Re: Discovery–The Two Opus 2s of Eugen d’Albert


Every so often we read about the discovery of some long-lost manuscript in the crypts of an archive, or the unearthing of a heretofore missing missive found locked in a trunk in somebody’s attic. At the Library of Congress we encounter these proclamations more frequently than you might think, usually in the world of special collections research. While some of these are bona fide “discoveries” of material unknown to the world at large, often they may be better described as “celebrations of new awareness,” be it for the individual researcher, a niche scholarly community, or for broader audiences. At a library, for instance, such materials are usually cataloged or at least inventoried, suggesting that at some point someone held it and noted its existence.

Many of these stories of discovery or new awareness really amount to the happy encounter between a content-rich collection and a researcher aware of the context and potential significance of a given piece of stumbled-upon information. Sometimes “the new” comes into focus as a result of making a list and checking it against the inventory. I experienced this recently when I “discovered” a “missing” piano concerto, and I figured that “In the Muse” would be a good place to share the story.

First, some background: last year I had the opportunity to speak about a small portion of the Heineman Foundation Collection in the Library of Congress. As a focal point I chose the composer most represented in manuscript in the collection: Eugen d’Albert (1864-1932). D’Albert, like so many worthy figures, was well-known and respected in his lifetime as a pianist and a composer (particularly of operas), only to face posthumous neglect and the threat of oblivion shared by so many talented but “non-canonical” composers. One of Liszt’s best students (he deemed him “Albertus Magnus”), d’Albert also had another important keyboard relationship: he was a descendant of Domenico Alberti, of “Alberti bass” fame. D’Albert’s piano writing wasn’t all about the bass, though; his sophisticated pianistic skills are on display in the pages of his piano music in our collection, ranging from character pieces and waltzes to the F-sharp minor piano sonata. The Library also has two of d’Albert’s Bach transcriptions, including the one for which he is perhaps best known—the C-minor Passacaglia.

Now that the d’Albert-y basis of this story is clear, I can continue: in 1963, the Music Division was able to purchase a large volume of d’Albert’s extant manuscripts, many through the largesse of Heineman Foundation funds. After I had spent some time physically looking through the collection, I encountered a list of these d’Albert acquisitions in Irving Lowens’ article about fiscal year 1963 acquisitions in The Quarterly Journal of the Library of Congress, Vol. 21, no. 1 (January 1964). Lowens had been the Assistant Head of the Music Division’s Reference Section at the time, and quite meticulous in his accounting of d’Albert’s works as represented in the Library’s collections.

Naturally I wanted to take a look at the non-Heineman d’Albert works, classified separately, and that was when I first noticed what I assumed to be a mistake on the part of Lowens. In his listing of “D’Albert works bearing opus numbers acquired in holograph,” the first in the lineup reads:

Op. 2 (October, 1880): Concert für das Pianoforte mit Begleitung des Orchesters.

The list continues with:

Op. 3 (October 18-26, 1885): Lieder und Gesänge.

If true, that would leave a five-year gap between early works—rather unlikely for a young go-getter trying to make a name for himself. But who knows, perhaps op. 1 dated from even earlier. So I checked the composition date of d’Albert’s op. 1 Piano Suite, and it was listed as 1883.

One of several things could be happening here:

  • Lowens’ date for the concerto could be incorrect;
  • The concerto did not make the cut until after the publication of the op. 1 suite, accounting for the dates being out of order (this does occur sometimes, usually in the early music of some composers)
  • Other sources could be incorrect.

I was not anticipating the discovery that none of these possibilities was the case. As it turned out, Lowens was absolutely correct. A look at the title page confirmed it:

D’Albert, Concert für das Pianoforte mit Begleitung des Orchesters [title page]

If this was d’Albert’s op. 2 as labeled, a simple turn of the page would settle the matter, as I would see the low strings and timpani roll that start the piece. However, what I saw was this:

D’Albert, Concert für das Pianoforte, p.1

A minor! Either d’Albert hadn’t realized that his op. 2 concerto was supposed to be in B minor, or this was a different piece altogether. Of course, it was the latter—the manuscript is likely the “missing” concerto in A that d’Albert had performed under Hans Richter in London in 1881. Pushing ahead to the end of the manuscript, d’Albert clearly dated the concerto, bolstering the argument that this was the concerto performed under Richter:

D’Albert, Concert für das Pianoforte in A, final page

The work is substantial—436 pages in length across its three movements. While it is beyond the scope of this blog post to give the work the musical attention it deserves, it appears to be a fair copy of the piece, but with edits and sketches appearing periodically; for instance, notice the pencil sketches and modified cadenza passage:

D’Albert, Concert für das Pianoforte in A, with sketch material


D’Albert, Concert für das Pianoforte in A, cadenza modifications

While I am not certain, given the general completeness of the score and the nature of the modifications, I believe that this may well be the manuscript used by Hans Richter in performance. The concerto seems to have had a mixed (albeit limited) reception—but bear in mind that it is the precocious work of the 16-year-old d’Albert. His experiences with Richter and his subsequent travel to the Continent spurred along the progress of his musical maturation, and at some point he decided to start his works list afresh (this may have happened several times). It is by chance that d’Albert’s “official” first piano concerto would also be acknowledged as his “opus 2,” making the statement that “the Library of Congress holds the op. 2 piano concerto of d’Albert” both true and false at the same time.

