Harvard University‘s Loeb Music Library—the relatively new home of Sir Georg Solti‘s collection of scores—has just launched a fantastic new website: Music, First and Last: Scores from the Sir Georg Solti Archive.
From the site: “The Sir Georg Solti Archive in the Eda Kuhn Loeb Music Library at Harvard University, a gift of the Solti family, includes hundreds of conducting scores heavily marked and annotated by Solti, representing an extensive body of work of significance to scholars and musicians across the globe. Accumulated over the course of a career that spanned more than six decades, these scores illustrate how Solti’s interpretations developed, how he solved musical problems, and how he adapted performances to suit a particular context. Many of the scores in this exhibit illustrate stages in the evolution of his interpretations; even in the recording studio he employed different color pencils when reviewing progressive ‘takes.’ The breadth of this collection, encompassing music from the 18th century to commissions from contemporary composers, indicates the extraordinary scope and variety of Solti’s musical interests. The achievements of his illustrious career secure his legacy as one of the foremost musicians of the 20th century. Throughout this exhibit, pages from scores in the Sir Georg Solti Archive are paired with audio clips demonstrating Solti’s interpretive choices.”
One example is David Del Tredici’s Final Alice, which had its world premiere in Chicago in October 1976. From the site: “In the composer’s words, ‘Final Alice unfolds a series of elaborate arias interspersed and separated by dramatic episodes from the last two chapters of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland: the Trial in Wonderland (which gradually turns to pandemonium) and Alice’s awakening to “dull reality.” To these I have added an Apotheosis. The work teeters between the worlds of opera and symphonic music, and were I to invent a category I would call Final Alice an “Opera, written in concert form”‘ (notes to recording, Decca 442 9955). Shown here is the beginning of the ‘Acrostic Song,’ the work’s concluding section, in which ‘those members of the orchestra whose mouths are not otherwise employed’ whisper the letters which spell out the name ‘ALICE PLEASANCE LIDDELL.'”
The site also includes several videotaped interviews with Lady Valerie Solti and Robert Dennis (curator and recordings collections librarian at Harvard) on a variety of topics, including this discussion of Béla Bartók.
Congratulations to our colleagues at Harvard!