Beethoven in Dresden

High altar with Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane and organ pipes,
Dresden Frauenkirche (D. Scott, 1 August 2018). Johann Sebastian Bach performed on the original Silbermann organ on 1 December 1736, soon after its completion. The new organ is by Daniel Kern.

To round out our first week of the Mendel Isolation Playlist, Darwin Scott, Music Librarian, gives us our Friday music recommendation: Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis on Alexander Street.

This visually and musically stunning live performance of Beethoven’s Missa solemnis captures the 2005 concert celebrating the reconsecration (30 October 2005) following the completion of Dresden’s reconstructed Lutheran Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady) that had commenced in 1994. The video, continuously panning between the performers and the church’s restored interior, not only captures the magnificence of Beethoven’s conception, completed four years before his death in 1827, but also the awe of being within the revivified space.

Ceiling arches and remake of the allegorical paintings originally by Johann Baptist Grone (1689-1751) on the interior of the great dome, Dresden Frauenkirche (D. Scott, 1 August 2018)

Completed in 1743 after the death of its architect George Bähr (1666-1738) this architectural wonder and one of the great landmarks of Dresden, turned into a burning inferno and collapsed on 15 February 1945, two days after the Allied fire bombing that destroyed the city. Under the communist regime of the GDR, the remaining pile of rubble eventually became a memorial against war. During the 1980s, the destroyed church increasingly became a rallying point for protestors until the 1990 reunification of Germany.

In a visit to Dresden in late July 2018, Mendel Music Librarian Darwin Scott experienced firsthand with profound wonderment the restored Frauenkirche, and the unforgettable images and sounds of this performance immediately came to mind.

Listen now!

The restored Dresden Frauenkirche (D. Scott, 30 July 2018)
Dresden Market with the Frauenkirche (painted 1749–1751)
by Bernardo Bellotto (1721-1780—also known as the second Caneletto)
Ruins of the Frauenkirche after the February 1945 bombing and collapse (with statue of Martin Luther that survived the destruction)
High altar with Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane by sculptor Johann Christian Feige (1689-1751). About 80% of this altarpiece (in over 2,000 pieces) survived the bombing. Dresden Frauenkirche (D. Scott, 1 August 2018)

Reading Period and Dean’s Date and Finals, Oh My!

Finals! Arguably the worst time of the year, there’s no doubt that finals and reading period is a special kind of busy in the life of the average Princetonian. Piles of finals densely packed in a way that seems insurmountable can fell even the brightest of student. With that in mind, here are some tips for surviving the next few days until the lovely respite that is fall break!

  1. Drink water! Not just coffee! 

I’m sure this sounds intuitive to most, but it’s easy to get caught up in cup after cup of Wawa coffee. That headache that comes on around 2-3AM deep into a night of studying may be due to more than just the late hour. Remember to hydrate with more than just caffeinated substances this week, and you’ll be surprised how much better you can concentrate.

  1. Find your ideal study spot. 

When scoping out the perfect study spot on campus it’s important to think about the three Ps: Productivity, Practicality, and People. Productivity is a given, but the amount of times I’ve been sucked into *studying* in Frist (which ends up being a several-hour long gossip sesh) is entirely too high for my liking. Pick a place that you have been historically productive in the past – if you have to convince yourself that “you’ll actually do work this time,” it’s probably not worth the risk. Practicality is another big one that gets slept on often – don’t pick a place that’s super far from your dorm, or otherwise inconvenient to get to. If you’re going to be camping out in one spot all day, the walk back home might be particularly painful at the end of the night. If you forget something in your dorm, you want to be able to go back and get it without wasting 20 minutes in the walk back and forth. Finally, people! It’s important to be among people that you know you’ll be able to work with, which means that sometimes, friends may not be the best option. Don’t get me wrong – having some form of human contact throughout the day is important, but consider working in a library or somewhere you know that you will be forced to stop talking for extended periods of time. And a shameless plug here, but I recommend Mendel to study – you can check out our previous blog about best study spots around the library earlier, and it satisfies all three Ps listed above. 

  1. Make the most of your music.

It’s almost a given that students listen to music while studying nowadays, but listening to the wrong music can set you back if you’re not careful! Try to avoid listening to music with lyrics in a language you understand; the brain is not good at multitasking (no matter how many tabs you have open on chrome at once), so give it a break and let it focus on studying without the distraction of a good bop at the same time. Instrumental music is perfect for this purpose, so tune into our catalog and have a listen!

