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12. Music

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222.  René Descartes (1596-1650).  Renati Des-Cartes Musicae compendium. Utrecht: Gesberti a Zÿll, & Theodori ab Ackersdÿck, 1650. Gabe M. Wiener Music & Arts Library

The Compendium is both a treatise on music and a study in methodology. In it Descartes shows himself to be a link between the musical humanists of the 16th century-he was influenced particularly by Zarlino, whom he cited-and the scientists of the 17th. The work is noteworthy as an early experiment in the application of an empirical, deductive, scientific approach to the study of sensory perception and as being among the earliest attempts to define the dual relationship between the physical and psychological phenomena in music.

Descartes divided music into three basic component parts, each of which can be isolated for study: the mathematical-physical aspect of sound, the nature of sensory perception and the ultimate effect of such perception on the individual listener. He considered the first of these to lend itself to pure scientific investigation, since it is independent of personal interpretation. He characterized the process of sensory perception as being autonomous, self-regulating and measurable. This is the realm where practical aspects of music are dealt with (e.g. rules for counterpoint) and to which the great bulk of the Compendium is devoted. To Descartes the impact of sound on a listener's emotions or ‘soul’ is a subjective, irrational element and therefore incapable of being scientifically measured. He described it as a psychological-physiological phenomenon that clearly belongs to the areas of aesthetics and metaphysics, of which he was to develop the principles later in his philosophical writings. The distinction he made in the Compendium, between sound as a physical phenomenon and sound as understood by the human conscience, permitted him to pass from a rationalist concept of aesthetics to a sensualist one in his later work. This concept was influential in the development of a philosophy for the affections in music in late 17th-century Germany, especially through his treatise Les Passions de l'âme (Amsterdam, 1649).

Purchase, 1901




223.  Henry Purcell (1659-1695).  Orpheus Britannicus. A collection of all the choicest songs...The Second Book, which renders the First Compleat. London: William Pearson for Henry Playford, 1702. Gabe M. Wiener Music & Arts Library

Henry Purcell was one of the greatest English composers, flourishing in the period that followed the Restoration of the monarchy after the Puritan Commonwealth period. Purcell spent much of his short life in the service of the Chapel Royal as a composer, organist and singer. With considerable gifts as a composer, he wrote extensively for the stage, particularly in a hybrid musico-dramatic form of the time, for the church and for popular entertainment, a master of English word-setting and of contemporary compositional techniques for instruments and voices. He died in 1695, a year after composing funeral music for Queen Mary.

Purcell wrote only one full opera, Dido and Aeneas, with a libretto by Nahum Tate. He provided a number of verse anthems and full anthems for the liturgy of the Church of England, as well as settings of the Morning and Evening Service, the Magnificat and Nunc dimittis, Te Deum and Jubilate. Purcell's secular vocal music includes a number of Odes for the feast of St. Cecilia, patron saint of music and a number of Welcome Songs and other celebrations of royal occasions. He wrote a considerable quantity of solo songs, in addition to the songs included in his work for the theater.

Gift of Mrs. Elaine Schenker, 1960




224.  The Beggar's Opera. Playing Cards. England, ca. 1730. RBML, Albert Field Collection of Playing Cards

The Field Collection, one of the most comprehensive collections of playing cards in the world, consists of close to 6,000 packs. Included in the collection are tarot packs; miniature packs; packs depicting generals, presidents, and sports figures; and transformation packs, where suit signs change into human heads, butterflies, bees, birds, or fish. The collection also contains depictions of historic events, representing changes in social customs, political context, and design. A sequence of packs from early 20th-century Russia, for example, shows increasingly vicious images of the imperial court. The deck of cards shown here contains the words and music for the songs in John Gay's The Beggar's Opera, first performed in London on January 29, 1728.

Albert Field, who performed as a magician during his early years, incorporated card tricks into his magic acts, and collected cards from the countries he toured. Field received a B.A. in English Literature from Columbia University, and an M.A. from Harvard, and then taught English and science in New York City high schools. Field met Salvador Dali in the early 1940s, and was chosen by the artist to be his official archivist in 1955. Field proceeded to catalogue thousands of Dali works and fakes, eventually becoming the foremost authority in the field.

