Thursday, May 31, 2007

Oberlin Conservatory Summer Programs

The Conservatory Library is eager to support the Conservatory summer programs. If you're coming to an Oberlin Conservatory Summer Program and have library questions before you arrive on campus, please contact us or 440/775-8280.

Pseudonymity in Music

There are numerous examples of musicians using different names for different purposes. For example Fritz Kreisler composed dozens of pieces for violin which he ascribed to various 18th-century composers. In 1935 Kreisler finally admitted the hoax, and today the pieces are part of the standard violin repertoire. Learn more in the reference book, Musical AKAs: Assumed Names and Sobriquets of Composers, Songwriters, Librettists, Lyricists, Hymnists, and Writers on Music. Con Ref ML105.D76 2007

Friday, May 4, 2007

Stradivarius or Zygmuntowicz??

Celebrated Brooklyn violin-maker Sam Zygmuntowicz recently accepted a challenging commission from violinist Eugene Drucker of the Emerson String Quartet: to make a new violin that would equal Drucker's beloved Stradivarius. Their collaboration is documented in The violin maker : finding a centuries-old tradition in a Brooklyn workshop by John Marchese. He follows Zygmuntowicz through the exacting, scrape-by-scrape process of trying to transform a block of wood into an exquisitely wrought vibrating box that somehow captures the inexpressible sonic essence the finicky Drucker longs to hear. Along the way, Marchese goes on a pilgrimage to Stradivarius's hometown of Cremona and delves into the secrets behind the maestro's incomparable sound. Was it the wood? The varnish? The nap-time transmigration of his spirit into the violin under construction? Zygmuntowicz's example, Marchese finds, suggests a more prosaic, if no less marvelous, possibility—that the genius of craftsmanship resides not in magic ingredients or arcane techniques, but simply in taking infinite, exhausting pains with the work, in "caring more and more about less and less." He also broaches a more inflammatory corollary: that modern violins actually sound just as good as Strads. The result is a beguiling journalistic meditation on the links—and tensions—between art, craft and connoisseurship.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Snare drums in abundance

Move over guitar collectors, it's time to give the drummers some ink. One of the world's most valuable collections of vintage snare drums is presented in this beautiful, full-color book, Vintage Snare Drums : the Curotto Collection. The book features 85 of the rarest vintage snare drums from Curotto's collection of more than 420. The drums are gold plated/engraved, silver plated/engraved and black engraved snare drums, plus a "Future Collectable" section. Every snare gets a complete historical description of all facets of its components and the back-story on its creation and where it was "found" before Curotto acquired it. Brands covered include the most famous manufacturers - Ludwig, Slingerland, Gladstone, Leedy, Gretsch and Wurlitzer. - Photographed with the highest-quality digital camera, the images are gorgeous in detail and lighting.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Writing on the Wall!

In March 1963, Igor Stravinsky visited Oberlin as part of a contemporary festival. After hearing the students' rendition of his Septet, Stravinsky was so pleased that he took his rehearsal pencil and scribed his excitement on the wall. The plaster "excerpt" was rescued and is now on display as part of the Conservatory Library's Bibliorarities Exhibit series.

Igor Stravinsky’s publisher, impatient to publish his latest composition, urged him to hurry its completion. “Hurry!” exclaimed the enraged composer. “I never hurry. I have no time to hurry.”