Irving Lowens made a proper account of the d’Albert manuscript in his writing, as did the cataloger who gave the correct information in the record for the item. It was only armed with their information—and possessing some knowledge of what the piano concerto I expected to find should look like—that the rediscovery of this “lost” work was possible. It is my hope that what had been hiding in plain sight might now be available for study, publication and recording. D’Albert composed this substantial work before meeting Liszt or Brahms, two composers whose work and presence would greatly affect him and his career. As such it is worthy of attention, chronicling the growth of d’Albert’s instrumental music alongside his rising reputation as a pianist. More than just a work of juvenilia, d’Albert’s early concerto illuminates not only the active state of his creative mind, but also his willingness to explore larger musical structures—an arrow in the quiver that would serve him well over the years as he shifted to a focus on operatic composition.

After looking through the rich body of d’Albert’s music held at the Library of Congress, I thought it might be useful to provide a listing below of our primary d’Albert manuscript holdings (not including correspondence), since the curious researcher will not find all of them in the Heineman Foundation Collection.

Music Manuscripts by Eugen d’Albert at the Library of Congress
Items marked  with an asterisk can be found in the Heineman Foundation Collection [ML31 .H43 (partial)]. The remainder are classified as ML96 .A5

Piano solo
Acht Klavierstücke, op. 5 [1885-6]
*Sonate in F-sharp minor, op. 10 [1892]
*Vier Klavierstücke, op. 16 [1898]
Fünf Bagatellen, op. 29 (Fünf Klavierstücke) [1905]
Studie über den Traum der Ghismonda [1898]

Transcriptions and Cadenzas:
Bach: Passacaglia in C minor, BWV 582 [1888]
Bach: Prelude and Fugue in D major, BWV 532 [1892]
Liszt: Two Cadenzas to Hungarian Rhapsody no. 2

Piano duet
*Symphony (4-hands version, incomplete) [1878-9, through part of third movement]
Walzer, op. 6 (4-hands) [1885-8]

Lieder und Gesänge, op. 3 (nos. 1, 5-10) [1885]
Fünf Lieder, op. 17 [1898]
Vier Lieder, op. 18, nos. 1 and 4 [1898]
Fünf Lieder, op. 21, nos. 2, 4 and 5 [1899]
Lieder, “Hüt du dich” op. 22, no. 3 [1899]
*Acht Lieder für vierstimmigen Männerchor, op. 23 [1900]
*Fünf Lieder, op. 27 [1904]
Sieben Lieder im Volkston aus des Knaben Wunderhorn, op. 28 (missing nos. 1 and 2) [1905]

Chamber music
Romance in F-sharp minor for cello and piano [1878]

Orchestral (including vocal/choral plus orchestra)
*An den Genius von Deutschland, op. 30 (after Herder) [1904]
*L’Apparition de l’ombre de Samuel á Saul (dramatic scene) [1879]
*Cello Concerto in C major, op. 20 [1900]
*Der Cid (after Herder)
*Esther, op. 8 (Overture to Grilllparzer) [1888]
*Der Mensch und das Leben, op. 14 (O. Ludwig) [1893]
Overture zu Byron’s Lara [c.1878]
*Piano Concerto, op. 2 [1880]
Seejungfräulein, op. 15 [1898]
*Symphony in F major, op. 4 [1885]
*Violin Concerto

Die Abreise (F. von Sporck) [1897]
*Flauto solo (H. von Wolzogen)
*Gernot (G. Kastropp) [1896]
*Ghismonda (d’Albert, after K. Immerman) [1894]
*Der Golem (F. Lion) [first perf 1926]
*Der Improvisator (G. Kastropp) [1901]
*Izeÿl (R. Lothar) [1908]
*Kain (H. Bulthaupt) [first perf 1900]
*Der Rubin (d’Albert, after F. Hebbel) [1892]
*Scirocco (L. Feld, K/M/ von Levetzow) [1915]
*Der Stier von Olivera (R. Batka) [1917]
*Tragaldabas (R. Lothar) [1907]
Die verschenkte Frau (large fragment) [1912]

*Multiple volumes

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Sheet Music Spotlight: Remembering the Lusitania in World War I


“Remember the Lusitania,” by Jess Secrhist. Harrisburg, PA,: Sanpan Music, 1917

The following is by retired cataloger Sharon McKinley.