Bequest of Albert Field, 2003




225.  Leonard Euler (1707-1783).  Tentamen novae theoriae musicae. St. Petersburg: Typographia Academiae Scientiarum, 1739. Gabe M. Wiener Music & Arts Library

Swiss mathematician and scientist Leonard Euler's residency in Russia coincided with the grand cultural vision of Catherine the Great and her determination to Europeanize Russia. Under Catherine's patronage science, the arts and trade flourished. Catherine is credited with luring Euler back to St. Petersburg during the Enlightenment. He was one of the first mathematicians to apply calculus to physics, and is considered to be one of the most prolific mathematicians of all time. He was the perfector of integral calculus, the inventor of calculus using sines, and is particularly renowned for his study of motion.

Euler presented a developed theory of consonance, based upon an explicit, mathematical rule for determining the ‘simplicity' of a set of frequencies such as those making up a chord. He derived his rule from ideas of the ancients, Ptolemy in particular. It could not take account of difference tones and summation tones, for they had not yet been reported, but it permitted Euler to determine by routine calculations the most complete systems of scales or modes ever published. The last chapter of this work sketches a theory of modulation. Euler thus began to construct a mathematical theory of the consonance of a progression of chords.

From Dr. Anderson's Collection, Given by the Alumni




226.  Vesperal. Manuscript on paper. Austro-Hungarian Empire, 1766. Gabe M. Wiener Music & Arts Library

Three slim volumes, of an original four, contain the musical compositions for the Divine Office at vespers; the music was so well known that only its opening bars were recorded, since the short cue would be sufficient to the singers. It is possible that this vesperal was produced for use in a church of the Theatine order: their founder, St. Cajetan, is honored here with arrangements for his feast (7 August). The only other unusual saint so fêted is St. Leopold (15 November), who was Markgrave of Austria in the 15th century. Austrian ownership is proven by the elaborate achievement of arms on folio 2 in each of the three volumes: the double-headed displayed eagle, wearing the collar of the Order of the Golden Fleece, grasping the two swords and orb in his claws, carries emblazoned on his chest the twenty-two coats of arms of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. On the same leaf is the signature of one Johann Hermann, qualifying himself as "Music." (for "musicista"?), and the date, 1766. It would have been a worthy accomplishment to have copied out by hand all of these texts and music, and to have done so with such consistent elegance.

Gift of John and Johanna Bass, 1962




227.  Whittier Perkins' Yankee Doodle: A Collection of Dancing Tunes, Marches & Song Tunes, ca. 1778-1788. Manuscript, 36 leaves. RBML

Known as the "Whittier Perkins" manuscript because of the ownership inscription, this volume, in a contemporary leather binding, contains more than two hundred tunes from the American Revolutionary War era, scored for melodic instrument. Many of the melodies are of English origin, but the spirit of the times is reflected in the titles given to the tunes, such as "The Free Born Americans" and "Washinton's [sic] Health." The most famous piece in the collection is "Yankey doodle," which appears here in its earliest known American form. In addition, the manuscript contains such well-known songs as "The 12 days of Christmas" and "Greensleeves."

Gift of Robert Gorham Davis, 1965




228.  Joseph Mazzinghi (1765-1844).  Chains of the Heart, or the Slave by Choice. A Comic Opera. London: Goulding Phipps & D'Almaine, 1801. Gabe M. Wiener Music & Arts Library

An English composer of Corsican origin, Mazzinghi was the eldest son of Tommaso Mazzinghi, a London wine merchant and violinist. Apparently at the instigation of both his father and aunt, Mazzinghi commenced lessons with J. C. Bach. He was appointed organist at the Portuguese Chapel in 1775 when only ten years old. He later studied with Sacchini, Anfossi and possibly Bertolini. In 1779 Mazzinghi was apprenticed as copyist and musical assistant to Leopoldo De Michele, chief music copyist at the King's Theatre. Five years later he advanced to the position of harpsichordist and was then engaged as house composer to the King's Theatre (1786-1789). In this position he provided ballet music, directed operas and was responsible for arranging pasticcios. Mazzinghi was a prolific composer for the ballet, having written some two dozen works for the King's Theatre and Pantheon.

Mazzinghi was required to arrange existing music for the ballet as well as compose new works. Among Mazzinghi's more successful ballets were those he composed for Noverre during the period 1787-1789. Paul et Virginie was among the more popular ballets after Noverre's departure for France in 1789. Mazzinghi joined the Royal Society of Musicians on 3 June 1787. He may have had a financial interest in the music publishing firm of Goulding, who published most of his music from about 1792. Mazzinghi died on a visit to his son at Downside College, and was buried in the vault of Chelsea Catholic Chapel on 25 January 1844.




