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Posts from the Music Division

African American Composers and Conductors: Ford T. Dabney

The exhibition, The Great American Revue, focuses on Broadway revue series, 1907–1938. But they were not the only shows on Broadway. During those three decades, dozens of musical comedies by African American songwriters, featuring African American casts were presented successfully in Broadway theaters. They were musical comedies, not revues. They were written for (and, frequently by) the African American character comedians and had complicated plots setting 

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A Room with a ?: Noël Coward Parodies

The topical revues of 1907 – 1938 satirized performance, society and politics. Everything happening in and around New York was fair game. So, it should not be surprising that Noël Coward came in for his share of parodies. Since LPA's current exhibition in the Donald & Mary Oenslager Gallery is Star Quality: The World of Noël Coward and our neighbors, Film Society of Lincoln Center, will dedicate next weekend to

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Color and The Great American Revue

Design by Robert Ten Eyck Stevenson for the Greenwich Village Follies

This blog channel is inspired by the current exhibition at the Library for the Performing Arts, The Great American Revue: How Florenz Ziegfeld, George White and their Rivals Remade Broadway, which is on view through July 27, 2012. The material on display is drawn from the collections of LPA’s Research Divisions.

“Color,” our key image, is one of a 

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The Music of the Titanic

An oft-reproduced sheet music cover, memorializing the Titanic and the StrausesThere will probably be more written about the RMS Titanic this month than in the past 100 years. This blog entry is my contribution to the literature of the steamship and its connection to music.

The sheet music cover above (from The New York Public Library’s

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Brahms Manuscripts on Display in NYPL's Music Division

Brahms manuscripts on display in the Music DivisionBeginning March 21, 2012, the American Brahms Society, in conjunction with the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, will present Brahms in the New Century. This three-day conference will bring some of the most important Brahms scholars to New York to share their latest research and analytical insights.

In conjunction with this conference, the Music Division at 

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Best of Patron Requests: Music (February 2012 Edition)

This list is a monthly compilation of my own personal favorite patron requests for music. I hope you will check out some of the great music that Library users have suggested we acquire!

Provided are some great preview tracks for each. Just click on the titles to be taken to the catalog. 

Green Rocky Road by Karen Dalton

FIND OF THE MONTH!

Karen Dalton's early recordings 

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I Love Rock & Roll: Current Bands Worthy of Attention Part 4: The Raconteurs

I hear the phrase uttered often, "There are no good Rock & Roll Bands anymore" and there has been recent talk about the death of mainstream rock and roll. Over the next few weeks I will highlight 4 modern day groups that deserve attention from young and old fans of mainstream Rock and Roll.

If there were still great rock and roll radio channels for free out there these bands would be getting much 

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I Love Rock & Roll: Current Bands Worthy of Attention Part 3: Band of Horses

I hear the phrase uttered often, "There are no good Rock & Roll Bands any more" and there has been recent talk about the death of mainstream rock and roll. Over the next few weeks I will highlight 4 modern day groups that deserve attention from young and old fans of mainstream Rock and Roll.

If there were still great rock and roll radio channels for free out there these bands would be getting much bigger 

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I Love Rock & Roll: Current Bands Worthy of Attention Part 1: The Hold Steady

I hear the phrase uttered often, "There are no good Rock & Roll Bands any more" and there has been recent talk about the death of mainstream rock and roll. Over the next few weeks I will highlight 4 modern day groups that deserve attention from young and old fans of mainstream Rock and Roll.

If there was still great rock and roll radio channels for free out there these bands would be getting much bigger recognition then 

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A Century of Music at The New York Public Library

As the centennial year of The New York Public Library's Stephen A. Schwarzman Building comes to a close and the next 100 years begin, it's a good opportunity to journey through the history, collections, and people behind the scenes of one of the world's premiere music collections. 

This engraving by Paul Revere serves as the frontispiece of William Billings New England Psalm Singer published in 1770The music holdings of The New York Public Library were brought together as part of the merger in 1895 of the library of John Jacob Astor (about 4,000 music items) and 

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Walfredo Toscanini, 1928-2011

 Walfredo Toscanini (at left) with Arturo Toscanini, his grandfather, during the 1950 tour of the NBC Symphony Orchestra

It was with sad news that we heard of the passing of Walfredo Toscanni, who died on December 31, 2011.  An architect who was based in New York City, he was the grandson of conductor Arturo Toscanini and was instrumental in allowing NYPL's Music Division to obtain the Toscanini Legacy — the massive collection containing the conductor's personal papers,

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Happy New Year from NYPL's Music Division!

