Click to search the Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library Skip Navigation

Blog Posts by Subject: Recorded Sound and Video

Baryshnikov, Translated

With opening titles in French, closing credits in Russian, and post-production commentary in Japanese, cataloging Mikhail Baryshnikov's audiovisual collection presents an exciting linguistic challenge. Decoding the names—and, sometimes, nuanced conversations—associated with a production is a particularly engaging puzzle. Who, for example, is that enthusiastic commentator in a Tokyo television broadcast? Could his identity and critique of a performance be useful information for our researchers? What about the cryptic videotape label, handwritten in Cyrillic script? Is this a 

... Read More ›

The Time Machine of Moving Image Collections

Time Machine: if you could see what I have seen with these eyes.

Time travel is possible within the narrow bounds of my studio. It is remarkable that this can be accomplished with such primitive accessories. Wires and cables are sometimes strewn about reminding me of the Chris Marker film La Jetée. I have had the privilege of moving through time with many artists, through their early choreographies and refining rehearsals. I have watched the curtain open on their stage performances.

Read More ›

Recording the Life of a Dancer

An oral history interview is a lot more than just any old conversation or sound recording. Although the definition of oral history is dynamic, it usually refers to the collecting of individual histories, according to specific ethical and methodological guidelines, and the responsible preservation and archiving of those recordings. While human history has been collected and shared orally for thousands of years, oral history as a modern organized activity is said to date only to 1948 when Allan Nevins began the now highly respected

... Read More ›

RHA Cylinder Collection Exhibit

The Collection and Exhibit

The Rodgers and Hammerstein Archives of Recorded Sound at the New York Library for the Performing Arts currently houses a collection of more than 3,000 wax and celluloid cylinders. These cylinders range from very early, non-commercial, white and brown wax cylinders, to commercial moulded black wax cylinders, to Indestructible moulded celluloid cylinders and, finally, to the later Edison Blue Amberol celluloid cylinders.

The collection is 

... Read More ›

Historic Presidential Speeches in the Rodgers and Hammerstein Archives of Recorded Sound

In honor of President Obama's upcoming inauguration, the Rodgers and Hammerstein Archives of Recorded Sound would like to present a compilation of historic presidential speeches selected from our collections.

The list consists of commercial and archival recordings which contain campaign, election, inaugural, resignation, congressional speeches, radio broadcasts, and various other important presidential profiles which address historic and cultural milestones in American 

... Read More ›

Interviews with the Rich and Famous: The Brant Mewborn Interview Collection

The Brant Mewborn collection of interviews was recently processed, preserved, and cataloged.  This collection is a treasure trove of original interviews — conducted by Mewborn for his background research for various Rolling Stone articles, and for freelance pieces — with personalities of the 1970s and 1980s.

Brant Mewborn (1951-1990), a staff reporter and chief editor at Rolling Stone, conducted numerous interviews during this period with prominent people in the 

... Read More ›

Collection Therapy: Hospice Series

My professional adventures are rooted in my own fascination with and questions about who we are as humans (how we identify ourselves, how we are layers of each version of our selves over time, how we become trapped in our elderly bodies, how we relate, how we die, how we cope, how we mourn). These questions have been constantly honed in my work — asked and answered over and over within the context of audio/visual materials. I hopped from grant to grant to build new programs for years, describing, preserving and providing access to artworks, dance, oral histories, home movies, and 

... Read More ›

Discovering Dance Lineages Through Oral Histories

Next week (on October 24, 26 and 27, 2012) I have the honor of performing at the Museum of Modern Art's Marron Atrium in Voluntaries by choreographer Dean Moss and visual artist, Laylah Ali. These performances are part of MoMA's Some sweet day dance exhibition series. Voluntaries examines the legacy of John Brown, a white abolitionist who attempted 

... Read More ›

The Speaking of Dancing Project

In the interview excerpt above, New York Times dance critic Alastair Macaulay discusses the challenges of writing about dance, using examples of moments in the ballets Swan Lake and The Sleeping Beauty that made profound impressions on him.

The theme of interpretation—in essence, how movement creates meaning—goes to the heart of dance as an art form. Interpretation comes center stage in Speaking of Dancing, a new series of interviews recorded by the Oral History Project of 

... Read More ›

Surprises in the Jerome Robbins Audio Collection

Archival collections can harbor surprises — which makes the job of processing them fun!  The personal archives of artists not only document their careers and personal lives, but often contain material reflecting their interests and their times.

Jerome Robbins, a choreographer of prolific and complex genius whose work spanned ballet and musical theater, was a long-time supporter of the New York Public Library’s Dance Division. On 

... Read More ›

Greetings from the Jerome Robbins Dance Division Oral History Archive!

