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Rossini’s Serenata: From manuscript to publication

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It’s always exciting to see citations to the holdings of the Music Division of The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts in newly published books and articles. But it’s even more exciting when a newly-published score is based on one of our manuscripts.

The latest volume of the new Works of Gioachino Rossini edition (entitled “Chamber Music Without Piano”) contains several works, among them the Serenata. Composed in 1823 “for his friend Vincenzo Bianchi” (and first published in 1828) there are only two manuscript sources for this work, neither in the hand of the composer. The earlier (and primary source) is located in the Biblioteca del Conservatorio “G. Verdi” in Milan. The editors of the Works of Gioachino Rossini edition describe our copy as being a copy of the earlier manuscript. In fact, the two manuscripts are “linked” in that markings in the Milan manuscript correspond to page turns in our manuscript.

 

Our manuscript probably stems from the latter half of the 19th century (based on the highly acidic paper on which it is written). The property stamp of Sam Franko (of the family that began the Goldman Band, still active today in New York City) indicates that it was probably picked up by him on one of his sojourns in Europe. As stated in the critical notes, he never appears to have played it for his concerts, and donated the manuscript to The New York Public Library’s Music Division in 1919, where it was first cataloged the following year.

Even in my brief time as curator, quite a number of people have expressed interest in this work. So the Works of Gioachino Rossini edition have satisfied a great need by publishing it in an excellent new edition.

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Goldman Band reference

It's a small detail and nothing to do with Rossini, but the Goldman Band tooted its last chorus of "On the Mall" in 2005. I can say this with some assurance since I was a musician-member of the negotiating committee that failed to come to agreement with management on contract terms, thus bringing to an end what claimed to be the "third oldest professional performing musical organization in New York City" (its roots trace back to 1914, I believe.) From what I gather, Sam Franko was a major figure on the music scene (as were other members of his family) in his day, though pretty much totally forgotten now.

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