  1. Relax!

Terrible advice, I know – how could you possibly relax during this week? But fall break is right around the corner, so whether you’re saddled with one midterm or five, it’ll all be over a couple of 24-hour cycles from now. Knowing the workload will be over soon is a way that I personally keep sane (along with all of the other tips in this post!). Sleeping a reasonable amount matters more than we give it credit for, so don’t sleep on those extra zzzs! 

And hey. Even if all of your finals go the worst that they could possibly go, one exam doesn’t mean anything. 

There’s always next semester!

Hour Change Alert!

Hey Mendelians! 

Just a heads up that over winter break and reading period, our hours are adjusting. Refer to this blog post to stay up to date with our hours of operation. 

DEC 13 | 8:30 AM-5:00 PM

DEC 14-15 | 12:00 PM-5:00 PM

DEC 16-19 | 8:30 AM-8:00 PM

DEC 20 | 8:30 AM-5:00 PM

DEC 21-22 | 12:00 PM-5:00 PM


JAN 2 | 8:30 AM-8:00 PM

JAN 3 | 8:30 AM-5:00 PM

JAN 4 | 12:00 PM-5:00 PM

Happy holidays from all of us here at Mendel! Have a wonderful break and we hope to see you soon. 

Negotiating Sound and Union: Reading and Reviewing Music in the American Diasporic Wedding

Music in the American Diasporic Wedding by Inna Naroditskaya, ML3551.9 .M87 2019

What does it mean to be an immigrant? To be American? To be both? You might not expect on first instinct to explore these questions when perusing the New Book Shelf in Mendel, but they arise nonetheless in the complex, ethnomusicological novel, Music in the American Diasporic Wedding. 

Distances between countries seem to shrink by the second as travel and technology becomes more sophisticated; what was once an insurmountable journey across the ocean has now become a summer vacation, an annual retreat, a second home. The definition of American has also changed rapidly in the past century, expanding and transforming into the multiethnic diaspora that it is today. Music in the American Diasporic Wedding examines the issue of compromise and negotiation: when two different cultures come together, what makes it into the wedding? 

This book is a collection of essays that feature contributors with a tapestry of cultural fusions, from “klezmer-tinged Mandarin Tunes at a Jewish and Taiwanese American wedding” to “Puerto Rican cultural activists dancing down the aisles […] to the thunder of drums and maracas and rapping their marriage vows.” Edited by Inna Nadoritskaya, this collection highlights the importance of music in identity, and creating multiethic, intersectional identities filled to the brim with color, culture, and sounds. 

One of my personal favorite essays from the book is Soulful Same-Sex Wedding, Aretha Franklin, Love, and the Politics of (Un)Freedom by Professor Nina C. Ohman at the University of Pennsylvania. The essay reviews Aretha Franklin’s landmark performance at the Bill White and Bryan Eure wedding, one of many same-sex marriages that would occur in the months following the passing of New York’s same-sex marriage bill on June 24, 2011. The essay contends with important issues of sexuality, race, and music, and brings to light the true gravity of that performance in relation to the LGBTQ+ movement. If you’re interested in music as it relates to justice, culture, and weddings, this essay is a must read. 

Music in the American Diasporic Wedding just recently entered our collection here at Mendel on September 6th. Come check it out and more books like it on your next stop through Woolworth!

Music and the Mind: Highlighting The Oxford Handbook of Music and the Brain

The Oxford Handbook of Music and the Brain Edited By Michael H. Thaut and Donald A. Hodges (MUS) ML3830 .O84 2019

Are you a Music major with a certificate in Neuroscience, or vice versa? Are you interested in learning about the way that music interacts with our brains on a scientific level? Look no further than this exciting add to Mendel’s new book section, The Oxford Handbook of Music and the Brain

This book is a verifiable anthology, a collection of work by 54 authors from 13 countries, spanning the past fifty years of research. The handbook is divided into several sections, covering topics from the history of music and neuroscience to the cultural implications of neuromusical research to the future of the field as a whole.

If you’ve ever been curious about popular myths like whether learning music at a young age improves motor skills and intelligence, or if listening to a Mozart sonata while studying helps you concentrate, you’ll likely be able to find the answers in this anthology. The balance between musical and scientific analysis will hold the interest of people from all disciplines and interests! The specific answer to the first question is on page 424 in a section by Dr. Virginia B. Penhune titled “The Interaction Between Development and Training.” If you’ve been curious about the validity of this myth, check for the answer in this research paper!