The Jerome Robbins Dance Division Oral History Archive is home to unique and rare dance-related audio recordings that capture the voices of dancers, choreographers, composers, lighting designers, costume designers, and dance scholars from the mid-20th Century through today. These recordings encompass a wide range of original and donated content, including Dance Division-produced oral history interviews, radio show broadcasts, 

... Read More ›

Columbia Records Manufacturing Process: 1946

The photographs that you see here were taken on a tour of the Bridgeport, CT Columbia Records factory in 1946. They provide a fascinating look at how music was reproduced in those days. The records we see being made, inspected, and shipped in these images are 10 inch discs that would have been played at a speed of 78 RPM. Today collectors refer to them by their speed - "78s" - but back then they were simply called records.

1946 was approaching the end of one era of record 

... Read More ›

Musical of the Month: The Music of the Black Crook

From The Library of Congress

 This is the second in a series of posts about the 1866 proto-musical, The Black Crook. See my first post in the series for additional background on the show

Very little is known about the music used in the original production of The Black Crook. Early advertisements feature the scenic effects (TRANSFORMATION SCENE or THE CRYSTAL CASCADE) much more prominently than the music. Spectacular dances (eg. "Pas de Demons" or "Pas de 

... Read More ›

"How can we know the dancer from the dance?"

In William Butler Yeats' poem "Among School Children" the poet famously asks "How can we know the dancer from the dance"?  Many interpret this line as an observation that some creative acts are so intimately connected to the artist who created them that separating the two is almost impossible.  However interesting or beautiful this idea might be, its reality makes the work of dance preservation a difficult one.  Literary or musical art can be transcribed to paper using a 

... Read More ›

The Talent Show @ MoMA PS1

Adrian Piper, a pioneer in conceptual art exploring race and gender, is among the artists included in the Talent Show.The permeable concepts of fame, publicity, and exhibitionism in the age of reality television and social networking are some of the themes explored in the exhibit The Talent Show—on view at MoMA PS1 in Long Island City, through April 4, 2011.

The show, organized by the Walker Art Center 

... Read More ›

Great Albums You May Have Missed: Erik Friedlander's Block Ice & Propane (2007)

As I listen to Block Ice & Propane, I recall the other possible uniform title I considered for this blog thread: “Prone to Hyperbole”; because this collection of songs may be the most evocative set of music the universe has ever heard! It throws us in the back of a camper for a cross-country camping trip, circa 1960 or '70-something; drives us down the backroads of America; and all we have to do is just notice, every so often, our impressions along the 

... Read More ›

New Year’s Resolutions - Trying to Lose Weight Again?

Another year has passed and with the beginning of the New Year comes the excitement of a “fresh start” – the endless possibilities for what we can do and achieve in the 365 days that lay ahead of us.

Are you one of the people that when they hear the words “New Year’s resolution” your first reaction is to roll your eyes? Some people think of resolutions as a bad thing, as something that will not be done, a broken promise of some sort. Why not look at resolutions as guidelines to help us get to where we want? I bet you never 

... Read More ›

Great Albums You May Have Missed: The Temptations' Give Love at Christmas (1980)

Do you constantly find yourself humming the tune of "The Little Drummer Boy" during the holiday season as if it were a new and infectious single by the Black Eyed Peas? For some reason, the holiday season makes me long for something a little more festive playing through my mp3 player’s headphones as I walk to the Kingsbridge Branch on a blustery New York winter morning.

In 1980,

... Read More ›

Dan Smith Will Teach You Guitar

He is arguably the most recognized musician in New York City. The slight smile, patient and reassuring, that greets you every morning as you wait in line at the corner bodega for your coffee and bagel.

Regardless of socioeconomic class or race, from Bed-Stuy to The Bronx, from East Village to the Upper East Side, all New Yorkers know: Dan Smith will teach you guitar.     It is a simple and honest advertisement. Like most good advertising, it is very memorable.  Maybe it is so memorable because these ... Read More ›

On the Shadows in Abraham's Cave: Thoughts on Beryl Korot and Steve Reich's 'The Cave'

The Cave, by wife and husband team Beryl Korot (video artist) and Steve Reich (composer), is an experimental multimedia piece featuring recorded interviews set to live music. Palestinians, Israelis, and Americans are all asked about the significance of the story of Abraham and his burial place, The Cave of Machpelah, which is held sacred by Muslims, Christians, and Jews.

Interviewees are asked about the significance of Abraham to their lives, the significance of his two sons Ishmael and Isaac, and their two 

... Read More ›
Previous Page 2 of 4 Next

Chat with a librarian now