The sinking of the Lusitania was one of many rallying events of WWI. Interestingly, the ship was sunk two years before the United Sates entered the war: on May 7, 1915. She was a civilian ship of the Cunard line, but was carrying some war materiel along with passengers. This led to arguments over whether that made the ship a legitimate wartime target. It is a debate that continues to this day.

Submarine warfare was still relatively new, and the Lusitania fell to the Germans, who were flexing their new sea muscles. Warnings were made to potential sea voyagers that they would be sailing in a war zone, but it doesn’t mitigate the fact that 1198 people, mostly passengers, went down with the ship.

As is so often the case when horrible events unfold, songs are created, copyrighted, published, and delivered into the eager public’s hands within weeks. The ship was sunk on May 7, and “The Loss of Lusitania” was registered for copyright on July 12. Composer Harold Wall self-published the song (New Bedford, Mass. : Harold Wall, 1915).  Although they rail against “This act of neutral’s foes,” W. Bibby’s lyrics and Wall’s music have an overall feel of a typical ballad bewailing a tragedy and massive loss of life.

Among the dead were 128 Americans, and the incident led to vigorous protest from President Woodrow Wilson and helped change the attitude of Americans towards our neutrality in the war. The Germans were far from apologetic, and U.S. demands that civilian shipping should not be attacked were rebuffed, because such ships could easily be transporting munitions. It took two more years for the U.S. to enter the war, but by then it was far more strongly supported by the average American. By the time unrestricted German submarine warfare escalated in 1917, the U.S. public as well the government was spoiling for a fight.

There were plenty of composers and lyricists waiting to lend their voices to the struggle. On June 27, 1917, just 2 months after we entered the war on April 6, Jess Sechrist copyrighted “Remember the Lusitania” (Harrisburg, PA: Sanpan Music, 1917), which is in many ways very different from Wall’s composition. Its very title a rallying cry, this is all about the U.S. going to war to crush the foe who perpetrated the terrible deed two years earlier. Sechrist has a lot to say, and he doesn’t do it particularly well, but chances are his work sold briskly, at least in his hometown. No Tin Pan Alley master he, but he knew how to tune in to a nation’s newly outraged sentiments and pen a song that would attract attention and hopefully sell some copies. Once again, popular music followed directly behind the latest events, giving an immediate feel in the days before instantaneous news.




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Monteverdi Turns the Big 450!


Detail of title page from “Fiori poetici raccolti nel funerale del … signor Clavdio Monteverde.” Music Division, Library of Congress. (Call number ML410.M77 M18 Case).

On May 9, 1567, one of music history’s most revered composers was born – Claudio Giovanni Antonio Monteverdi. To look at the whole of Monteverdi’s exquisite compositional output is to understand the transition from the Renaissance to the Baroque era in music. Some of the most exciting early printings in our collections include early editions of several of Monteverdi’s famous madrigal collections:

Il primo libro de madrigali a cinque voci del Sig.or Claudio Monteverde. Venice: Gardano, 1621. (Call number M1490.M8 Case) **First edition was published in 1587.

Il secondo libro de madrigali a cinque voci di Claudio Monteverde. Venice: Appresso Alessandro Rauerij, 1607. (Call number M1490.M782 Case) **First edition was published in 1590.

Il Quinto libro de madrigali a cinque voci di Claudio Monteverde. Venice: Appresso Bartholomeo Magni, 1620. (Call number M1490.M8M15 1620 Case) **First edition was published in 1605.

Madrigali guerrieri, et amorosi con alcuni opuscoli in genere rappresentativo, che saranno per brevi episodij frà i canti senza gesto, libro ottavo. Venice: Appresso Alessandro Vincenti, 1638. (Call number M1490.M8 M2 no. 8) **This is a first edition copy of Monteverdi’s eighth book of madrigals!

Monteverdi, Claudio. Madrigals Book 8. [Appresso Alessandro Vincenti, In Venetia, monographic, 1638]. (Call number M1490.M8 M2 no. 8)

Monteverdi’s eighth book of madrigals, called Madrigals of War and Love (and referenced just above), is his largest collection in the genre. It features an impressive variety of works, and is divided into two parts: 1) Madrigals of War, where the composer draws upon poetry that describes the pursuit of love with war metaphors, and 2) Madrigals of Love, where the poetry explores despair in love (infidelity, disappointment, etc.). Aside from its stellar music, Monteverdi’s Madrigals of War and Love includes a historically significant preface in which the composer asserts that he has discovered a new style of composition, stile concitato, that uses effects like rapid, repeated notes and trills to communicate agitation or war-like tension to the listener. While musicologists debate the first appearance of such writing, Monteverdi’s preface remains an important source reading. You can research the first edition printing of that preface online in full!

