New World Symphony Manuscript Parts Now Available in Digital Archives

NY Philharmonic Dvorak

On December 16, 1893, the New York Philharmonic gave the World Premiere of Dvořák's New World Symphony.

Here's another first: for the first time ever, you can see the manuscript parts used at the premiere, a 1917 recording of the Largo, an early first-edition marked score, the program from the premiere, and business documents relating to the premiere and Dvořák. They're just a click away, in the New York Philharmonic Leon Levy Digital Archives

It's all part of the Philharmonic's Dohnányi / Dvořák: A Philharmonic Festival, December 4–13, 2014, which culminates in performances of the New World Symphony, December 11–13, led by legendary conductor and Dvořák interpreter Christoph von Dohnányi.  

The notes and markings — in different colored pencils, some erased but legible — illuminate the rehearsal and revision process leading up to the World Premiere. The Philharmonic used the parts in subsequent performances until 1931, and markings reflect interpretive decisions from these performances as well.

The New York Times did a cool slideshow. Check it out:

 

Packed House 'Steps Inside Mahler's Sixth' at Free Insights

"Stepping Inside Mahler's 6th" New York Philharmonic

Last evening there was standing room only at the latest Insights at the Atrium. This installment of the free series, "Stepping Inside Mahler's Sixth," was for you Mahler fans. 

New York Philharmonic Archivist / Historian Barbara Haws; Prof. S. Alex Ruthmann, of the New York University Music Experience Design Lab; music historian Erik Ryding; and Philharmonic Audio Director Lawrence Rock used a new app developed by Ruthmann and his team, along with marked conducting scores from the New York Philharmonic Leon Levy Digital Archives, to compare in minute detail Philharmonic recordings of Mahler's Sixth as conducted by Mitropoulos, Bernstein, Maazel, and Gilbert. 

The app lets us explore interpretive, musicological, and historical questions, illuminating what specifically distinguishes each performance. Attendees got to "test drive" the app at iPad stations:

New York Philharmonic

The Philharmonic, conducted by Semyon Bychkov, performs Mahler's Sixth February 11–16.

Photos: Anne Ruthmann Photography


Pierre Boulez in Pictures

The New York Philharmonic deeply mourns the passing of Pierre Boulez, our bold and innovative Music Director from 1971 to 1977 as well as a trailblazing composer and thinker.

The Philharmonic will dedicate its concerts taking place this week, January 7–9 and 12, featuring works by Sibelius, Richard Strauss, and Wagner and conducted by Music Director Alan Gilbert, to Boulez.

We invite you to remember Mr. Boulez through music and through this slideshow of his time at the New York Philharmonic.

Digitized and Now Available: Mahler’s Marked Score of Bruckner’s Fourth Symphony

NY Philharmonic Digital Archives Mahler Bruckner

You now have the chance to get an inside look at one master’s take on another. Mahler’s marked score of Bruckner’s Symphony No. 4, Romantic — “one of the more important treasures in the New York Philharmonic Archives,” says Philharmonic Historian/Archivist Barbara Haws — is now digitized and available to view in the New York Philharmonic Leon Levy Digital Archives.

Mahler used this score, his own copy, when he led the Philharmonic’s first performance of the work, on March 30, 1910, during his tenure as Music Director. Over the years the score, published in 1889, had become too fragile to handle. In 2013, through the generosity of Jan and Mark Schapper, the score was preserved so that it could be photographed, included in the Leon Levy Digital Archives, and studied.

Clark University music professor Benjamin Korstvedt is the first scholar to make a careful study of Mahler’s extensive markings and cuts in this score. On Friday, July 17 he will present his findings at the North American Conference on Nineteenth-Century Music in his paper, “Mahler’s Bruckner.”

An example of Dr. Korstvedt’s observations: “Mahler’s treatment of the Finale, which removes more than a third of the music, is quite remarkable. Mahler radically altered the nature of this movement, effectively transforming it from an epic statement into a shorter and lighter piece by systematically deleting each appearance of the stormy third theme group, adjusting some dynamics and a bit of the orchestration, and reworking a key modulation. The result clearly goes against Bruckner’s intentions, but does have a certain logic of its own.”

The New York Times hailed the 1910 Philharmonic premiere of Bruckner’s Fourth for its “truly superb interpretation ... at the hands of Mr. Mahler — a performance that proclaimed even more unmistakably than they have been proclaimed before the mastery and authority of the conductor. It showed his insight and entire sympathy with Bruckner’s music.”

Mahler left the score in the Philharmonic’s music library, but he brought the orchestra parts with him to Europe. Noting in the library catalog why the parts were lost, the Philharmonic librarian at the time wrote, “He died.” Those orchestra parts now reside in the Vienna City Library’s Music Department. Dr. Korstvedt studied both Mahler’s score in New York and the orchestra parts in Vienna, and he reports that the markings line up.