The Oxford Handbook may seem dense and intimidating upon first glance, but don’t be afraid of approaching the reasonably large book, if you don’t have a strong background in science and music – this book is readable to all! Check it out in the new book section in Mendel, and plop down in one of our lovely studying corners for some musically and scientifically stimulating material. 

A Weekly Look at Mendel’s New Books

Mendel Music Library’s new book section is by far my favorite to peruse. When I’m not on the hunt for a specific score or resource for class, I always find myself drifting back towards this section for a new read.

So, in honor of my love for this little corner of Mendel, I’m highlighting a couple of new reads at Mendel that you should check out if you have some spare time! It can be overwhelming to tackle the plethora of books, often with musical jargon in the title, but these books are readable for any amount of musical experience. 

Curating Pop: Exhibiting Popular Music in the Museum Sarah Baker, Lauren Istvandity and Raphael Nowak, ML3470 .B356 2019

If you’re at all interested in museums and music, this is the read for you! Curating Pop is a fascinating read with an in depth interviews with museum workers and curators from global music museums. The book provides insights to how popular music and its history is presented to visitors and the public at large. I really enjoyed how this novel gave me an intimate look into the thought processes and decision-making of real museum curators from all around the world. Definitely a read if you’re interested in how the music you’re shown at museums ends up in those spots!

Revenge of the She-Punks Vivien Goldman, ML82 .G64 2019

Revenge of the She-Punks covers four primary themes identity, money, love and protest in a fascinating study of punk music. This book is a blend of many different types of source material: interviews, documented history, and her own personal experience as a music writer. The history and present of punk music for women is richly illustrated in this novel. If you’re interested in the intersection of gender and music, this read is definitely deserving of a perusal. 

Visualizing The Beatles: A Complete Graphic History of the World’s Favorite Band John Pring and Rob Thomas, ML421 . B4 P756 2018

Sure, there are a lot of books about The Beatles, but none quite as visually pleasing as Visualizing The Beatles. As the name suggests, this book is filled with beautifully illustrated graphics and images that makes it both mentally and visually stimulating while you’re flipping through. This book packs in a lot of information in a delightful way, drawing your attention from page to brightly-colored page. Truly a “whole new way of looking at The Beatles,” this read cannot be missed!

A Beginner’s Guide to Mendel Online

It’s a fact that Princeton students are busy, and that the campus’ physical area is reasonably large. As a result, you may not always make it to Mendel in person and explore our plethora of resources, from music scores to CDs to literature on your favorite artists.

If this sounds like you, but you’re now wondering how you can still take advantage of the Princeton musical web, look no further than this blog post. Below is a list of some online musical resources to get you started from the comforts of your very own dorm room. All you’ll need is a Princeton User ID and you’ll be all set!


BabelScores is a wonderful resource for musicians interested in exploring the world of contemporary music. The library is constantly growing in its vast library of scores from the last 40 years. You’re able to subscribe to an online library where you can read for free, or rent or buy scores directly through their website. If you’re interested in browsing contemporary music in the last couple of decades, BabelScores is the place to be!

Berlin Philharmonic Digital Concert Hall

This Digital Concert Hall is a rare opportunity for you to experience concerts live in action. This incredible resource allows you to tune into live streams of concerts happening in real time of the Berliner Philmaroniker. If you can’t make a concert, that’s also not a problem – this website also has a large archive of past concerts, from the ones that have played in the past few weeks to performances dating back to 1966. Check out the Berlin Philharmonic Digital Concert Hall if you’re interested in listening to and watching professional musicianship take place!

Digital Theatre + 

Digital Theatre + is a more recent addition to our resources, but a valuable one nonetheless. Founded in 2009, DT+ is an educational resource that collaborates with theatre companies all over the world to capture live performances in HD, bring insights from behind the scenes, and much more. They believe that “the arts are for everyone, not just the few,” and commit to this mission by creating content that can be used and accessed by everyone. 

Database of Recorded American Music

DRAM is a not-for-profit resource that contains everything you need to know about American music. The catalog is extremely diverse, with genres from folk to opera to classical to rock to everything in between. With essays, notes, and audio streaming of the highest quality, DRAM is your one-stop-shop for contemporary American sound. is another excellent resource to watch events, live and recorded, from wherever you can manage to find a computer! is not restricted to music, and also contains performances like ballets, workshops, and documentaries. If you’re not quite sure what you’re feeling like watching but you know you want to experience some form of art, is a great place to start your search. 

