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To Modest Ment͡synsʹkyĭ from Prisoners of the Wetzlar Camp
This publication, dedicated to the opera tenor Modest Omeli͡anovych Ment͡synsʹkyĭ (1875–1935), was produced by the prisoners from the Wetzlar camp for whom Ment͡synsʹkyĭ gave a performance in February 1916. It contains essays and poems dedicated to Ment͡synsʹkyĭ as well as the program of his performance and the lyrics of the songs he sang, which included poems by Taras Shevchenko and Ivan Franko. During World War I, more than a million Russian army soldiers were taken prisoner, of whom several hundred thousand were ethnic Ukrainians. The ...
A Collection of Songs of the Bukovina People
Bukovina is a region in southeastern Europe that is today partly in Ukraine and partly in Romania. Between 1775 and 1918 it was ruled by the Austrian Empire. It was annexed by Romania after World War I and divided between the Soviet Union and Romania after World War II. This book is a collection of song lyrics, gathered in the second half of the 19th century by the Bukovina journalist, anthropologist, and public figure Hryhoriĭ Kupchanko (1849–1902) for the Southwestern Department of the Imperial Russian Geographic Society. The selection ...
This antiphonary (a book containing the choral parts of the Holy Office) was transferred to the Biblioteca comunale degli Intronati di Siena in 1811 from its place of origin, the Augustinian monastery of San Salvatore in Lecceto near Siena. By virtue of its specific liturgical function, the antiphonary, designed for the use of the monastic community, contains both the daytime and the nocturnal services. It was illuminated in 1442 as part of an extensive artistic program within the monastery promoted under priors Bartolomeo Tolomei and Girolamo Buonsignori. A bull by ...
A Handbook on Theoretical and Practical Music
This 1825 manuscript, prepared for a print edition, is a handbook on theoretical and practical music, written in Katharevousa, a purist form of Modern Greek developed in the early 19th century and at that time widely used for literary and official purposes. The work is an introduction to the Byzantine notation for the liturgical chant used in the Greek Orthodox Church that most likely was intended for students of Byzantine ecclesiastical music. The text probably was written by a scribe named Basileios Nikolaḯdes Byzantios. On the first page, which is ...
Syr Darya Oblast. Singers
This photograph is from the ethnographical part of Turkestan Album, a comprehensive visual survey of Central Asia undertaken after imperial Russia assumed control of the region in the 1860s. Commissioned by General Konstantin Petrovich von Kaufman (1818–82), the first governor-general of Russian Turkestan, the album is in four parts spanning six volumes: “Archaeological Part” (two volumes); “Ethnographic Part” (two volumes); “Trades Part” (one volume); and “Historical Part” (one volume). The principal compiler was Russian Orientalist Aleksandr L. Kun, who was assisted by Nikolai V. Bogaevskii. The album contains some ...
Song Book by Hakob Meghapart
Tagharan (Song book), a collection of odes for the soul and the body, was one of the first five books published by Hakob Meghapart (Jacob the Sinner), who established the first Armenian printing press in Venice in 1512. Little is known about Hakob Meghapart, or why he styled himself “the Sinner” (or “the Sinful”). Armenia was at that time under the rule of the Ottoman Turks, and the Diaspora community played a critical role in keeping alive the Armenian language and literary tradition. The book is written in Grabar (Classical ...
Missa in B Minor ("Kyrie" and "Gloria" of the B Minor Mass)
In 1733, following the death of August the Strong, Elector of Saxony and King of Poland, the German composer Johann Sebastian Bach (1685–1750) applied to the ruler's son and successor, Frederick August II, for a court title. Bach’s petition eventually was successful, and in 1736 he was named Royal Polish and Electoral Saxon Court Composer. Bach had bolstered his application by submitting a missa brevis (brief mass, consisting of Kyrie and Gloria) dedicated to Frederick August. This work, the Missa in B Minor, which Bach with deliberate ...
Score of Divine Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom and Other Compositions by Artemiĭ Vedelʹ
This manuscript is the only known work in the hand of Artemiĭ Vedelʹ (1767–1808), one of the most famous Ukrainian composers. It consists of six parts of the Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom, 12 spiritual choral pieces, and a composition for trio with choir. Different colors of ink reflect the fact that the compositions were written at different times over a period of several years. In 1856 the historian, publicist, and professor at the Kiev Theological Academy, V.I. Askochenskyi, offered the score as a gift to the library ...
Carmen. Opera in Four Acts, Based on the Short Story by Prosper Mérimée
Although Carmen is today one of the world’s most popular operas, it opened at the Paris Comic Opera on March 3, 1875, to a mixed reception, much to the disappointment of its composer, Georges Bizet (1838-75). Bizet was one of the leaders of a new generation of French composers, and Carmen was the pinnacle of his career. The libretto, adapted from Prosper Mérimée’s short story by Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy, seemed scandalous to many who attended the opera. Célestine Galli-Marié (1840-1906), who played the role of Carmen ...
Photograph of Richard M. Nixon and Elvis Presley at the White House
This photograph shows Elvis Presley meeting with President Richard M. Nixon at the White House on December 21, 1970. That morning, Presley personally delivered a hand-written note to the security guard at the northwest gate of the White House, saying that he wanted to meet Nixon to present him with the gift of a World War II-era pistol and ask for credentials as an agent in the national war on drugs. Convinced that Presley was sincere and believing that he could be an asset in the fight against drug use ...