Speaking of prefaces, there’s another one for which Monteverdi is famous – that in his fifth book of madrigals. In fact, the preface served as the jumping off point for one of music history’s most famous debates! Prior to the publication of the fifth book, scholar and theorist Giovanni Artusi  famously attacked Monteverdi’s modern compositional approach in his publication, On the Imperfections of Modern Music. Artusi was offended by the “imperfections” in Monteverdi’s part-writing, specifically in the (at that point unpublished) madrigal Cruda Amarilli. Artusi writes, “The writing [of the madrigal] was not bad – though…it introduces new rules, modes, and idioms that are harsh and hardly pleasing to the ear. It could not be otherwise, for these new rules break the [established] good rules…These new rules must therefore be deformations of nature…They are far from the purpose of music, which is to delight.”

We hold a copy of Artusi’s On the Imperfections of Modern Music in our collections, along with a 1620 edition of Monteverdi’s fifth book of madrigals (originally published in 1605) where the composer responds to Artusi’s critiques in the book’s preface material. His response proposes two compositional approaches: prima pratica, which falls in line with the tenets of 16th-century late Renaissance polyphony and equality among the voices; and seconda pratica, a modern approach that loosens the bounds of counterpoint resulting in a hierarchy of voices. In seconda pratica the soprano and bass receive greater emphasis in this new hierarchy, which leads to the new early Baroque style of monody (where a single voice has the melody over an instrumental accompaniment).

This blog post could go on and on about Monteverdi’s music and significance in music history – as evidenced by our shelves of books published on him! His operas Orfeo and L’Incoronatione di Poppea are hallmarks in any History of Opera course — see the Italian libretto for Poppea from our Schatz libretti collection, and take a listen to a selection from Orfeo streaming on the Library’s National Jukebox: Tu se’ morta (“Thou art dead”):

So, today, I hope you are inspired to listen to your favorite Monteverdi work, read an article and get to know more about the man and his music, or mine the Library of Congress website for every Monteverdi-related piece of information you can find (I haven’t even mentioned our digitized copy of Monteverid’s 1607 Scherzi musicale a tre voci!).  Remember that you can email our reference librarians anytime with questions via Ask A Librarian. Happy birthday, Monteverdi – or rather, Tanti Auguri, Claudio!

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“I Will Survive”


The following post originally appeared on the Copyright: Creativity at Work Blog and was written by George Thuronyi of the U.S. Copyright Office.

As a teenager during the 1970s, I put on my bell-bottom pants and shiny shirt to groove to the latest disco hits. I was not alone. Disco culture was highly popular and spawned a vast array of music, dance, and fashion. The records of the U.S. Copyright Office show many thousands of registrations for the creations of songwriters, singers, photographers, movie makers, writers, and others who contributed to the artistry of the time.

disco ball in front of building

Library of Congress, James Madison Memorial Building

This month, the Library of Congress, home to the U.S. Copyright Office, presents a Bibliodiscotheque, a series of events exploring disco’s influence on popular music and dance since the 1970s. The lineup of programs features an appearance by disco icon Gloria Gaynor, whose “I Will Survive” is recognized in the National Recording Registry. The hit song was written by Freddie Perren and Dino Fekaris and first performed by Gaynor in October 1978.

“I Will Survive” was covered by other singers, was remixed, and was performed by Gaynor in Spanish as “Yo Viviré.” A search of the U.S. Copyright Office database reveals a variety of copyright registrations for the song and derivative works.

I asked Gaynor a few questions about her work and the importance of copyright registration for artists.

Q: You’ve said in interviews that the many covers of your works are a tribute to you. How would you encourage other artists to enjoy other interpretations of their copyrighted work?

Gloria Gaynor

Courtesy of Gloria Gaynor.

Gaynor: I would encourage them to recognize every interpretation as a tribute to them, since imitation is the highest form of compliment.

Q: There are many copyright registrations associated with your work. Does copyright encourage creativity in the music industry?

Gaynor: I would say it does, because it encourages each artist to try to make their work unique enough to warrant a copyright.

Q: Can you comment on why artists should register both the music and lyrics and the sound recordings of their songs, especially if the owner of the sound recording is not the owner of the lyrics?

Gaynor: Artists should register both the music and lyrics and their sound recordings of their songs, so that each creator gets proper credit for his or her input on a song. Also if someone uses one part without the other the creator still gets credit for his or her creativity.

Q: “I Will Survive” has been around for nearly forty years. How have changes in the music industry and the way people consume music impacted your career?

Gaynor: The changes in the music industry and the way people consume music has impacted the way people experience my music in a couple of ways. The fact that many people are streaming music and listening online instead of owning the music in the form of CDs or vinyl recordings has had a negative impact on the artists’ income from sale of [their] creativity. But it has also made music more readily available to my foreign public, which engenders foreign live engagements.