Met Opera on Demand

The name explains it all! If you’ve always wanted to go to the Met Opera, but haven’t been able to find the time to take NJ transit all the way to New York, Mendel has got you covered. This resource is updated quite regularly, so if there’s an opera that you wanted to see but never got around to, take a peek here! 

Alexander Street

Alexander Street is a giant of a resource that has literally millions of tracks to choose from. Primarily an audio streaming service, the resource is divided into several sub-categories because there is simply too much music available to be grouped into a general one. Search what you’re feeling and it’s more likely than not that Alexander Street will have you covered. 

Naxos Music Library

Naxos Music Library boasts the world’s largest online classical music library, streaming more than 120,000 CDs. Naxos also has Jazz and World music sections, with music from a wide range of record labels, genres, and artists.

Launched in 2010, delivers high quality contemporary performance to your desktop. They are one of the first organizations to begin filming contemporary works. You’re bound to find a performance to your liking in the 41+ performance films and 42+ artists from all around the world. 

There’s so much more in the online musical database of Mendel and Princeton University that is exciting, but this is a good start if you have no idea where to begin. If you’re interested in exploring more, check out the databases page under the Princeton University Library. Happy listening!

Current Theater journals now available at Mendel

25 theater journal titles have been moved from Firestone over to Mendel’s reading room. Mendel’s reading room has lots of comfortable places to study, a fantastic view, and public carrels. It’s the perfect place to stop in and read! The following Theater journals are now in Mendel and the titles link to the Princeton University Libraries’ catalog.

American theatre

L’Avant-scene. Theatre

Back stage

Biblioteca teatrale

Bulletin of the Comediantes

Comedia performance: journal of the Association for Hispanic Classical Theater


Latin American theatre review

Maske und Kothurn

Modern drama

New theatre quarterly: NTQ

PAJ : a journal of performance and art


Primer acto

Sovremennai︠a︡ dramaturgii︠a︡



Theater heute

Theatre journal

Theatre notebook

Theatre record

Theatre research international

Theatre survey

Theatre topics



First edition of Jules Massenet’s “Esclarmonde”

Did you know that the Mendel Music Library owns stunning, historical scores in our Locked Reference (SVL) collection? These items are held behind the circulation desk and can only be viewed by request—the hidden gems of Mendel’s collection. One such example is the recently acquired, pristine copy of the lavishly illustrated first edition of the vocal score for EsclarmondeJules Massenet’s four-act opéra romanesque. It features ornate chromolithographic illustrations by Eugène Grasset, a pioneer of the Art Nouveau period.

The score was published in 1889 by Georges Hartmann soon after the opera’s premier on 14 May 1889 at the Paris Opéra-Comique (Théâtre Lyrique). Set in the legendary Middle Ages, the opera features a libretto by Alfred Blau and Louis de Gramont after Parthenopoeus de Blois, a medieval chanson de geste, and focuses around the emperor of Byzantium (Phorcas), who abdicates in favor of his daughter Esclarmonde, bequeathing her his magic powers that she uses to seduce the knight Roland de Blois (in a story filled with magic, an enchanted island, visions, veils, a siege, betrayal, exorcism, renunciation, and a concluding triumphal tournament). The part of the heroine was written for the California soprano Sibyl Sanderson (1865–1903), with whom Massenet was infatuated, and it is no accident that the music for her exudes passionate eroticism marked by intense chromatic inflection. Grasset not only created seven projected scenes (by magic lantern} for the opera’s staging but also collaborated with the publisher to produce elaborately illustrated front and back matter for the vocal score (covers, frontispiece, title and auxiliary pages, and borders around the cast lists and other preliminary texts) plus an exquisitely-wrought poster to advertise the score that features the unveiled heroine in a pose remarkably similar to the equally spectacular representation of Esclarmonde by lithographer Georges Clairin appearing on the score’s dust jacket. Mendel’s copy is noteworthy not only because it is a rarer first issue of the first edition that lacks a title-page dedication to Sanderson (found in the much more commonly held second issue) but also because the volume preserves all of the edition’s art work (including the bound-in dust jacket), which is often partially lacking in extant copies.

View in Catalog

Dust jacket (bound in) for the vocal score with lithograph of Esclarmonde by George Clairin

Dust jacket (bound in) for the vocal score with lithograph of Esclarmonde by George Clairin

Frontispiece (half-title) by Grasset

Frontispiece (half-title) by Grasset

Title page (Grasset)

Title page (Grasset)

End of contents (with Grasset’s decoration)

Vignette from back cover

Vignette from back cover