Happy Easter

The glorious weather we’re having in Washington gives us much to celebrate in both the secular and spiritual realms. See Easter hymns from the Coptic tradition in Coptic Orthodox Liturgical Chant & Hymnody in the Performing Arts Encyclopedia. Remember Passover with the Yiddish play,  The mother of the world, or, Children come home in The American […]

Laughter is the best Music

“Hardly had the first song been composed before someone invented singing it out of tune. ” — Victor Borge, My Favorite Comedies in Music This April Fool’s Day, before asking your chum if she’d like to hear your musical henway,  read  what Leonard Bernstein said about Humor in Music in a script for one of […]

Women’s History Month: Women Composers in the Music Division

  This post was excerpted from an article written by Robin Rausch, Senior Music Specialist, for the Library of Congress Information Bulletin. When Library of Congress music specialist Susan Clermont agreed to participate in a special event featuring works by women composers from the collections of the Library’s Music Division, she volunteered to explore the […]

Ben Webster: Whispering in his Sweetheart’s Ear

Ben Webster, one of the great tenor saxophonists, was born March 27, 1909 in Kansas City, Missouri.  Along with bassist Jimmy Blanton, Webster helped form one of the most celebrated incarnations of the Duke Ellington orchestra. From 1940-1942,  the Blanton-Webster band recorded such Ellington classics as “Cotton Tail,” “Chelsea Bridge,” and, of course, “Take the ‘A’ […]

Women’s History Month: Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel

The following post is adapted from an article by Kevin Lavine, Senior Music Specialist and Reference Librarian. The complete article, part of the web presentation Felix Mendelssohn at the Library of Congress,  can be read here. Drawn together by their shared love of music and exceptional talents, Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847) and his older sister Fanny […]

Life Begins at 8:40

The following post is by Mark Eden Horowitz, Senior Music Specialist. On March 22nd, the Music Division of the Library of Congress will present a concert of the 1934 musical revue, Life Begins at 8:40. Though the show and score may not sound familiar, five years later four of  the original participants joined forces for […]

A bit o’ Blarney from the Music Division

The  Music Division’s bonnie collections offer a variety of ways to celebrate this St. Patrick’s Day. Play an Irish bagpipe from the Dayton C. Miller Flute Collection. Follow along to the reels described in Rinnce na h-Éireann : a simplified work on the performance of the dances of Ireland, from An American Ballroom Companion: Dance Instruction Manuals. Develop […]

Great Mustaches of the Library of Congress: Music Division Edition

Our present-day fascination with the facial hair of yore may have behind it a number of reasons: a yearning for the sartorial elegance of by-gone days; an urge to lampoon the historical patriarchal hegemony;  the deep-seated instinct, like that found among birdwatchers and trainspotters, to catalogue the varieties of hirsute experience; a lot of spare […]

An’ a one, an’ a two …

Bandleader-accordionist Lawrence Welk  was the musical voice of a faraway time in America, before  punk rock, hip-hop, and Lady Gaga.  The son of German immigrants from the Ukraine, Welk was born in Strasburg, North Dakota on March 11, 1903.  The first big break in Welk’s long and storied career came in 1927, when Lawrence Welk […]

Happy 100th Birthday, Samuel Barber!

The following post is by James Wintle, Reference Specialist. The Music Division of the Library of Congress, in cooperation with the Samuel Barber estate and G. Schirmer, Inc., have created an online exhibition of original manuscripts, correspondence, and performances to commemorate the birth of one of America’s most beloved composers. The web presentation is available […]