NY Philharmonic Digital Archives Mahler Bruckner

NY Philharmonic Receives Grant from National Endowment for the Humanities

We are grateful and proud that the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) has awarded a $300,000 grant to the New York Philharmonic to support a multi-year initiative to digitize the Orchestra’s extensive archives. 

The grant affirms the humanities value of the collection, which dates back to 1842, and recognizes the archives’ importance to scholars and researchers. Upon its completion in 2018, the New York Philharmonic Leon Levy Digital Archives will contain more than 3 million pages of correspondence, operation files, financial ledgers, minutes from business and artistic meetings, marked scores, printed programs, and press clippings.

The newly digitized material, made available online to scholars and the general public through the Leon Levy Digital Archives, will offer unprecedented open access to nearly 130 years of cultural, political, and social history through the lens of one of the United States’ oldest cultural institutions. This is the Philharmonic’s first NEH grant in 30 years.

WATCH: Rare Glimpse of Sibelius at Home, Part of 150th-Anniversary Exhibit Opening Today

In celebration of Sibelius’s 150th birthday anniversary, the New York Philharmonic performs Sibelius’s The Oceanides and Violin Concerto, Feb. 26–28, and presents Sibelius at Home: Images from the Aho Family Films in the Bruno Walter Gallery at Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center

The exhibit, which opens today, includes stills and commentary from a documentary film capturing Sibelius at home in 1927 and 1945, along with archival material from the New York Philharmonic Archives tracing the Orchestra’s relationship with Sibelius and his music.

The film (above) is a rare glimpse of Sibelius and his family in their summer home on Lake Tuusula, in Southern Finland. Shot by Sibelius’s neighbors Heikki Aho and Björn Soldan, sons of author/journalist Juhani Aho and founders of the documentary film studio Aho & Soldan, the film exhibits an intimate behind-the-scenes view of the notoriously camera-shy composer.

Sibelius’s wife, Aino, and daughters also appear in the film, posing readily for the cameramen they knew so well. The daughters Margareta and Heidi pick apples in the garden and play the piano, and Margareta plays the violin. Jean reads the paper and plays and composes at the piano, cigar always at hand.

Sibelius at Home: Images from the Aho Family Films is in the Bruno Walter Gallery on Avery Fisher Hall’s Grand Promenade and is open to ticket-holders through March 31.

Music: 

Sibelius, arr. Jussi Jalas: Symphony No. 3, Finale

Sibelius: Impromptu, Op. 5 for string orchestra

Sibelius: Romance in F, Op. 78 for violin and piano

Helsinki Theater Orchestra

Eero Bister, violin

Philharmonic To Debut New Edition of Toscanini 'Star-Spangled Banner' Arr.

 

This Fourth of July, the Philharmonic will be celebrating two birthdays: America’s and the "Star-Spangled Banner"’s.

In advance of the national anthem’s bicentennial in September 2014, throughout July the Philharmonic will give the first performances of a new edition of former Philharmonic Music Director Arturo Toscanini’s 1951 arrangement of “The Star-Spangled Banner”: July 4–6 during the Summertime Classics: “Star-Spangled Celebration” concerts, led by witty conductor/host Bramwell Tovey; the free Central Park concert on July 14, during the New York Philharmonic Concerts in the Parks, led by Music Director Alan Gilbert; and July 18 during its Bravo! Vail residency, also led by Alan Gilbert.

Even more good news: the new edition will be made available to educators across the nation at no charge at starspangledmusic.org.

The backstory: In the years leading up to World War II, Toscanini was active as an anti-fascist. When he re-located to the U.S., he presided over the NBC Symphony Orchestra and was noted for championing “The Star-Spangled Banner” during World War II. In performance he faced the standing audience to lead them in singing the anthem’s first verse, and in every performance, including rehearsals or recording sessions, he insisted that all of the orchestra’s musicians stand while playing the anthem as a sign of respect. Toscanini originally created an orchestration of “The Star-Spangled Banner” for an international broadcast in 1943, and a few months later he completed a manuscript to be auctioned for war bond purchases. In December 1951 he revised his arrangement and donated the new autograph score to the Philharmonic for a fundraising auction; William Rosenwald, a Philharmonic Board Member (1941–75), bought the manuscript and donated it back to the Philharmonic. It remained in the Orchestra’s Archives until University of Michigan musicologist Mark Clague and Philharmonic Archivist/Historian Barbara Haws met in December 2013, and decided to collaborate on the new edition.

Glenn Dicterow, A Most Masterful Musician

The longest serving Concertmaster in the New York Philharmonic’s 172 year history

“It has been an amazing 34 years,” Glenn Dicterow said of his departure as Concertmaster. “Every single one has been challenging and inspiring. I feel very much part of the Philharmonic family. It is not going to be easy for me to leave this great Orchestra, which has been part of my life for so long.”  Watch the slide show that captures some of Glenn’s many Philharmonic and family experiences and read the excerpts from the hundreds of reviews over the years.

Read what Glenn has to say about his performances and listen to excerpts in our Online Exhibit.