Portrait of Chubby Jackson, Esquire Club, Valley Stream, Long Island, N.Y., ca. Apr. 1947. Photograph by William P. Gottlieb.
In the Muse recently put out a call to Music Division staff in search of ghost stories, and while nobody would tell me outright that they felt an unexplained cold spot on the Coolidge Auditorium stage, or that sounds of the Stradivarius would emerge mysteriously from an empty hall, the age and history of this institution, particularly the Jefferson Building, can fire the imagination in ways beyond the academic. The Library of Congress does not keep an official count of their spectral visitors, but Natalie Zanin, a Washington-area native who runs a number of local ghost tours, has suggested to me that spirits haunt the stacks and walk the dim tunnels that connect the Library campus to the Capitol and environs. She also points out that the Jefferson Building was constructed on what was once known as Carroll Row, whose nineteenth-century structures housed at various points in their history, a hotel and a prison — venue types that are notorious among aficionados of the paranormal.
The Coolidge Auditorium, whose founder celebrates a birthday today, has hosted a number of ghostly concerts over the years, but we were fortunate that the programs featured living musicians, like the Anthony Braxton ensemble’s 1998 premiere of “Ghost Trance Duo for Violin and Piano ” and the Florestan Trio’s 2008 performance of Beethoven’s Piano Trio in D Major, op. 70, no. 1 – known as the “Ghost Trio” for a theme originally intended for an opera based on Shakespeare’s Macbeth.
Have a spooky and safe Halloween!
Does the name “Coolidge” sound familiar? If you’re a regular LC concert goer, or have taken a tour of the Jefferson Building, then you know about the Library’s Coolidge Auditorium. Were you to assume that this venue was funded by or named for President Calvin Coolidge, you would be wrong! Our famous auditorium was constructed […]
The following is the second part of a two-part guest post by Kevin Lavine, Senior Music Specialist. The vampire made its musical début on this side of the Atlantic in a slight piece for piano solo titled “Vampire Polka” (Boston, 1850), of unknown authorship (its composer is identified as “Four Eyes”), a work undoubtedly intended for performance […]
Many virtual servings of cake and ice cream are on hand this week in the Music Division, as we celebrate the birth dates of a veritable constellation of stars in the musical firmament. These October children grew to be the august personages who populate the Performing Arts Encyclopedia with dulcet tones – or, in some […]
The following is a part one of a guest post by Kevin LaVine, Senior Music Specialist. If you’ve ever sat around a campfire, listening intently to a ghost story almost against your will; or have peered through half-closed eyes, with fascination and horror, at a slasher film; or have simply heard inexplicable bumps in the […]
Tickets are now available for two concerts that demonstrate the eclectic range of the Music Division’s programming. Friday, December 3, 2010 @8:00 pm On LOCation Lionel Loueke Trio West African harmonies and jazz rhythms are seamlessly blended by guitarist/singer/composer Lionel Loueke with Massimo Biolcati on bass and Ferenc Nemeth on drums. Visit his web site to […]
With the fantastic rescue of thirty-three Chilean miners, the whole world can breathe a sigh of relief. But none can be more relieved than the miners, emerging into the sunshine again after seventy days trapped underground. Chilean president Sebastian Pinera sang their national anthem with Luis Urzua, the last of the miners rescued. Celebrate their return […]
In the Muse has been known to make unlikely connections along the musical spectrum, from Lawrence Welk to the Velvet Underground, from Paul Williams to DJ Shadow. And if you have a second, we’ll explain how the disco-era novelty singles of Rick Dees, (the bell-bottomed Jekyll and Hyde of “Disco Duck;” “Bigfoot,” which imagines that the […]
The thirteenth of October may fill the superstitious with dread, but today we celebrate the birthdays of three great musicians whose work fills the Music Division’s precious vaults. Celebrate gospel singer Shirley Caeasar (born October 13, 1938) with a medley including “You’re Next in Line,” an excerpt from Gospel: A Joyful Sound, a concert Caesar and her […]
It’s that time again – today another 100 photographs have been uploaded to the Gottlieb Jazz Photos Set on Flickr! The set is comprised of uncropped images from the William P. Gottlieb Collection, all of which depict the Jazz scene in New York City and Washington, DC between 1938 and 1948. We keep adding more […]