimitri Calvocoressi; No. 5 of Cinq Mélodies populaires grecques.
Memorial Library of Music, MLM 864
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Guest blogger: Kirstin Haag

Maurice Ravel was known as France’s premier living composer in the 1920s and ‘30s, but his early career was not without challenges. By 1900, Ravel had flunked out of his courses at the Conservatoire de Paris not once, but twice. By 1905, he had failed to win the Prix de Rome no less than five times. However, in the wake of these career hardships, Ravel orchestrated several Greek songs that would become some of his most beloved recital pieces.

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