Tag: manuscripts (page 1 of 8)

Uqbāl mīt Sanah, Aziz El-Shawan

Aziz El-Shawan (1916-1993) was twentieth-century Egypt’s most prominent composer. His collection of manuscript scores, including finished works, sketches and miscellaneous other materials — is held here at Harvard’s Loeb Music Library, and we are excited to announce that the Aziz El-Shawan Collection of Manuscript Scores is now fully processed, with nearly all of its contents digitized and freely available online.

In this half-body photographic portrait, the composer Aziz El-Shawan is depicted wearing a three-piece dark suit and looking into the distance.

Portrait of Aziz El-Shawan. From the private collection of Salwa El-Shawan Castelo-Branco.

After Egypt’s Soviet Cultural Center was founded in 1952, El-Shawan served as its director for fifteen years, which afforded him opportunities to travel to Moscow, where he befriended and eventually studied with renowned Soviet composer Aram Khachaturian, whose influence on the development of El-Shawan’s composition style was profound.

El-Shawan was a prolific composer of songs, symphonies, symphonic poems, ballets, choral works, cantatas, operas, concertos, suites, and chamber music. He considered Western tonal music to be an “international musical language” and created a new musical idiom in which he wrote for both Western and Egyptian instruments.

His best-known work, Anās El-Wugūd, was the first Egyptian opera with Arabic language and content to reach the stage. It was first performed in Cairo in 1996.

Several people in colorful traditional Egyptian costumes stand on a short flight of steps.

A scene from the 1996 premiere of Anās El-Wugūd at the Cairo Opera House. From the private collection of Salwa El-Shawan Castelo-Branco.

From our collection, here are select pages of his manuscripts of the opera’s full score and vocal score.

Pages 18-19 of the orchestral score of Aziz El-Shawan's opera Anās El-Wugūd, written by the composer himself. Several lines of music spread across a tall sheets of ruled staff paper, with orchestral number 7 at the top of page 19 in red ink.

Anās El-Wugūd (full score). Aziz El-Shawan Collection of Manuscript Scores. Ms. Coll. 155, Box 5.

 

Pages 205-206 of the vocal score of Aziz El-Shawan's opera Anās El-Wugūd, copied by the composer himself. Several systems of music spread across a tall sheets of ruled staff paper, with Arabic text underlay and annotations.

Anās El-Wugūd (vocal score). Aziz El-Shawan Collection of Manuscript Scores. Ms. Coll. 155, Box 7.

Our finding aid for the Aziz El-Shawan Collection of Manuscript Scores contains information about each piece, along with links to electronic copies of all the pieces we have digitized.

And in honor of May 6th being the 104th anniversary of El-Shawan’s birth date, here from our collection is a birthday song that he composed (with lyrics by Nabilah Qandil), titled Uqbāl mīt Sanah.

The three-page autograph manuscript score of Aziz El-Shawan’s song Uqbāl mīt Sanah (Happy Birthday to You). Apart from the English translation on the title page, the score text is in Arabic.

Uqbāl mīt Sanah (Happy Birthday to You). Aziz El-Shawan Collection of Manuscript Scores. Ms. Coll. 155, Box 6.

This post was written by Josh Kantor, Assistant Keeper of the Isham Memorial Library. The Aziz El-Shawan Collection is available to view online. Interested researchers may view the rest of the collection by appointment. When the Harvard library buildings re-open, click View in Library in the HOLLIS record for the Aziz El-Shawan Collection of Manuscript Scores and tell us when you would like to visit.

Happy 125th Birthday, Lili Boulanger!

In celebration of Lili Boulanger’s 125th birthday on August 21st we are sharing an arrangement of her work Cortège held in the Merritt Room of the Isham Memorial Library. Lili wrote this piece for piano while at the Villa Medici in Rome as the first female winner of the Prix de Rome in June of 1914. It was published for violin or flute and piano in 1919 by Ricordi with a dedication to violinist Yvonne Astruc. The manuscript is held at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France in Paris (BN Ms.19439 and Ms.19440), along with a transcription in Nadia’s Boulanger’s hand.

The arrangement was by Nadia, her sister, for solo violin and 18 other musicians: flute, harp, celesta, triangle, violin I (5), violin II (3), viola (2), cello (2), contrabass (2).

Manuscript, page one of Cortege.

Merritt Mus 631.856.200

While some of the writing was determined to be by Nadia Boulanger, a portion was also completed by a copyist. Notice the variations in handwriting on these instrumental parts.

Example of handwriting, 1st violin part.

Merritt Mus 631.856.200

Example of handwriting, contrabass part.

Merritt Mus 631.856.200

Example of handwriting, 2nd violin part.

Merritt Mus 631.856.200

While the date is unknown, visit our catalog record for more information.

Additional information about Cortège and Lili and Nadia’s works and relationship can be found in:

Potter, Caroline. Nadia and Lili Boulanger. Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2006.

 

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