We are pleased to announce that Sibley has received a National Endowment for the Humanities Preservation and Access Award of $300,000 in support of the Library’s continuing efforts to digitize music scores in the public domain (i.e., no longer protected by copyright). This award supports a second phase of scores digitization that will extend from May 2011 through September 2012 and builds on a similar NEH grant-funded project that concluded in April 2011. The 2009–2011 NEH award resulted in the digitization of 9,600 public domain scores, a total of 303,000 pages of digitized music. Like that first grant, this second NEH award supports the efforts of Sibley Music Library to provide free online access to public domain scores from the Library’s general collections, with an emphasis on those scores not widely held by other libraries and not digitized elsewhere. The Library’s scores digitization program, which complements other large-scale book-centric digitization programs, has become an important source of music for scholars and musicians in this country and around the world. To date, Sibley Music Library has digitized over 11,000 public domain scores and books, which have accounted for more than three million downloads from the University of Rochester’s Digital Repository, UR Research. Over the course of the 2011–2012 NEH-funded project, Sibley Music Library will digitize 9,500 additional scores and make them freely available at UR Research. The NEH award supports the hiring of two staff members, thus permitting the Library to continue the current pace of its digitization program. Co-investigators for the project are Sibley Music Library staff members Alice Carli, Conservator, and Jim Farrington, Head of Public Services. Linda Blair, Head of Cataloging, provides bibliographic assistance to the project.
René de Boisdeffre (1838-1906) was a French musician and composer of chamber music. Born in Vesoul, Boisdeffre studied with Auguste Barbereau and Charles Wagner, developing an elegant compositional style that won him the Prix Chartier in 1883. Focusing primarily on chamber music for strings, he also composed piano pieces, songs, a mass, and a symphony. Though his works quickly fell out of favor (from what the Macmillan Encyclopedia cites as a lack of inventiveness), Boisdeffre is another composer whose works are enjoying a digital resurgence thanks to the NEH project at Sibley Library. So far, 17 of his compositions have been scanned and posted online, including his sonata for cello and piano.
Selim Palmgren (1878-1951) was a Finnish composer and pianist. After completing his studies in Finland and Germany, Palmgren embarked on a set of successful European concert tours, as both a performer and conductor. After a 1920 American tour, Palmgren was invited to the newly opened Eastman School of Music to replace Christian Sinding as professor of theory and composition (Sinding having departed after only 1 year of teaching). Palmgren taught at Eastman until 1927, after which he returned to subsequent teaching positions in Helsinki. Though a composer of opera, songs, and orchestral works, Palmgren was best recognized as a composer of piano music, contributing 5 concertos, a sonata, preludes, and numerous other pieces to the repertoire.
Not surprisingly, Sibley holds many works by Palmgren, a number of which are up for digitization. Check out Palmgren’s op. 79 compositions for an example of his writing for the piano.
As we finish processing the rest of the instrumental music and prepare it to go up online, we’ve begun pulling the public domain, long-form sacred vocal music from our collection. This means oratorios, cantatas and choruses are on the way, from well known composers like Bach, Haydn and Mozart, and many lesser known composers as well, including Chadwick, Ropartz, Stanford (who have become familiar faces to us by now!) It may take some time before you begin seeing these works online, so for now, vocal scores of the Mozart masses can keep you occupied. Below, Sir Colin Rex Davis conducts the Introitus from Mozart’s Requiem Mass at the Sächsische Staatsoper in Dresden. The Requiem Mass is no. 15 in our collection of vocal scores.
As we finish uploading the full orchestra scores we’ve been working on for the past few weeks, we’ve pulled and begun preparing the rest of the purely instrumental music to be digitized under our current grant. This includes full scores for string orchestra and band, as well as children’s music, with works by composers including Bach, Grainger, Grieg, Holst and Schumann. There’s still plenty of music to digitize after this though in our collections of vocal music, including operas, choruses, cantatas, and sacred and secular songs.
Joseph Holbrooke’s Jamaican Dances for the Young are an example of some of the children’s piano music we’ll be uploading soon.
On Thursday, July 15th around 7:30 AM, UR Research was taken down for planned maintenance. Though scheduled to last only a few hours, a technical problem was encountered that required the site to remain down for most of the day. UR Research came back online that night around 11 PM.
Due to the problems encountered, UR Research had to be restored from a previously backed up version of the database, made Wednesday, July 14th at 5 AM. As a result, when users returned to the site the morning of Friday, July 16th, the most recent publications, created anytime after July 14th at 5 AM, were missing. It was as if the last 2 days had not happened at all.
The good news is that none of these publications have been lost. The majority were restored on Friday, and the rest will be back up when staff return to the library on Monday. If you are subscribed to RSS notifications for Sibley’s Digital Scores Collection, all notifications received on July 14th and 15th should be disregarded. Users who receive email notifications should disregard the email sent out the morning of July 15th. The publications these notifications refer to are, or will soon be, available again on UR Research, but under different URLs than originally listed.
Having stable access and persistent URLs to our online resources is very important to us and our online patrons, and we apologize for any inconveniences this has caused. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us.
As of this week, Sibley has scanned over 200,000 pages of music since our project started in May 2009. If printed out on traditional 8.5 X 11 paper and laid end to end, the pages would span a length of over 35 miles! That’s enough to take you from the front doors of Sibley Library to the far shore of Canandaigua Lake, a nice place to cool off on a warm day like today.