To learn more about copyright and how it promotes creativity and protects works, please visit our website.

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The Final Years of Pilgrimage: Sketches and Sources for Liszt’s Années de pèlerinage, Troisième année


In January of 2016 the Library of Congress acquired a holograph manuscript and a copyist’s manuscript (with composer edits and annotations) of Franz Liszt’s Den Cypressen der Villa d’Este. These two manuscripts are earlier incarnations of the first threnody from the final volume of the Années de pèlerinage. The troisième année was published in 1883, with the bulk of the composition of its component pieces occurring in 1877 or earlier (with revisions ongoing until publication).

Franz Liszt, Den Cypressen der Villa d’Este, early draft, p. 4; holograph manuscript

What makes these two manuscripts particularly special is that their existence was generally unknown prior to their acquisition by the Library of Congress. They reveal a great deal about Liszt’s earlier conception of the piece and alternate routes he might have taken. Fans of the Années de pèlerinage know that there are two “cypress threnodies” in the final set, and the Library of Congress contains a fascinating, nearly-complete sketch of the second threnody as well. Again, one can trace the compositional process as Liszt takes the material in different directions from the path he ultimately chose.

The Library holds three further manuscripts related to the set; two copyist manuscripts (in the same hand) of Angelus!, and a holograph draft of what would become Sunt lacrymae rerum. The Angelus! manuscripts represent a late stage of composition (1882), and both title pages suggest that this is a transcription of the string quartet version—a mistake, or perhaps indicative of a more complicated genesis of the many different versions of this piece that Liszt made over the years. The Sunt lacrymae rerum manuscript contains both alternate versions of recognizable passages and proto-settings of material that would be developed differently in the final version.

If you are interested in learning more about these pieces, you are welcome to attend the #Declassified event on Saturday, April 29, 2017 at 11am in the Coolidge Auditorium. We will take a closer look at many of the differences between the manuscript drafts and the final versions of these works, and you can hear the different passages side by side.

“The Final Years of Pilgrimage: Sketches and Sources for Liszt’s Années de pèlerinage, Troisième Année.”
David H. Plylar, Music Division

Featured works include:
1. Angelus! Prière aux anges gardiens
Aux cyprès de la Villa d’Este I: Thrénodie
Aux cyprès de la Villa d’Este II: Thrénodie
Sunt lacrymae rerum

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Today: Poet Laureate Closing Events & Livestream


The following is a post from the Library of Congress Blog by Wendi Maloney.

Juan Felipe Herrera concludes his inaugural reading as poet laureate, September 15, 2015, in the Coolidge Auditorium. Photo by Shawn Miller.

The Library of Congress will honor Juan Felipe Herrera, who is concluding his second term as the Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry, with celebratory events on Wednesday, April 26. The events will be streamed live on the Library’s Facebook page and its YouTube site. [Tickets to attend in-person are available at]

Titled “Speak the People/the Spark/el Poema,” the celebration will kick off at noon with a choral performance by the Fresno State Chamber Singers, who hail from Herrera’s hometown of Fresno, California. They will perform newly commissioned pieces developed in collaboration with Herrera.

At 7 p.m., a panel discussion will focus on the continuing emergence of Latino culture and its influence on the nation. Participants will be Herrera; Martha González, lead vocalist for the Grammy Award-winning East L.A. rock band Quetzal; Hugo Morales, the founder and executive director of Radio Bilingüe; and Louie Pérez, a singer and songwriter with the band Los Lobos. Rafael Pérez-Torres, an English professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, will moderate the discussion.

Immediately following the panel, a concert by Quetzal will close out the celebration. Quetzal brings together a wide range of musical influences, including Mexican ranchera, cumbia, salsa, rock, R&B, folk and fusions of international music. It is recognized as a leader and innovator in Chicano music.

About the celebration, Herrera said, “Meshing poetry and music with the Fresno State Chamber Singers, a panel on Latino culture, music by Quetzal—this night is a culmination of two years of beautiful and thoughtful audiences; of trains, planes, cars, highways, children, teachers and artists; of poetry seekers driving for miles to listen and exchange and tell me about their lives. This event will have all the love I can bring to it, and all the appreciations that have been given to me during these last two years; I hope to give back.”

Herrera is the author of 30 books of poetry, novels for young adults and collections for children. He has been one of the most active poets laureate in the history of the position, with two first-term projects and three second-term projects.

This past September, Herrera launched an online initiative, “The Technicolor Adventures of Catalina Neon,” a bilingual illustrated poem created by Herrera and artist Juana Medina. Presented at, the poem features contributions by second- and third-grade students and their teachers and librarians from across the country.

