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New York Philharmonic Leon Levy Digital Archives Gives Scholars Fresh Understanding of Gilded Age

A team of sociologists has completed a study based on the New York Philharmonic Leon Levy Digital Archives that provides a new understanding of the cultural dynamics of Gilded Age society.

Headed by Fabien Accominotti of the London School of Economics and Shamus Khan of Columbia University, the study shows that in the late 19th century, Philharmonic audiences became more socioeconomically diverse than was previously thought. However, they remained segregated, with the elite sitting apart from middle class audience members. This reveals how in American society “elite cultural behaviors became a source of status by remaining distinctive while also acquiring currency with other social groups,” says Accominotti.

The team came to this conclusion by developing an online Philharmonic subscriber databasecontaining the names, addresses, and seat locations of Philharmonic subscribers dating back to the 19th century — using the New York Philharmonic Leon Levy Digital Archives.

The article, “How Cultural Capital Emerged in Gilded Age America: Musical Purification and Cross-Class Inclusion at the New York Philharmonic,” was published in the American Journal of Sociology 123, no. 6 (May 2018): 1743–1783. The study was funded in part by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Hear more about this fascinating project on the podcast Especially Big Data.

New York Philharmonic Launches a Time-Traveling Podcast

Can’t get enough of the 106 All-Stars of the New York Philharmonic? Neither can we. That’s why we’ve launched Listening Through Time, a new podcast featuring intimate conversations about how performances have evolved over generations of Philharmonic players.

In each episode, a Philharmonic musician (current or retired) and Philharmonic Archivist / Historian Barbara Haws listen to and compare the Orchestra’s performances from different eras. 

The inaugural episode features former Principal Trumpet Philip Smith assessing Philharmonic performances of the opening trumpet solo in Mahler’s Fifth Symphony (played on this season’s Opening Gala Concert and opening subscription program). The line-up includes former Principal Clarinet Stanley Drucker, Principal Cello Carter Brey, Principal Trombone Joseph Alessi, bassist Orin O’Brien, and Principal Librarian Lawrence Tarlow.

Available on iTunes, Listening Through Time can also be found at archives.nyphil.org/podcast, where listeners can view related photographs and detailed background research, plus scores, parts, and printed programs from the New York Philharmonic Leon Levy Digital Archives.

New York Philharmonic Presents Leonard Bernstein’s Marked Mahler Score to Vienna Philharmonic

 

This morning in Vienna, the New York Philharmonic and the family of Leonard Bernstein presented the Vienna Philharmonic with Bernstein’s marked score of Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde, in celebration of the Austrian orchestra’s 175th birthday. Above: New York Philharmonic Archivist / Historian Barbara Haws; Andreas Grossbauer, President (and violin) of the Vienna Philharmonic; and Wolfgang Plank, Director of Archives (and oboe) of the Vienna Philharmonic, at the Vienna Philharmonic’s new Archives.

Following his 1966 Vienna Philharmonic debut, Bernstein kept the score, which he had obtained from the Vienna Philharmonic’s Archives. He treasured it for the rest of his life; on his death it was transferred to the New York Philharmonic Archives as part of the collection of his marked conducting scores.

The New York Philharmonic and Vienna Philharmonic are both celebrating their 175th anniversaries this season. The New York Philharmonic presented the gift at the Vienna opening of Vienna and New York: 175 Years of Two Philharmonics, a joint exhibit of archival material drawn from both orchestras’ histories that will be on display at Vienna’s Haus der Musik until January 2018 (having previously been displayed at the Austrian Cultural Forum in New York).

Explore a virtual tour of the exhibition from when it was on view in New York.

(Photo: Wiener Philharmoniker, Terry Linke)

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:

 

Mahler Wundersingers: Des Knaben Wunderhorn Philharmonic Soloists

New York Philharmonic Archives Mahler 'Des Knaben Wunderhorn'

This week's concerts feature Mahler's Des Knaben Wunderhorn, which the New York Philharmonic first performed in 1910, when Alma Gluck sang the American premiere of "Rheinlegendchen" (one of the songs in the collection) with the composer, who was the Philharmonic's Music Director at the time, at the podium.

The New York Philharmonic Archives created a digital exhibit of all Philharmonic Des Knaben Wunderhorn soloists, from 1910 to the present, interspersed with various "wunderhorns" found in the Archives' collection of glass lantern slides.

Enjoy!

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


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

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