Letter from Linda Kelly, Sherry Bane, and Mickie Mattson to President Dwight D. Eisenhower Regarding Elvis Presley
Until the abolition of conscription in the 1970s, all American men were required to register for the draft. Celebrities were drafted alongside ordinary citizens, and the rock-and-roll idol Elvis Presley was no exception. Presley was inducted into the Army in 1958. He took the required haircut in stride, coining the phrase, “Hair today, gone tomorrow.” This letter to President Dwight D. Eisenhower, signed by three girls from Noxon, Montana, identifying themselves as “Elvis Presley Lovers,” asks that the president not cut off Elvis’s sideburns. “If you do we will ...
Claude-Joseph Rouget de Lisle (1760-1836), a French army engineer, wrote the words and music to the “Marseillaise,” the national anthem of France, in the course of a single night in April 1792. He intended the song to be used as a marching song by the French Army as it entered the Rhineland, following the outbreak of war between France and Austria and Russia. This recording, made circa 1898-1900, is one of the earliest recordings made of the song. In 1893, Henri Lioret (1848-1938), a watchmaker by trade, developed a conical ...
Traditional Seminole Song - Rev. Josie Billie
Josie Billie was a member of the Florida Seminole people who lived his entire life on the Big Cypress Indian Reservation in Hendry County, Florida. Born December 12, 1887, Josie Billie was the son of Connie Pajo, also known to Floridians as Billie Cornpatch, the first Indian to receive a Western education in Florida. A Seminole medicine man and long-time public spokesman for the Florida Seminoles, Billie later continued his medical work as an herbalist and became a Baptist minister. He was a frequent participant in the Florida Folk Festival ...
Olney Hymns: In Three Books
Olney Hymns was compiled by John Newton, the author of "Amazing Grace" and rector of a parish in Olney, England, and William Cowper, a poet and close friend of Newton. The book contained the first printing of "Amazing Grace," which is numbered "Hymn 41" and begins at the bottom of page 53. The profits from the hymnal went to the benefit of Olney's poor. Olney Hymns later was published in New York in 1790 and in Philadelphia in 1791. In his preface to the book, Newton argued that hymns ...
Canticles of Saint Mary
There are four manuscripts of the Cantigas de Santa María (Canticles of Saint Mary): this copy from the National Library of Spain that formerly belonged to the Biblioteca Capitular in Toledo, two copies in the Escorial, and one in Florence, similar to the Toledan copy, but unfortunately missing some content. Written during the rule of Alfonso X, King of Castile and Leon (also known as Alfonso el Sabio, Alfonso the Wise), the canticles are a collection of monodic songs, in Galician language and mensural notation, in honor of the Virgin ...
Three Noh Songs: Takasago, Kamo, and Kantan
This large manuscript book dates from the middle of the Edo period (1600–1867). The title is found on the endpaper, inside the front cover. The book contains libretto and music notations of three Noh chants or songs, Takasago, Kamo, and Kantan, accompanied by six colorful illustrations of Noh actors. The paper has gold-painted designs underneath the text. Noh, a classical form of Japanese musical drama, developed in the middle ages. Actors, chorus, and musicians all appear on the stage together. The music, like the movement, is stripped down to ...
The Magic Flute
Die Zauberflöte (The magic flute) is among the best known of the 22 operas written by the Austrian composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756–91). Mozart composed the opera in the spring and summer of 1791, with the exception of the Overture and the March of the Priests at the beginning of Act II. These parts were completed only a few days before the premiere on September 30 of that year. Shown here is Mozart’s original manuscript score. During the initial phase of work, Mozart normally wrote only the melody ...
The Book of Songs
Abu Al-Faraj Al-Isbahani (or Al-Isfahani, 897–967 AD) was a literary scholar, poet, and genealogist who was born in Isfahan, in present-day Iran, but lived much of his life in Baghdad and Aleppo. Kitab al-Aghani (The book of songs) is often considered his masterpiece. A dozen or more other works by him are known. Most of them describe the indulgent social life of his times, a topical choice that prompted considerable criticism especially from clerics, some of whom went as far as to question his scholarly rigor and authenticity. Al-Isbahani ...
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685–1750) composed six cantatas for the Christmas holidays in 1734, one to be performed on each of the individual feast days during the services in Leipzig’s main churches, Saint Thomas and Saint Nicolai. The running narrative of the Gospel, as well as the keys in which the framing musical statements were composed, give the cantatas the character of a self-contained cycle. For most of the arias and choruses, Bach added new text to music derived from his earlier compositions, most notably from two congratulatory cantatas ...
15th-century Missal, with Notes and Initials
This musical manuscript at the Bavarian State Library is decorated with 15 initials with tendrils. The initials frame pictures and refer to the chorales of the church year. For stylistic reasons, scholars have dated these illuminations to the last decade of the 15th century and ascribed them to the illustrious Renaissance painter Berthold Furtmeyr (circa 1435/40–circa 1501) and his school. Furtmeyr and his followers were important contributors to the age-old Ratisbon (present-day Regensburg) school of illumination. An artist of great renown, Furtmeyr illuminated many impressive works, including this ...