229.  Joseph Haydn (1732-1809).  [Gebote Gottes den Herm] Die X Gebothe Gottes, in Musik gesetzt als Canons von Joseph Hayden (Eigenthum der herausgeber) [The Ten Commandments]. Vienna: Artaria & Comp. [1810?] Gabe M. Wiener Music & Arts Library

Joseph Haydn was born in 1832 the son of a wheelwright. Throughout his career he composed for his patron, Prince Nikolaus Esterhazy. During this period, Haydn was the director of an ensemble of about twenty musicians, with responsibility for the music and the instruments. Even if his music was not as emotionally intense and radical as that of Beethoven (who was his pupil at one point), or as profound and probing as Mozart's (who was his good friend), Haydn's music shows a very solid structure that was an important part of the Classical Era.

In Haydn's sacred vocal music the aesthetics of through-composition is a matter not only of cyclic integration, but of doctrine and devotion. Many of these works are organized around the conceptual image of salvation, at once personal and communal, achieved at or near the end: a musical realization of the desire for a state of grace. At the time of his death, Haydn was mourned as one of the musical giants of his time. His long career enabled him to produce a vast quantity of works that defined the Viennese Classical style.

Gift of John and Johanna Bass, 1962




230.  Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827).  Wellingtons-Sieg, oder: Die Schlacht bey Vittoria. In Musik gesetzt ... 91tes Werk. Vienna: S. A. Steiner & Comp., 1816. Gabe M. Wiener Music & Arts Library, Deposit to RBML, Anton Seidl Papers

This first printing of Beethoven's Wellington's Victory, Opus 91, the "Battle Symphony," was owned by conductor Anton Seidl. Seidl came to prominence as Wagner's principal assistant at the first Beyreuth festival in 1876, and he became a member of the Wagner household. After conducting in Europe, Seidl was invited to conduct German opera at the Metropolitan Opera House. He made his debut on November 23, 1885, conducting Lohengrin. When German opera at the Met was dropped in 1891, he became the conductor of the Philharmonic Society of New York, returning to the Met in 1897. During this time he became a naturalized American citizen, dying suddenly of ptomaine poisoning at the height of his career in 1898.

Gift of the Friends of Anton Seidl, 1905




231.  Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827).  Notes on Mozart's Requiem and sketch for Missa Solemnis. Autograph manuscript, n.d. RBML

This working sheet contains Beethoven's analysis of the Kyrie fugue from Mozart's Requiem on one side and a sketch for his Missa Solemnis on the other. Beethoven invented special symbols for Mozart's use of double counterpoint and compound 4/4 meter, and made frequent use of this meter in his late fugues, especially the Gloria fugue in the Missa Solemnis.

Gift of Roberta M. Welch, 1953




232.  Anton Bruckner (1824-1896).  Symphony IV, (Romantic). Manuscript, with title page and many corrections in the composer's hand, 121 leaves, [1878] Gabe M. Wiener Music & Arts Library, Deposit to RBML

One of the most innovative figures of the second half of the 19th century, Bruckner is remembered primarily for his symphonies and sacred compositions. His music is rooted in the formal traditions of Beethoven and Schubert and inflected with Wagnerian harmony and orchestration. Until late in his career his reputation rested mainly on his improvisatory skills at the organ. The Fourth Symphony, like the Third, exists in three distinct versions. The first was completed in November 1874 (ed. Nowak, 1974).

In this revision of 1878, Bruckner ‘tightened up' the first two movements, revised the finale and replaced the original scherzo with a new movement. In 1880 Bruckner substantially recomposed the finale. The work, comprising the first three movements of 1878 and the finale of 1880, was given its first performance by the Vienna Philharmonic, conducted by Hans Richter, on February 20, 1881. After this performance, Bruckner unsuccessfully attempted to get the symphony published. In undertaking the third and final revision, Bruckner was assisted by Ferdinand Löwe and probably by the Schalk brothers.






233a.  Edward Alexander MacDowell (1860-1908).  Indian Suite, [Suite No. 2, Op. 48]. Autograph manuscript. Boston, ca. 1889-1897. RBML, Edward MacDowell Papers

233b.  Columbia University.  Silver cup presented to MacDowell by Columbia students, 1904. RBML, Edward MacDowell Papers

A Columbia University committee, after hearing a performance of McDowell's Indian Suite by the Boston Symphony Orchestra on January 23, 1896, decided to recommend MacDowell as the university's first professor of music. The cup is engraved with the names of his students and inscribed, "with the high esteem and affection of his classes at Columbia University."

