June 4, 2011 by David Day
John Marson (1932-2007) was a prominent British harpist and composer who also co-founded the UK Harp Association. He composed music for the harp, many combinations of chamber music, string quartets, and several musicals. His music manuscripts and personal papers were donated to the International Harp Archives at BYU at his passing in 2007.
Marson was born in Derby England and took piano lessons at a young age, but soon discovered the harp for himself. A few years after his first harp lessons he was accepted into the Royal College of Music in London. There he studied with Marie Goossens, whose influence he later recalled as the turning point in his career. He auditioned for the London Symphony Orchestra and became principal harp. He soon left the LSO and began to freelance. For the next thirty years performed with noted artists such as Stravinsky, Sinatra, Boulez, the Beatles, Copland, Chaplin, Malcolm Arnold, and Julie Andrews. He also performed with noted ensembles such as the English Chamber Orchestra, the London Sinfonietta, the Derek New Sextet, and the Laurie Johnson Big Band.
In 1964 he was co-founder of the UK Harp Association and edited their journal for many years. In 1982, he returned to orchestral playing and became principal harp of the BBC Symphony Orchestra.
Two years before his death, John Marson wrote Book of the Harp (2005), a charming ragbag of little known facts, serious scholarship, pleasant anecdotes, and witty, perceptive observation. He also wrote, early in his career, The Complete Guide to Harp Glissandi, which was a study analyzing all 2,187 possible pedal settings.
The Marson archive includes musical manuscripts, concert programs, press clippings, and extensive correspondence. In addition to his personal papers, Marson donated his private collection of scores and sound recordings of harp music totaling more than 1,000 items.
April 12, 2011 by David Day
One of the most extensive archives housed in Music Special Collections is the Crawford Gates papers, an depository that includes manuscript scores, sound recordings, correspondence and other memorabilia.
Crawford Gates is recognized nationally both as a conductor and composer. His music is well known and loved in the LDS community. He is perhaps best known for the music to the Hill Comorah Pageant, Promised Valley and the hymns Our Savior’s Love and Ring out Wild Bells. Born in December 1921, Gates grew up in Palo Alto California and was influenced the rich cultural offerings of the Bay Area. At the age of eight he composed his first piece. He remains active as a composer and his works now number over 800.
A portion of the archive is related to the time when Gates served as Chairman of the Department of Music at Brigham Young University.
April 7, 2011 by David Day
This collection holds more than 420 separately published song sheets with songs dating from 1700 through 1820 which spans from the end of the reign of William III through the reigns of Queen Anne and Kings George I, George II, and George III. Many of the songs correspond to performances in theatres and opera houses. The collection is useful for research related to the history of song, singing, and singers. It is pertinent not only to music, music printing, and theatre, but also to the disciplines of literature, language, history, social history, contemporary taste, bibliography, and paper studies. The majority of the music was published in London, while some was printed in Dublin, Glasglow, and Edinburgh.
The scope of music covers all genres and types. The songs for the theatre are mostly for Drury Lane and Covent Gardens, but also for Lincoln’s Inn Theatre and the King’s Theatre. There are songs published for societies, including the Anacreontic Society, the ‘Je ne scai quoi Club,’ and the Beefsteak Club. The songs include works by Purcell, Weldon, Carey, Leveridge, Handel, Courteville, Gluck, Eccles, Abbington, Boyce, and numerous others.
This collection is distinctive for several reasons. Many of the songs are notably rare with only one or two other known copies worldwide. The collection also gives information on numerous singers, including the types and ranges of their voices and the style of their singing. A wide cross-section of eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century English, Scottish, and Irish poetry and verse is represented in the texts.
(Text adapted from dealer’s description. Collection acquired through Lisa Cox.)
March 6, 2011 by David Day
Music Special Collections recently acquired a selection of 29 scores illustrating the history and characteristics of the lithography printing process as applied to music. Lithography was popular in the late 18th and early 19th centuries because it provided a greater accuracy in printing musical texts along with larger, quicker print runs. This new acquisition spans the history of the method introduced by Johann Alois Senefelder (1771-1834). The exact date of his invention is still under debate, but there is a recorded Senefelder printing of Lieder by Franz Gleissner in 1796. The collection represents the earliest publishing in which Senefelder was involved, as well as early Paris lithographic imprints and printings by Munich music publisher Falter that date back to the earliest examples from Germany. It also features an unusual example of lithography that was published in 1829 using both black and red ink.
MOZART, Wolfgang Amadeus
Partitur der W.A. Mozart’schen Ouverture zu seiner Oper Die Zauberflöte, in genauer Übereinstimmung mit dem Manuscript des Komponisten, so wie er solches entworfen instrumentirt und beendet hat, herausgegeben und mit einem Vorbericht begleitet von A. André. Original Ausgabe. [Full score]. Offenbach, J. André, . 3ff., 28 +2pp., lithographed oblong folio, p.n.5200.
Not listed in Michael Twyman’s Early Lithographed Music (London, 1996).
A significant lithographed publication printed in red and black. André in his preface explains that Mozart’s manuscript shows that he composed it in two stages – first the string parts (here printed in black) – and secondly the complete orchestration (here printed in red). He also indicates and prints in the score Mozart’s crossings out of complete bars and other smaller details.
Six Themes avec Variations Pour la Guitarre… Oeuv.12. Leipsic, Fr. Hofmeister, [ca. 1805]. 11pp., lithographed folio, p.n.425.
Not listed in Michael Twyman’s Early Lithographed Music (London, 1996)
Sonate tres facile a quatre Mains pour le Pianoforte… Vienne, Magasin de l’imprimerie chimique I.R. priv., [ca. 1807 or 8]. 15pp., lithographed oblong folio, p.n.679.
Twyman’s p.224 No.9, recording a different issue to the present example. Our copy is without mention of the opus number, and the title page is laid out differently.
Trois Quatuors pour deux Violons, Alto et Violoncelle… Oeuvre 16. [Parts.] Offenbach, Jean André, . 19, 15, 15, 15pp., lithographed folio, p.n.2327.
Not listed in Michael Twyman’s Early Lithographed Music (London, 1996).
January 14, 2011 by Cory Nimer
Music Special Collections include rare editions, manuscript scores, and music archives. Strengths are focused in harp music, viola music, popular American music of the twentieth century, opera, ballet and other dance music, early sheet music, hymnals, French chansons, and historical methods and treatises. Some of the most important larger manuscript collections and archives include: the Primrose International Viola Archive, International Harp Archives, Capitol Records Archive, Percy Faith Orchestrations, RKO Vaudeville Collection, Bonime Collection of Radio Music, the Brunning and Early Sheet Music Collections, Gina Bachauer Archive, Bachauer Piano Foundation Archive, George Verdak Collection of Dance Music, Thurston Collection of Rare Music and Autographs, Paisiello Opera Manuscripts, and numerous archives of individual LDS musicians.
The Music Recordings Archive includes historical audio formats from all time periods and geographical origins including: cylinders, Edison Diamond Discs, 78 rpm discs, LP discs, wire recordings, reel-to-reel tapes, cassette tapes, DAT, compact discs, DVD-A discs, etc. Content in the Music Recordings Archive is mostly limited to musical performances but includes all kinds of music from around the world.