Continuing his work with students, Herrera and the Library of Congress collaborated throughout the 2016–17 school year with the Poetry Foundation in Chicago and the Chicago Public Schools on a program titled “Wordstreet Champions and Brave Builders of the Dream” in which Herrera worked with high school English teachers to develop new exercises and strategies for teaching poetry.

Herrera’s third initiative during his second term involved creating the “Laureate Lab—Visual Wordist Studio” to serve as a performance and classroom space in the library of California State University, Fresno, where Herrera once taught. He uses the space to develop small-scale, dynamic programs and classes for the local community, mixing poetry with visual arts, song and movement.

For his poetry, Herrera has received two Latino Hall of Fame Poetry Awards, the PEN Oakland/Josephine Miles Award and a PEN/Beyond Margins Award. He has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and the Stanford University Chicano Fellows. In 2016, Herrera was awarded the Robert Kirsch Award for lifetime achievement at the 36th L.A. Times Book Prizes.

The festivities honoring Herrera and the work he has done as poet laureate are presented by the Library’s Poetry and Literature Center, American Folklife Center, Music Division and Hispanic Division.

Visit the lobby of the Coolidge Auditorium today (April 26, beginning at 10:00 am) to view a one-day-only display of treasures relating to the Poet Laureate, Hispanic culture, and poetry in music.

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Ella on Her 100th Birthday


Portrait of Ella Fitzgerald, New York, N.Y., ca. Nov. 1946. Photograph by William P. Gottlieb. Gottlieb Collection, Music Division, Library of Congress.


Tomorrow, April 25, marks the one and only Ella Fitzgerald’s 100th birthday. Fitzgerald’s impact on American music is undeniable, and her legacy and influence continue to inspire new generations of artists today. To celebrate the First Lady of Song on her special day, the Library’s Jazz Specialist Larry Appelbaum will give a talk tomorrow (Tuesday, April 25) at 12 noon in Whittall Pavilion called “Celebrating the 100th Birthday of Ella Fitzgerald” where he’ll bring out relevant collection material and lead a discussion about Fitzgerald’s place both in our collections and in American music.

The William P. Gottlieb Collection of photographs documents jazz artists in New York City and Washington, DC clubs between 1938 and 1948. Gottlieb, while on assignment for the Washington Post, Down Beat magazine, and Record Changer, photographed and interviewed the most noteworthy jazz artists of the time, including Fitzgerald. See Gottlieb’s gorgeous photographs with her beaming smile and fantastic hat!

Portrait of Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie, Ray Brown, Milt (Milton) Jackson, and Timmie Rosenkrantz, Downbeat, New York, N.Y., ca. Sept. 1947. Photograph by William P. Gottlieb. Gottlieb Collection, Music Division, Library of Congress.

And for more context, take a listen to Gottlieb saying a few words about going to see Fitzgerald sing in that spectacular hat and how he got his special shot.

Additionally, the Music Division is home to the Ella Fitzgerald Collection; the collection does not include Fitzgerald’s personal papers, but rather it consists of musical arrangements made for her by more than fifty arrangers and orchestrators including Benny Carter, Billy May, Nelson Riddle, and more. To read more about the collection and a description of its contents, see the collection’s finding aid.

Search our online catalog for more books, photographs, and sound recordings of/by the First Lady of Song. More questions about how to find more Fitzgerald material? Our reference librarians are available by phone at (202) 707-5507 and via email using the Ask A Librarian reference service. Happy Birthday, Ella!

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This Week at the Library: “Pump Up the Volume,” Steven Isserlis & Connie Shih, “In Bach’s Hand,” “Painting Jazz,” and Steve Coleman and Five Elements

This Week at the Library:

Wednesday, 4/19, 7:00 pm – Bibliodiscotheque Film Screening: Pump Up the Volume (Film)

Friday, 4/21, 6:30 pm – Conversation with Steven Isserlis (Interview)

Friday, 4/21, 8:00 pm – Steven Isserlis and Connie Shih (Concert)

Saturday, 4/22, 11:00 am – #Declassified: “In Bach’s Hand” (Lecture)

Saturday, 4/22, 6:30 pm – John Szwed: “Painting Jazz” (Lecture)

Saturday, 4/22, 8:00 pm – Steve Coleman and Five Elements (Concert)


Wednesday, 4/19, 7:00 pm –
Bibliodiscotheque Film Screening:
Pump Up the Volume (Film)

PUMP UP THE VOLUME (2001) – Complete Series
Flame Television Production Ltd. | 135 min.

Pump Up the Volume is an eye-opening documentary on the origin and evolution of house music since its birth during the mid-1980s. Starting out in the city of Chicago and ultimately propelling itself around the world to clubs across Europe, the film illuminates how house music and electronica arose from the ashes of disco. This screening will include all episodes of the documentary series. [NR]

Pickford Theater, Third Floor, James Madison Building
Free, tickets required


Steven Isserlis. Photo: Satoshi Aoyagi

Friday, 4/21, 6:30 pm –
Conversation with Steven Isserlis (Interview)

Join us for a preconcert conversation with cellist Steven Isserlis.

