It was time to proofread something that had just been scanned. So, with left hand on the hardcopy, and right hand on the braille display, I read: “Fugue in E, Op. 12, by Frederic…“Chopin,” my mind filled in quickly, but when did Chopin ever write a fugue? I moved my hands: “Frederic Ayres.”
Over the next few weeks I proofread several other works by this composer I’d never heard of. Colleagues in the Music Section found an article about him, even a few recordings of his songs. Only when I read about him on BARD did I notice that most of the pieces by him were brailled in 2018! Was someone else discovering Ayres, too?
Ayres was an American composer born on March 17, 1876 in Binghamton, New York, and died on November 23, 1926. According to William Treat Upton, in The Musical Quarterly, Vol. 18, No. 1 (January, 1932): “Ayres vied with Beethoven in the meticulous care with which he wrote and re-wrote his compositions.” Each work represents “the matured judgment of the man at that particular time.”
The Library of Congress holds several published editions available for view online.
To download braille scores, you may go to BARD, and discover for yourself:
Fugue in E Major, Op. 12, No. 1 (BRM36583)
Moonlight, Op. 12, No. 2 (BRM36604); also available in large print (LPM00861)
Sunset Wings, Op. 8 (BRM36605): a song based on a poem by Dante Gabriel Rossetti