This unique manuscript on the arts of the Middle Ages is attributed to three authors, including Hermannus Contractus, the leading German music theorist of the Middle Ages. The codex consists of vellum leaves sewn into signatures, which were stitched into modern binding in the late 1970s.
Constituting a Latin manuscript in German Carolingian miniscle hand, the Admont-Rochester codex is a 12th century collection of early medieval theoretical music treatises. Written in Germany or Austria, it was previously owned by the Benedictine Admont Abbey, near Salzburg, Austria, and was purchased by the Sibley Music Library from E.P. Goldschmidt in 1936. The last page of the manuscript features an exquisite Guidonian hand (photographed), devised by theorist Guido d'Arezzo to propagate a method of sight-singing which relied on the six syllables ut, re, mi, fa, sol, and la.
Kurt Weill, 1900-1950
Die Dreigroschenoper (Threepenny Opera): "Moritat vom Mackie Messer"
Manuscript (dated 23.VIII.1928)
Die Dreigroschenoper is an adaptation of John Gay's Beggar's Opera, with libretto by Bertolt Brecht. The Dreigroschenoper manuscript is part of a collection of original Weill manuscripts from Universal-Edition (Vienna). This photograph of the manuscript full score shows the most famous number in the score, "Moritat" ("Ballad of Mack the Knife").
The only extant manuscript of this song, measuring six pages of music and covering three leaves of manuscript paper, appears to be a fair copy, with several corrections. Set to a text by Klaus Groth, "Regenlied" is wistfully nostalgic, as the rain recalls to the narrator carefree days of childhood. The piano writing emulates the monotonous rhythm of rainfall. Brahms later used the song's main theme in his First Violin Sonata.
One of only three extant manuscript sources of this celebrated orchestral composition (1905), this is a particelle, or short score ─ a detailed sketch or draft, in condensed form, with parts for closely related instruments appearing on single staves. This magnificent manuscript is the Sibley Music Library's single most celebrated holding. The composer's painstakingly fine penmanship, and the multiplicity of colored pencils, never fail to draw admiring comment.
This is one of five first editions of works by Johann Sebastian Bach held by Sibley Music Library. A handsome and spacious engraving, the exemplar is distinguished by the numerous floral embellishments, visually attractive and never failing to catch the reader's eye. Those same embellishments point to the engraver's lack of foresight in plotting out the engraved image on the page, and hence, they represent a means of filling in empty space.
Howard Hanson, 1896-1981
Symphony no. 2, opus 30, "Romantic"
Begun April, 1928 - Completed July 6, 1930
The holograph manuscript score of Hanson's most famous composition. Serge Koussevitzky commissioned the work for the 50th anniversary of the Boston Symphony Orchestra; the New York Philharmonic premier was conducted by Arturo Toscanini, whose markings appear on the score. This is one of two dozen autograph manuscripts presented to the Sibley Music Library by Hanson on November 19, 1949, to mark the 25th anniversary of his appointment as Director of the Eastman School of Music.
Josquin des Prez, d. 1521
Missarum Josquin liber primus; liber secundus; liber tertius
Printed at Fossombrone, Italy (1514-16) by Ottaviano dei Petrucci
A rare, incomplete set of the partbooks of the Masses of Josquin des Prez ─ the Superius and the Bassus from the liber primus, liber secundus, and liber tertius. The Sibley partbooks are believed to date from a 1514-16 printing by Ottaviano dei Petrucci (1466-1539), the first to print polyphonic music from movable type. Petrucci's "multiple-impression" printing method initiated the dissemination of polyphonic music.
From 1729, the Italian oboist and composer Giuseppe Sammartini lived in London, where he was one of the leading writers of concertos and sonatas. The contents of this manuscript are varied: seven sonatas for solo oboe; eighteen sonatas for the flute traversière; and one sonata for solo violin. Several different copyists' hands are represented, and most of these sonatas remain unpublished.
Music theorist, composer, choirmaster, and priest Franchinus Gaffurius was the first music theorist to have many of his works published. Theorica musice is a theoretical treatise in five books, covering a broad range of musical topics and problems, including classification of music and the physical properties of sound.
A fusion of ancient thought and contemporary practice, the Dodecachordon (1547) was the work of Swiss-born humanist Heinrich Glareanm who wrote with authority on mathematics, geography, philology, poetry, and music. The text contains monophonic and polyphonic musical examples, and is a valuable anthology of musical compositions by Josquin, Obrecht, Ockhegem, and Isaac. The Sibley exemplar is one of many that Glarean inscribed in his own hand, containing a prefatory address signed Glareanus propria manu.
Johann Joseph Fux, 1660-1741
Gradus ad Parnassum (Steps to Parnassus),
oder Anführung zur regelmässigen musikalischen Composition
Fux was an Austrian composer, theorist, and church musician. His Gradus ad Parnassum was the most important modern textbook of counterpoint, for generations a primer in the art of strict composition in a capella style.
The Toscanello was perhaps the best general treatise on musical practice of its generation, especially informative on counterpoint and compositional process. It includes the earliest published description of mean-tone temperament. Published in Italian instead of Latin, it was one of the earliest music treatises in the vernacular.