Whittall Pavilion, Ground Floor, Thomas Jefferson Building
Free, no tickets required (limited seating)


Connie Shih. Photo: Juergen Gocke

Friday, 4/21, 8:00 pm –
Steven Isserlis and Connie Shih (Concert)

Who is ready for a Fauré foray by legendary cellist Steven Isserlis and Canadian artist Connie Shih? The program is filled with gems from the familiar to the Martin-new, including a work composed by Thomas Adès for Isserlis.

Shostakovich | Sonata for cello and piano in D minor, op. 40
Martinu | Sonata no. 1 for cello and piano, H. 277
Hahn | Deux improvisations sur des airs irlandais
Fauré | Cello Sonata no. 2 in G minor, op. 117
Adès | Lieux retrouvés

Coolidge Auditorium, Ground Floor, Thomas Jefferson Building
Free, tickets required. If the event is listed as sold out, returned tickets may become available until 6: 0 pm on Friday, April 21. Keep checking the ticketing page to see if returns are available. If you are unable to secure an advance ticket, use our RUSH program to gain admission at the door. RUSH passes will be distributed beginning at 6:00 pm.


Saturday, 4/22, 11:00 am –
#Declassified: “In Bach’s Hand” (Lecture)

Anne McLean and Jan Lauridsen, Music Division, Library of Congress

Bach-lovers can enjoy a closeup look at several treasures from the Music Division’s vaults in this display and discussion. On view will be holograph manuscripts of two of the composer’s cantatas: Es ist das Heil uns kommen her, BWV 9, and Meine Seel’ erhebt den Herren, BWV 10. Among other items of interest to be seen is a page of four handwritten receipts documenting payments to Bach for musical services rendered.

#DECLASSIFIED events offer an up-close and personal exploration of rarities from the Library’s vaults.

Whittall Pavilion, Ground Floor, Thomas Jefferson Building
Free, tickets required


John Szwed and Larry Appelbaum. Photo: Larry Appelbaum

Saturday, 4/22, 6:30 pm –
John Szwed: “Painting Jazz” (Lecture)

Library of Congress Jazz Scholar John Szwed speaks about some of the intersections between Jazz and the visual arts, with a focus on painters’ depictions of “Jazz.”

Whittall Pavilion, Ground Floor, Thomas Jefferson Building
Free, no tickets required (limited seating)


Steve Coleman. Photo: John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

Saturday, 4/22, 8:00 pm –
Steve Coleman and Five Elements (Concert)

Saxophone player and composer Steve Coleman is one of the giants in contemporary American jazz. In addition to performing with musical icons like Dizzy Gillespie, Bobby McFerrin, Sting, and Wynton Marsalis, Coleman is an active producer and educator. He appears at the Library with his band, Five Elements, to present a newly commissioned work by the Library of Congress, with support from the Reva & David Logan Foundation.

Presented in association with the Reva & David Logan Foundation.


Coleman | New Work

Commissioned by the Library of Congress, with support from the Reva & David Logan Foundation

Coolidge Auditorium, Ground Floor, Thomas Jefferson Building
Free, tickets required. If the event is listed as sold out, returned tickets may become available until 6:00 pm on Saturday, April 22. Keep checking the ticketing page to see if returns are available. If you are unable to secure an advance ticket, use our RUSH program to gain admission at the door. RUSH passes are distributed beginning at 6:00 pm.

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Happy Birthday Gerry Mulligan!

Legendary saxophone player Gerry Mulligan (1927-1996) would have turned 90 today (April 6th)! In commemoration of his birthday and Jazz Appreciation Month, we invite you to explore the Gerry Mulligan Collection at the Library of Congress. Below are links to the collection finding aid, articles, and some fun digital resources. If you have any reference questions, contact our music reference librarians via Ask a Librarian.

[Portrait of Gerry Mulligan, ca. 1980s], by William P. Gottlieb, William P. Gottlieb Collection, Music Division, Library of Congress

Selected Gerry Mulligan Resources at the Library of Congress


Digital Collection

Gerry Mulligan Collection Finding Aid


Discography [by Gerard Dugelay, France and Kenneth Hallqvist, Sweden]

Gerry Mulligan Autobiography [Audio Recording]


About the Gerry Mulligan Collection

As a saxophonist, composer, arranger and band leader, Gerry Mulligan (1927-1996) is a jazz legend. In the digital version of the Gerry Mulligan Collection, the Library of Congress is making available excerpts from his autobiography and selected scores and sound recordings. From his involvement in The Birth of the Cool recordings with Miles Davis, to his legendary “pianoless” quartet in 1951, to the creation of the sound known as “West Coast Jazz,” Mulligan played a vital role in the evolution of jazz. In addition to forming his own bands such as the Pianoless Quartet and the Concert Jazz Band (with other renowned jazz artists such as Chet Baker, Art Farmer, and Bob Brookmeyer), he also collaborated with many prominent musicians during his career such as Dave Brubeck, Charles Mingus, Astor Piazolla, and Dave Grusin. A versatile musician, Mulligan also composed music for films and symphony orchestras.

