Tag: vocal music (page 1 of 6)

“Snowflakes” by Mary Mapes Dodge (not Anonymous)

It’s the season for snow in New England and there is no better time to highlight another new acquisition – a lighthearted song about snowflakes. “Whene’er a Snowflake Leaves the Sky” was composed by Liza Lehmann (1862-1918), a soprano and composer, mostly of vocal works, including many for children. She was the first president of the Society of Women Musicians.

Sheet music cover attributing the words to anonymous.

Lehmann, Liza, and Mary Mapes Dodge. 1918. Whene’er a Snowflake Leaves the Sky: Song. London: J.B. Cramer & Co. Ltd. Merritt Room Mus 735.6.713

The piece, also known as the “Snowflakes Song”, was included in a publication Three Snow Songs in 1914, with music and lyrics credited to Lehmann as indicated in the Catalog of Copyright Entries: Musical Compositions. Part 3. The Harvard Library copy was published in 1918, with the music attributed to Liza Lehmann; however, the lyrics are attributed to Anonymous. The lyrics are not unknown as this printing suggests, and as such the rest of this post will be dedicated to recognizing the poem and its author.

Mary Mapes Dodge (1831-1905), in full Mary Elizabeth Mapes Dodge, was an American author of children’s books and first editor of the children’s publication St. Nicholas Magazine.

Cabinet photograph of Mary Mapes Dodge.

Warren, Warren. 1875. Mary Mapes Dodge. Special Collections, Fine Arts Library, Harvard College Library. Object Number 119.1976.5179

The poem features an individual snowflake as it travels bravely from the sky to its landing place until it melts away in warmer weather. For added entertainment, read the poem below while listening to a performance by soprano Gwen Catley.

Snowflakes

Whenever a snowflake leaves the sky

It turns and turns to say “good-bye;”

“Good-bye, dear cloud, so cool and gray!”

Then lightly travels on its way.

And when a snowflake finds a tree,

“Good-day,” it says —“Good-day to thee!

Thou art so bare and lonely, dear,

I’ll rest and call my comrades here.”

But when a snowflake brave and meek,

Lights on a rosy maiden’s cheek,

It starts— “How warm and soft the day!

‘Tis Summer!”— and it melts away.

 

The poem was published in the 1879 book Along the Way, a publication that included poems published for the first time and several that previously appeared in various magazines. “Snowflakes” was again printed in When Life is Young: A Collection of Verse for Boys and Girls in 1894. The poem also appeared in Mary Mapes Dodge’s final published book of poetry, Poems and Verses in 1904, which includes the following author’s note, “This book is, in the main, a republication of a former volume of verse entitled ‘Along the Way’, which is now out of print.”

The popularity of the poem is indicated by its use in other poetry compilations, including American Anthology, 1787-1899: Selections Illustrating the Editor’s Critical Review of American Poetry in the 19th Century and The World’s Best Poetry Volume 5: The Poetry of Nature.

For additional information about Mary Mapes Dodge see Gannon, Susan R., and Ruth Anne Thompson. Mary Mapes Dodge. Twayne, 1992.

Meet the Problem Solvers: Anne Adams, Senior Music Cataloger

Anne Adams is the senior music cataloger at Loeb Music, now in her 6th year here.  She holds advanced degrees in voice performance, music theory, and library science, as well as undergraduate degrees in German and English.  Before becoming a librarian, she taught voice at St. Olaf College, and she continues to work as a freelance translator (German to English). She and her three kids live in Belmont, Mass. 

Senior Music Cataloger Anne Adams is posed with a green-leaved tree behind her. She is wearing a black pantsuit with an I Voted Today sticker on the lapel.

Anne Adams

What does a music cataloger do?

I am responsible for creating or enhancing MARC records for all formats except books and finding aids. That means, basically, that I describe materials so that people can find them. How I do that  depends on what people are looking for. For regular collections I include pretty basic bibliographic information: composer, title, publisher, contents, etc. For rare materials, though, I’ll add much more information, including information on binding, paper type, provenance (who owned it), watermarks, that sort of thing, since many researchers are looking for this information. So description is a large part of what I do, but I also work on a lot of projects like database clean-up and a wide variety of metadata policy. And I communicate with music catalogers around Harvard to make sure we’re all on the same page about changes to the field. 

What’s your favorite thing about the Music Library?

The people. Don’t get me wrong, it’s an amazing collection. It never ceases to amaze me that if I’m looking for information in a resource, I can almost always find it on our shelves. But I think the people are the incredible thing about the Library. I’m always so impressed that people have this deep and varied background in music. We all bring something to the table that is unique and yet we have this shared language, love, and commitment to music. 

Plus, I love all the back doors and secret passageways in the building!

What’s a notable (interesting/challenging/unusual) project that you’ve worked on lately?

In the last year I haven’t had many actual things in my hands which is frustrating. I love to smell and hold and look at rare materials. But I did a big batch project that I designed from start to finish, which was, in a very geeky way, really fun. We had about seven thousand records for recordings that were preliminary: the materials had never been fully cataloged. I figured out how to overlay better records for about 4500 of them. It took me a long time and I had to teach myself several different applications,  like OpenRefine and Microsoft Access, but it was really fun. I likely wouldn’t have had the time to concentrate on this if it hadn’t been for the pandemic. This kind of project really appeals to to the crossword puzzle-solving part of me. 

What resource or service do you wish more people knew about?

The deep deep knowledge that all of the Music Library staff bring to their work. Josh has an amazing knowledge of jazz and popular music. Peter has an amazing love of all different types of music. Lingwei wrote a book about Lei Liang. Sandi-Jo is an amazing cellist. And I could go on… You just keep bumping into people here who have such amazing gifts.

What’s your mundane superpower? 

I make the world’s best cinnamon rolls, so I’m told.

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