"Just Out" polka by Francis H. Brown (New York: Hall & Son, 1856)

Happy New Year!

Just as a new chick emerges from its shell, so does the new year come upon us. This polka was composed by Francis H. Brown (1818-1891), one of numerous and forgotten 19th-century American composers of popular music.

The colorful lithograph above was produced by the firm of Sarony, Major and Knapp. According to Wikipedia, Napoleon Sarony (1821-1896) worked as a lithographer for the noted firm of Currier & Ives, before launching his own business.

In 1867, 

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Wikipedia! The Musical! A Review!

Wikipedia! The Musical! design created by Lauren Lampasone

On October 22, “Wikipedia! The Musical!” was staged at The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. Despite its whimsical name, it was not really a musical but an editathon — a chance to edit Wikipedia with a group of people in an inspiring location. Though its focus was improving articles on musical theater, anyone interested in the performing arts was welcome.

For me, 

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Finding a Life at The New York Public Library

This last week of October, 2011 is Magic Week. Perhaps it's a good time to tell this true story about how I found a life at The New York Public Library:

In the spring of 1923, my grandfather, a magician, disappeared. This well practiced man of magic had pulled off his greatest trick of all. He was never seen again — at least not by my family. His love for the circus could not hold him to a small town, a young wife, and a three-year-old son. He left, and the memory of him was put aside. Occasionally my grandmother would 

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Great Albums You May Have Missed: Eels "Blinking Lights and Other Revelations"

Personal heartache and loss seem to be in the news a lot this week, and all of the world knows why. New Yorkers need no reminder, yet some music can’t seem to help but recall moments of heartache. The best music rises above and creates beauty, like the Eels masterpiece Blinking Lights and Other Revelations.

Knowing the behind-the-scenes stories of artists can at times strip away what makes the art special. Blinking Lights and Other 

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Works Created with the Help of the Music Division, 2010-2011

As we go over statistics from the previous fiscal year (ending on June 30), we note with pleasure and pride numerous works that have been created utilizing materials from the Music Division.

Have you published a book or article, given a talk, or participated in a performance where your have benefited from research in the Music Division? We want to know about it! Please send me an e-mail so that I may include you in the list of works for the current fiscal year.

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Celebrating Lucille Ball with Music

First edition of the theme song for "I Love Lucy"

Happy belated 100th birthday to Lucille Ball!

While the Music Division of The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts may seem peripheral to Lucille Ball and her legacy, we do have an important connection to the theme music of her first television show.

To begin with, the Music Division has what is believed to be the first edition of the show’s theme song in sheet music 

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The Music Division's Patron Saint, Katharine Drexel

On Sunday, the first of October, 2000 in Rome, Pope John Paul II presided over the ceremony that would elevate Philadelphia born Katharine Drexel to sainthood. It’s doubtful that few, if any of the thousands present that rainy day in St. Peter’s Square were aware of the connection between the second American saint to be so designated and the collections of the Music Division of The New York Public Library.   Katharine Drexel was born on 26 November, 1858 in Philadelphia. As a child of the prominent Drexel ... Read More ›

Great Albums You May Have Missed: Trombone Shorty's Backatown (2010)

Great Albums You Might Have Missed finishes up our focus on the upcoming 2011 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival with our third classic album from this years performer’s. We have looked at some of the past and current music scenes of The Big Easy, now get ready for the future; Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue’s

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Great Albums You May Have Missed: Galactic's Ya-Ka-May (2010)

With an eye still trained on the upcoming 2011 New Orleans Jazzfest, Great Albums You May Have Missed skews new school with the current sound of the Crescent City, captured perfectly on Galactic's 2010 Ya-Ka-May.

Galactic have been a Jazzfest and New Orleans staple ever since they released their first album Cooling Off in 1996. The outfit consistently brings in varying outside talent to help 

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