The Library of Congress serves as the repository for the Gerry Mulligan Collection, which it obtained in the late 1990s. Consisting of approximately 700 items, the collection includes original scores, lead sheets, sketches, arrangements and parts, photographs, sound recordings, correspondence and papers relating to different concerts and projects, and an oral autobiography which Mulligan recorded shortly before he died. In this initial Web offering, the Library of Congress is making available excerpts from his autobiography and selected scores and sound recordings. Additional items from the Mulligan Collection will be added to this site in the near future.

Other sound recordings and photographs that are not expressly in the Mulligan Collection are also available on to further illustrate portions of Mulligan’s life and career. Information on the provenance of these items is in the bibliographic record for each item.

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Jeannette Rankin: First Woman Sworn Into Congress 100 Years Ago

The following is a cross-post from the Library of Congress Blog, written by Wendi Maloney and published on March 31, 2017 under the title “Women’s History Month: First Woman Sworn Into Congress 100 Years Ago.”

Jeannette Rankin, 1917

One hundred years ago this Sunday—on April 2, 1917—Jeannette Rankin was sworn into the 65th Congress as the first woman elected to serve. She took her seat more than two years before Congress passed the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, giving women nationwide the right to vote. That alone is remarkable, but Rankin also made history in another way: she voted against U.S. involvement in both 20th-century world wars—and paid a price for doing so.

To commemorate Rankin’s life and career, the Library of Congress is co-presenting a world premiere song cycle on April 7 with Opera America. “Fierce Grace—Jeannette Rankin,” a collaborative work by multiple women composers, will be performed in the Coolidge Auditorium, followed by a panel discussion.

Rankin campaigned in 1916 as a suffragist, pacifist and social reformer, prevailing against seven men in the Republican primary in her home state of Montana, where women had gained the right to vote in 1914. She became a national celebrity when she won a seat in the general election to the U.S. House of Representatives.

Rankin arrived in Washington, D.C., to festivities in her honor. Suffrage leaders, including Carrie Chapman Catt and Alice Paul, hosted a breakfast for her, and a procession of suffragists accompanied her to the Capitol. Fellow House members greeted her with applause.

Jeannette Rankin, right, in a carriage with Carrie Chapman Catt, center, upon Rankin’s arrival in Washington, D.C.

But things turned somber quickly. On the evening of April 2, President Woodrow Wilson called on Congress to authorize U.S. entry into World War I. On April 6, after days of debate, Rankin joined 55 congressional colleagues in voting against the war resolution. She did so in opposition to many suffragists, who feared a no vote would hurt the suffrage cause. “I want to stand by my country, but I cannot vote for war,” Rankin is widely quoted as stating.

For the remainder of her term, Rankin advocated for the rights of women and children, worker safety, and equal pay for women, and she played a major role in bringing a suffrage amendment to the House floor, where it passed before the Senate voted it down.

Rankin ran for a Senate seat in 1918, but she failed to win her primary. She returned to private life, moving to Georgia, where she lectured and supported causes dear to her, including women’s rights and peace.

She ran for Congress again in 1939, following the start of World War II in Europe. She felt that she could have the most effect as a member of Congress in keeping the United States out of the war. She returned to Montana to run as a peace candidate, winning handily.

But her time in Congress was once again short lived. She was the only member to vote against U.S. entry into the war on December 8, 1941. “As a woman I cannot go to war, and I refuse to send anyone else,” she reportedly said. An angry mob nearly attacked her when she left the chamber, and she sought safety in a telephone booth, where police rescued her.

At the end of her term, Rankin opted out of national politics for good, although she continued her involvement in peace efforts, speaking out against the Korean and Vietnam Wars. On January 15, 1968, at age 87, she led nearly 5,000 women in a march on Washington, D.C., against the Vietnam War. The marchers called themselves the Jeannette Rankin Brigade. Rankin died in May 1973 at age 93.

In an article published in McCalls’s magazine in 1958, John F. Kennedy, then a U.S. senator, cited Rankin as one of three truly courageous women in U.S. history. “Few members of Congress since its founding in 1789 have ever stood more alone, more completely in defiance of popular conviction,” Kennedy wrote. We may disagree with her stand, he added, but it is impossible not to admire her courage.

Information about Library of Congress concerts and ticketing is available here.

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