The following is a guest post from Senior Music Specialist Kate Rivers:
Steven Stucky’s pencil sketches for The Classical Style: An Opera (of Sorts). The comic work, with libretto by Jeremy Denk, was premiered at the Ojai Music Festival in 2014. Steven Stucky Papers.
November 7 marks the birthday of renowned American composer, educator, conductor, and writer Steven Stucky (1949-2016), who would have turned seventy today. This remarkable Grammy- and Pulitzer-Prize-winning composer was a valued, long-time friend of the Music Division, and we are honored that he chose the Library of Congress as the permanent home for his music manuscripts and papers.
Always generous with his time and talents, Steve worked with the Music Division on committees and projects through the years, but he rarely took time away from business assignments to browse materials in our collections. On his most recent visit to the Library, we were determined to show Steve a few unexpected items that we hoped would remind him of the breadth and depth of our collections—and perhaps would entice him to come back and linger on a future trip to Washington. On a whim, the first box we pulled was from our Oscar Hammerstein II Collection, one filled with pencil-sketched words to be sung in Maine accents, clipped newspaper recipes for cooking lobster, and information about the mill industry in New England—all kept in Hammerstein’s quirky background ‘research’ files used in the creation of the great show Carousel. Steve was naturally a quiet fellow, but he became utterly silent as he examined the folders. His reaction caused us to think that we totally failed, having missed the mark with this odd box of papers. But it turns out that he was stunned at the sights before him. Steve reported that Carousel was the first stage performance he remembered from his mid-west childhood, a recurring staple from a summer touring production. It was his mother’s favorite show, and their ritual attendance on multiple evenings each season played a big part in Steve’s musical ‘muscle memory.’ He loved seeing hidden elements behind the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic that he knew so well.
We’re pleased to remember that of the millions of items in our collections, we stumbled on the right thing for our friend. Happy Birthday, Steve!
You can’t beat the next two weeks of Concerts from the Library of Congress programming, during which we will offer eight musical experiences that showcase a breadth of artistry and perspectives. Here’s a quick run-down so you can make your plans: Wednesday, October 23, 2019, 7pm Montpelier Room, Madison Building “Diversity and the Birth of […]
One year ago, I published a blog post declaring my excitement about a one-year countdown to Clara Schumann’s 200th birthday and highlighted Schumann’s manuscript cadenzas from the Library’s Whittall Foundation Collection, material that is digitized and available online. Now, finally, Clara’s big day has arrived! 200 years ago, in Leipzig, Germany, Marianne Tromlitz gave birth […]
May 27, 2019 is the 200th birthday of suffragist, abolitionist, and writer Julia Ward Howe (1819-1910). She was also a vocalist, composer, and lyricist. The Music Division holds many treasures for you to discover Julia Ward Howe’s musical side.
The mention of late-eighteenth century Vienna frequently conjures thoughts of well-known composers like Mozart, Haydn, and Beethoven. But since I joined a project reporting pre-1800 imprints and manuscripts to RISM (Répertoire International des Sources Musicales, an open-access database that lets you see which libraries have a certain published score or unique manuscript), I would like […]
Since publishing Leaves of Grass in June 1855, Walt Whitman and his poetry have captured the American imagination. Not until the early twentieth century, however, did composers begin to draw from and set to music Whitman’s work in earnest. Today, 200 years after Whitman’s birth, his settings have inspired over 500 composers to write over […]
On February 12, 2019, our nation observes the 210th birthday of Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States. Let’s see the variety of ways President Lincoln appears in the Music Division’s collections!
Today marks the 95th birthday of jazz drummer, bandleader and educator Max Roach (1924-2007). His papers are among the most heavily researched jazz archival collections in the Music Division revealing much about jazz and the intersection of modernism and the development of Black political consciousness in 20th-century music. And though the collection includes a draft […]
The following is a guest post from Senior Music Specialist Ray White. Composer George Gershwin was born 120 years ago, on September 26, 1898. For most of his adult life, he was a youthful celebrity, indeed a rock star of his time, and his mystique is only enhanced by his tragic death from a brain […]
Happy 100th birthday to Henryk Szeryng (22 September 1918 – 3 March 1988), a man of international renown as a violinist, pedagogue, cultural ambassador, and humanitarian. The Music Division holds the Henryk Szeryng collection.