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 […]

I’m Frozen and I Can’t Play a Thing!

The following post is by Norman Middleton, Senior Concert Producer in the Music Division. Concert hall conniptions. High note heebeegeebees. Booze, drugs, and wastepaper baskets. The issues surrounding performance anxiety, commonly known as “stage fright” will be examined by Senior Concert Producer Norman Middleton on April 9th at 6:15 p.m. in the Jefferson Building’s LJ119 […]

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 […]

Jazz in the Spring: My Name is Albert Ayler

During the month of April, the Pickford Theater will host Jazz in the Spring at the Nation’s Library, curated by Larry Appelbaum, Reference Specialist in the Music Division.  The series begins Monday April 5th with the Washington Premiere of My Name is Albert Ayler. The prophetic free jazz saxophonist Albert Ayler, who today is seen as 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’ […]

A little birthday music

His work has been interpreted by everyone from Barbara Streisand to Tim Burton. Lyricist-composer Stephen Sondheim, one of the great voices in American musical theater, was born on March 22,  1930. In 2000, The Library of Congress honored him with a Living Legend award, complete with an all-star 70th birthday concert in the Coolidge Auditorium. […]

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 […]

Bach’s Birthday

Baseball season is just around the corner; Johann Sebastian Bach (not to be confused with Canadian heavy-metal singer Sebastian Bach) has just celebrated a birthday; what better time than now to revisit  From Bach to Baseball Cards: Preserving the  Nation’s Heritage at the Library of Congress. This web presentation looks at some of the problems […]

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 […]