Mendel Music Library Celebrates Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring” at 100

22889-Igor_Stravinsky-thumb-250x389-22888.jpg Numerous important musical anniversaries are being celebrated in 2013, including the 200th birthdays of two of the most influential opera composers of the 19th-century–Giuseppe Verdi (1813-2901) and Richard Wagner (1813-1883). No less noteworthy is the 100th anniversary of the premiere on 29 May 2013 of Igor Stravinsky’s ballet the Rite of Spring (Le sacre du printemps), presented by the Ballets Russes under Serge Diaghilev at the newly opened Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris, less than two weeks after the first performance of Claude Debussy’s ballet Jeux on May 15. The riot that ensued at this performance has become the stuff of legends, and the ballet was only rarely performed for decades until several revivals in the 1980s brought the work into the performing repertory of some companies, albeit tenuously. But the music and the genius of the composer’s conception, which after a hundred years still can deliver “shock and awe” to its audience, quickly became a staple of the modernist orchestral repertoire after its concert premiere under Serge Koussevitzky in St. Petersburg on 18 February 1914. As such, it became one of the seminal works of 20th-century music. (Authorized Princeton users can click here to listen to a recording of the work conducted by Stravinsky.)

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To commemorate this anniversary year of the Rite of Spring, the Paul Sacher Foundation in Basel has issued two remarkable facsimile editions of manuscripts housed in its Stravinsky archive, published by Boosey & Hawkes: an annotated facsimile of the autograph full score and another of the composer’s version for piano four-hands. These are truly magnificent manuscripts that copiously document the composer’s remarkably expressive calligraphy, making them works of art in themselves. Both of these facsimiles were recently acquired by Princeton’s Arthur Mendel Music Library, and they form the centerpiece for an exhibit celebrating this “epochal moment in the history of both music and ballet [that] signaled he breakthrough into Modernism” (publisher brochure). The exhibit, displayed in three cases on the first floor of the library, focuses on three aspects of the work: composer, conception, and the 1913 premiere; the score from sketches to publication; and the cast of remarkable characters involved with the earliest productions of the work: Serge Diaghilev, the impresario of the Ballet Russes; Vaslav Nijinsky, who choreographed the work and had just danced the lead in Jeux; Nicholas Roerich, designer of the sets and costumes; Marie Rambert, one of the maidens in the first performance; the dancer Léonide Massine, who choreographed a new production in 1920; and, of course, the composer himself. Interspersed among numerous photographic reproductions are commentaries on various aspects of the work and its genesis, including Stravinsky’s own words, testimonies from the time, and observations by many authorities on the composer and the work.

Come by the Mendel Library and enjoy these time capsules that capture the essence one of the most important musical commemorations of 2013!

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Online Version of Taruskin’s Oxford History of Western Music Now Available

I am happy to break too long a silence on this blog to announce that Princeton now has online access to the full-text of Richard Taruskin’s award-winning magnum opus Oxford History of Western Music (, originally published in 2005 (hardcover, 6 vols.) and reissued in paperback (2009-10, 5 vols.) This electronic version is only available to authorized Princeton users, and if you are accessing remotely, remember that you must have VPN (or the proxy server) running in the background.

A bit about this resource:

“The Oxford History of Western Music
online offers an
unmatched account of the evolution of Western classical music by one of
the most prominent and provocative musicologists of our time, Richard
Taruskin. Since its original publication in print [in 2005 and subsequent reissue in 2009-10], Taruskin’s landmark
study has received universal acclaim and numerous awards.” More information is available on the home page of the electronic version and also from the Oxford University Press here.

Features of the online version include:

  • The full text from The Oxford History of Western Music (2009 edition) with notes, bibliographies, and further readings for all 69 chapters.
  • 500 illustrations, 1,800 musical examples, and index from the 2009 print edition.
  • More than 1,700 editorially-selected links to relevant entries in Grove Music Online.
  • Sophisticated search and browse options for easy navigation of
    the text, and the original pagination from the 2009 edition is retained
    to aid location of references.
  • Printer-friendly format.
  • Export citations automatically to ProCite™, EndNote™, Reference Manager™, RefWorks™, and Zotero™.
  • DOIs (data object identifiers) and static URLs.

Enjoy this new addition to Princeton’s electronic texts on music!



New Jazz Resources Available at Princeton

In the last few months, the Princeton University Library has acquired noteworthy audio and video jazz resources–from streaming audio to two large and outstanding gifts of CDs and DVDs–that greatly expand access to jazz listening, viewing, and study at Princeton.

Streaming Audio: the Jazz Music Library

Authorized Princeton users can now listen to jazz online via the Jazz Music Library! This new Princeton resource
for streaming audio from Alexander Street Press aims to become the
largest and most comprehensive collection of jazz available online–with
thousands of jazz artists, ensembles, albums, and genres. For more information on the Jazz Music Library, click here. Other key links include a regularly updated “What’s New” page, various browse options, and playlists–both pre-formed by Alexander Street and ones you can make yourself. All selections in the Jazz Music Library have unique, persistent URLs, making linking easy from reserve lists and other Web pages. Remember, if you are accessing from off campus, you must first activate VPN or the proxy server for the resource to recognize you as a Princeton user and log you in correctly to the Jazz Music Library.

Two Outstanding Gifts of Jazz CDs, DVDs, and Books

In the summer and fall of 2009, the Mendel Music Library received two remarkable donations of jazz collections assembled by life-long jazz lovers.

In May 2009, Laura Gates Burgess donated the jazz collection of her late father, Stephen Gates, Ph.D. *55. The focus of this pristine compilation of books, vinyl records, and CDs is a treasure trove of more than 400 CD remasterings of essential recordings by famous and lesser-known artists from the 1920s through the 1960s, the golden years of jazz. Numerous CDs of classic performances by Eddie Condon, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman, Bobby Hackett, Fletcher Henderson, Red Nichols, Bessie Smith, Teddy Wilson, and other luminaries mixed with rare reissues of Wingy Manone, Wilbur De Paris, Bennie Moten, and the Goofus Five, among other delights. We have completed processing the Gates CDs, and they can all be accessed from the library catalog by clicking here. Remember to select “long view” after selecting a particular recording to see all the descriptive information (performers and recording dates, for example).

This fall, we received an extraordinary collection of CDs, DVDs, and books from Doris Rickles, the widow of Bob Rickles of Marlborough, N.J. Until his death in April 2008, Rickles was an active member of the International Association of Jazz Record Collectors (IAJRC) and the Duke Ellington Society in the UK. Bob was an inveterate collector of jazz CDs and his entire collection of some 3,500 jazz CDs is now being processed for the Mendel Music Library’s collection. The depth of coverage of key jazz artists in the collection is phenomenal. Rickles was an obvious “completist” who sought to obtain every available recording of his favorite artists–note the number of Count Basie recordings, for example. In addition, the collection is very rich in more obscure performers and covers a wide range of performance and jazz styles. Another bonus of the Rickles collection is over 100 DVDs of jazz performances, none of which Princeton previously owned. The Rickles Collection is still in process and the number of CDs available to the Princeton community grows monthly. To access the processed (and in-process) CDs and all the DVDs from the library catalog, click here.

Both the Gates and Rickles gifts now provide Princeton with a breadth and depth of vintage jazz recordings it previously lacked, and offer a vital complement to the rising interest in jazz studies at Princeton, as marked by the Anthony H. P. Lee ’79 Fund for the Study of Jazz, established in 2008.