(Manuscript) Gift of the Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust, 1969 ; (Cup) Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Robert E. Evans, 1972




234.  Gustav Holst (1874-1934).  Egdon Heath. Autograph manuscript, August, 1927. Gabe M. Wiener Music & Arts Library, Deposit to RBML

The music of "Egdon Heath," inspired by Thomas Hardy's The Return of the Native, is elusive and unpredictable. Its three main elements are set out at the beginning-a pulseless wandering melody, first for double basses and then all the strings, a sad brass processional and restless music for strings and oboe. All three intertwine and transmute, eventually coming to rest with music of desolation, out of which emerges a ghostly dance, the strangest moment in a strange work. After this comes a resolution of sorts, and the ending, though hardly conclusive, gives the impression of an immense journey achieved, even though "Egdon Heath" lasts no more than 12 minutes.




235.  Béla Bartók (1881-1945).  Rumanian Folk Music. Autograph manuscript, ca. 1942. RBML, Béla Bartók Papers

Central to Béla Bartók's work as a composer was his work as an ethno-musicologist. With fellow Hungarian composer, Zoltán Kodály, he travelled throughout Eastern Europe and Turkey collecting folk music prior to the devastations of World Wars I and II. Alarmed by the spread of fascism, Bartók emigrated to the United States in 1940. On his arrival, he was commissioned by Columbia to transcribe a large collection of Yugoslav folk music, and was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University that year. He prepared the manuscripts of his work on Rumanian and Turkish folk music for publication, but was unable to find a publisher. He then donated the material to Columbia along with his tabulation of Serbo-Croatian folk music, held in the Parry Collection at Harvard, that had been published. By 1943 his health was failing and he died from leukemia in New York in 1945. His Rumanian and Turkish manuscripts were later published by his estate.

Gift of Béla Bartók, 1943 and 1944; transferred to RBML from Central Files, 1981




236.  Boris Artzybasheff (1899-1965).  Marian Anderson. Painting in tempera and pencil for the cover of Time, December 30, 1946. RBML, Art Collection

During the 1930s, Arturo Toscanini had told the American contralto Marian Anderson, "A voice like yours comes but once in a century." In 1941, when she booked Constitution Hall in Washington, D. C. for a concert, her booking was cancelled by the Daughters of the American Revolution, the owners of the hall. Walter White of the NAACP told Eleanor Roosevelt what had happened, suggesting that the concert could be held out of doors on government property. Mrs. Roosevelt called Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes, and the concert was held on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial before a crowd of 75,000. Despite this triumph, Marian Anderson did not make her Metropolitan Opera debut until 1955, when she was fifty-three, becoming the first African American to sing at the Met.

Bequest of Boris Artzybasheff, 1965




237.  Douglas Moore (1893-1969).  "Augusta's Aria," from The Ballad of Baby Doe. Autograph manuscript, ink and pencil, ca. 1956. RBML, Douglas Moore Papers

The Ballad of Baby Doe was commissioned by the Koussevitsky Foundation of the Library of Congress for the 200th anniversary of Columbia University. Completed in 1956, it has become one of the most popular American operas of the modern day. The story is a mixture of romance and frontier rowdiness, a tale of wealth turned into poverty by the change of the silver standard during the William Jennings Bryan era.

Douglas Moore was educated at the Hotchkiss School and Yale University (BA 1915, BM 1917), where he studied composition with Horatio Parker. He began to write songs for social events, developing a gift for writing melodies in a popular style. This skill was reinforced by further songwriting during his World War I service in the US Navy (from 1917); the resulting collection, Songs My Mother Never Taught Me (1921), co-authored with folk-singer John Jacob Niles, brought Moore his first public recognition.

In 1926 Moore was appointed to the faculty of Columbia University, where he became chair of the music department in 1940, remaining in that post until his retirement in 1962. He gradually became one of the most influential figures in American music, both as a teacher and as a director or board member of many organizations, including ASCAP and the National Institute and American Academy of Arts and Letters. Moore's papers include his professional and personal correspondence, original scores and sketches, and production notes, libretti and data concerning his major works.

Gift of Mrs. Douglas Moore & Family, 1971 and 1973; and on-going gifts of Mary Moore Kelleher & Sarah Moore


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