Tag: scores (page 1 of 25)

The secret garden of Pierre Bergé

The Loeb Music Library has just acquired three items previously owned by the French industrialist, arts patron and AIDS activist Pierre Bergé (1930-2017). A co-founder of the fashion house Yves Saint Laurent, Bergé cultivated a “jardin secret” all his life, accumulating important rare books and scores as well as Impressionist paintings, Old Master drawings and decorative ceramics.

There is a very rare first issue of the first edition of Mozart’s six Opus 3 trio sonatas, published in 1764. These were “Printed for the author and sold at his lodgings,” the house in Soho where eight-year-old Wolfgang Mozart, his sister Nannerl and their father Leopold resided during the London period of their  European tour.

The title page of a newly acquired Mozart score.

Merritt Mus 745.1.383.1

Bound in are several items accumulated by owners prior to Bergé, including a note detailing the purchase history by the original owner, Thomas Jones (“It was of the little musician himself I purchased this book”), several newspaper items, and a portrait of the Mozart family.

This note was pasted into the score by its first owner, Thomas Jones.

Merritt Mus 745.1.383.1

A newspaper clipping tells of a concert and an open house by eight-year-old Mozart.

Merritt Mus 745.1.383.1

Mozart family portrait, pasted to a blank page preceding the score.

Merritt Mus 745.1.383.1

This item was acquired by the Schafer Mozart Book Fund. Images of the entire score will soon be available online.

And there are two collections of early trio sonatas by Arcangelo Corelli, printed in Bologna in 1688 and in Venice in 1691.

The title page of a 1691 collection of trio sonatas by Arcangelo Corelli, published in Venice by Giuseppe Sala.

Merritt Mus 640.2.383.15

Two collections of late-seventeenth-century trio sonatas by Corelli, bound by the Paris firm Boichot.

Merritt Mus 640.2.383.15 and Merritt Mus 640.2.373.5

Like the rest of Pierre Bergé’s library, all three of these scores are exquisitely housed. The Mozart sonatas were bound in rich green morocco leather with gilt edges by the Victorian bookbinding company Blunson & Company, of whose work Harvard Library possesses two other equally magnificent examples. The Corelli scores were recently given pale lilac portfolios which slide into matching slipcases, an enclosure designed by Atelier de Libraire, a family firm in Paris. And all three of these items contain Bergé’s simple, elegant bookplate.

The bookplate of industrialist and collector Pierre Bergé.

Merritt Mus 745.1.383.1

Merritt Room collections are available for use on site by anyone with a Special Collections Request Account. Please place your request by clicking “Request Item” in HOLLIS+, then wait to hear from Isham Memorial Library staff before planning your visit.

 

“Sweetly ululate”: the Lou Harrison collection

The coincidence of the anniversary, in June, of the events leading to the gay liberation movement in the United States, and the centennial of the birth of the composer, activist and gay icon Lou Harrison, in 2017, affords us the opportunity to highlight some important Harrison materials at the Loeb Music Library.

Lou Harrison was born in Portland, Oregon in 1917. His family moved to northern California in 1926 and most of Harrison’s career would be spend there, studying with Henry Cowell at San Francisco State College and with Arnold Schoenberg at UCLA, and teaching at Mills College, UCLA and other institutions. Travels in Asia and study of Asian instruments (Korean double-reed p’iri, Chinese psaltery, Indonesian gamelan) inspired a compositional style which incorporated Asian and Western styles and instruments. Harrison’s contributions to gay culture include several works for gay choruses, the best known of which is Three Songs, commissioned by the Portland Gay Men’s Chorus in 1985. Another commission from the same group in 1988 was a reworking of Harrison’s opera Young Caesar, to which he added several choruses.

The Music Library’s collection of Lou Harrison materials covers the years 1945 to 1991, with most items dating from the 1970s and 1980s. There are musical manuscripts and drafts, poems and drawings, and correspondence with Virgil Thomson and Alan Hovhaness.

There are several drafts of the Young Caesar revision.

A draft of Scene 4 of Young Caesar, Lou Harrison's opera adapted for the Portland Gay Men's Chorus.

Ms. Coll. 132, Merritt Room

And many items in the collection show Harrison’s distinctive music and text handwriting. This draft of the Introitus from the Mass for St. Cecilia’s Day, for example, includes three unrelated poems: “The Lady Tamma lived in Palmyra”, “Rain in New Zealand, ” “Love is made of lust.”

This draft, for the Introitus of Lou Harrison's Mass for St. Cecilia, also includes three poems and some notes, all in Harrison's distinctive hand.

Ms. Coll. 132, Merritt Room

Links to this archival collection and to other collections of Lou Harrison materials may be found in his Wikipedia article, here. We regularly add links to Isham’s archival collections in Wikipedia, and hope you will feel free to add links yourself or to suggest that we do so, so that others may easily discover Isham’s collections. 

Isham Memorial Library is the special collections unit within the Loeb Music Library. Many of its materials are in open stacks, with rare and unique items held in the locked Merritt Room. To view Merritt Room materials, use your Special Collections Request Account. As Isham is not always fully staffed it is advisable to wait for a confirmation message from a staff member before you plan your visit.

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