This unique anthology was written for William Henry Osborne, Earl of Danby (1690-1711), a proficient lutenist who succumbed to smallpox a few days before his 21st birthday. The manuscript containsnumerous transcriptions of early 18th-century compositions, including works of Corelli and Handel, notated in French lute tablature.
One of three piano-vocal scores (with Puccini's La Bohème and Wagner's Die Walküre) owned by the Sibley Music Library, which were used by the Covent Garden stage manager. In each score, one page of musical text is followed by one blank page, on which the stage manager made production notes (cues, lighting directions, and stage diagrams).
This copy, number 227 of the limited first edition of the piano-vocal score, was signed by the composer (George Gershwin), the librettist (DuBose Heyward), the lyricist (Ira Gershwin), and the producer (Rouben Mamoulian) of the first production (1934). Mamoulian's first employment in the United States was at the Eastman School of Music, as Assistant Director of the Opera Department and Director of the Department of Dramatic Action and Dance (1923-26).
The piano-vocal score of the musical comedy which featured the hit song "It's De-Lovely." Copies of Red, Hot and Blue! were cited as "extremely rare" in one recent antiquarian trade catalogue. Of this limited edition, 300 copies were printed, this copy being number 210, signed by the composer.
A manuscript copy of the full score of Vinci's last opera, on which his fame now rests. Artaserse was first performed at the Teatro della Dame (Rome) on February 4, 1730. The manuscript was originally a holding of the famed library of the Earl of Aylesford, a friend of George Frederick Handel, and bears penciled annotations attributed to Handel.
This is an engraved proof copy of the first edition, with revisions in the composer's hand. The copy is one of a substantial cache of rare editions of nine operas by Giacomo Puccini, purchased with funds generously provided by Dr. John F. Flagg (UR '36). The Sibley Music Library published a catalogue of these editions in 1997, edited by Dr. Michael V. Pisani (ESM '96).
The prolific Henry Bishop is now remembered for little other than the ballad "Home, Sweet Home" from Clari (1823), composed during his tenure as music director at Covent Garden (1810-24). The song enjoyed immediate popularity: Donizetti used it in Anna Bolena (1830), and the "Swedish Nightingale," Jenny Lind, often sang it in concerts.
Regarded as the most indispensable printed work written by Mersenne, the Harmonie Universelle is a treatise on both the practical and theoretical aspects of music. The author was simultaneously mathematician, philosopher, music theorist, and an all-around Renaissance man.
Johann Sebastian Bach, 1685-1750
Aria mit verschiedenen Veränderungen [BWV 988]
popularly known as Goldberg Variations
Another of the Sibley Music Library's five first editions of works by J.S. Bach, the Clavierübung is one of six known holdings in the United States. An acknowledged masterpiece of solo keyboard literature, the Goldberg Variations constitute the fourth and final volume of the Clavierübung, which J.S. Bach had commenced in 1731 with the publication of the Six Partitas, BWV 825-830.
Forkel was the early biographer of J.S. Bach, and is generally regarded as the founder of modern musicology. His Allgemeine Geschichte der Musik (vol. I, 1788; vol. II, 1801) represented the first German attempt at a comprehensive history of music, and constitutes a bibliography of writings on music from antiquity through the late 18th century. This volume is from the library of the famous American music historian Oscar Sonneck.
Arthur Pougin, 1834-1921
Dictionnaire historique et pittoresque du théâtre et des arts qui s'y rattachent
After violin studies at the Paris Conservatoire, Pougin embarked on a writing career, contributing to numerous journals and completing a biography of Verdi (1886). In 1885, he was appointed chief editor of Le ménestrel. His vast working library, containing scholarly texts and also many operas in full score, piano-vocal scores, and piano solo transcriptions, was acquired by the University of Rochester in 1923, and divided between the Rush Rhees Library and the Sibley Music Library. His principal interest was the musical theatre, an interest manifest in this reference work which he compiled.
One of the acknowledged polyphonic masterworks of the Renaissance, composed by one of the most prolific and versatile composers of the 16th century. The partbooks of Lasso's Magnum opus musicum are known to reside in only four United States libraries.
The dating of this Dominican gradual is based on the inclusion or exclusion of certain Saints. The gradual contains music for the Mass, as well as some offices. It is written in French on fine vellum, in an even, careful script, with intricate decorative work best seen in the initials. Marginalia indicate close attention to liturgical changes, and elsewhere, extensive markings on the calendar of Saints, where names have been added or erased.
This choral-orchestral work, by the Pulitzer Prize-winning American composer and Eastman School of Music alumnus Dominick Argento (PhD '58), was commissioned by the Hanson Institute for American Music to commemorate the centennial of the Sibley Music Library. The work was first performed on October 16, 2004, by the Eastman-Rochester Chorus and the Eastman Philharmonia, conducted by William Weinert. A setting of passages by Herman Melville, Thornton Wilder, Henry James, and Mark Twain, Four Seascapes was inspired by some of the writers Argento enjoyed during his student years at Eastman, as well as by his fascination with bodies of water.