Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Grove Music Online Is Now Called Oxford Music Online

The Grove Music Online database has recently been combined with some other databases and is now known Oxford Music Online—named after the Oxford University Press who owns the product.

Searching Oxford Music Online now will produce results for Grove Music Online, The Oxford Dictionary of Music and the Oxford Companion. It is possible to search all three databases separately or togther.

Grove Music Online still includes entries from the The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians (2nd Edition, 2001), The New Grove Dictionary of Opera (1992), and The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz (2nd Edition, 2001).

The Oxford Dictionary of Music provides concise explanations of musical terms and concepts, plus brief biographies of musicians and brief entries about famous musical works. The Oxford Companion to Music is very similar in coverage, but the articles are more expansive and often include a brief bibliography. Both of these resources focus their attention upon Euro-American classical music, though they do give cursory coverage to popular music, world music and jazz music and musicians.

Grove Music Online overlaps considerably with the preceding two resources in subject matter. It, however, provides much more detailed scholarly articles that can sometimes go beyond the understanding of the casual music lover. Since it is an online representation of more than 50,000 articles, its coverage is also much broader. Most articles include a substantial bibliography to assist with further research. Another very important feature of Grove Music Online are the listings of works included with articles about composers.

Oxford Music Online can be accessed at any San Francisco Public Library branch or the Main Library. It is also available anywhere the internet is available to San Francisco Public Library library card holders. From the Library’s homepage follow the Articles and Databases link. From there select the category Art & Music.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Amy Beach at the Panama Pacific International Exposition

Amy Beach (Mrs. H. H. A. Beach) was a regular fixture in San Francisco musical circles during 1915, the year of the Panama Pacific International Exposition. There were numerous salon concerts and receptions honoring Amy Beach and featuring her music throughout the spring and summer of 1915. Her Panama Hymn (op. 74) for mixed chorus and orchestra, organ, or piano, a setting of a poem by Wendell Phillips Stafford, was commissioned for the event. It was performed throughout the duration of the Exposition in an arrangement for military band.

Amy Beach was featured as a composer and pianist at the American Composers Day concert at the Festival Hall on August 1, 1915. Here she performed her Piano Concerto in C# minor, op. 45. On October 28, 1915 the San Francisco Quintet Club performed Beach’s Quintet in F-sharp Minor for Piano and Strings, opus 67 with the composer at the piano. Alfred Metzger wrote in the Pacific Coast Musical Review of November 16, 1915:

Mrs. Beach unquestionably understands how to create emotions of a stirring character. She played this piano part with splendid musicianship, securing from it every musical requirement which the score called for. Mrs. Beach is an executive as well as creative musician, and she is entitled to all the honor and respect which a grateful public is able to bestow upon her. She was surely deserving of the enthusiastic ovation which her audience so readily accorded her.

The San Francisco Quintet later renamed itself the Chamber Music Society of San Francisco and commission Beach’s Theme and Variations for Flute and String Quartet, op. 80.

The Chamber Music Society of San Francisco (1916)

We are very fortunate in San Francisco to have two performances of major works by Amy Beach scheduled for the near future.

The Ives Quartet, consisting of Bettina Mussumeli, violin, Susan Freier, violin; Jodi Levitz, viola; and Stephen Harrison, cello with perform the Quintet in F-sharp Minor with the assistance of pianist William Wellborn at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music on October 27, 2008 at 8:00 PM. For more information about the Ives Quartet, visit their website. For ticket information about this concert visit the website for the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

On Sunday, November 9, 2008 at 3 PM, Symphony Parnassus will perform Beach’s Piano Concerto with Dan Glover as the piano soloist and Dawn Harms guest conducting. They will perform at the Herbst Theatre at 401 Van Ness Street. Visit the Symphony Parnassus website for ticket information.

Remember to visit our exhibit, Amy Beach: Her Blissful Years in San Francisco, which will be displayed in the Steve Silver / Beach Blanket Babylon Room on the 4th floor of the Main Library through December 4, 2008.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Maloney’s Antiques & Collectibles Resource Directory

It’s possible to collect anything—anything that stirs ones fancy or rouses ones admiration. It may be teddy bears or Toby mugs, insulators, posters, majolica or jade, music boxes or musical instruments, or even motor cycles or automobiles of a certain vintage. But if you want to add to your collection, or to dispose of an item, or to simply establish its value beyond the worth you yourself attach to it, you will need Maloney’s.

Maloney’s Antiques & Collectibles Resource Directory, now in its 7th, rev. edition is the undisputed No.1 resource for collectors, dealers in antiques, attorneys, insurance companies, authors, lecturers and anyone with an interest in collectibles and personal property. It does not give definitions or illustrations, but provides the names and addresses of more than 20,000 collectors, buyers, dealers, experts and appraisers, clubs, societies and associations, museums and centers of specialized research. Many of these entries include websites and e-mail addresses. It also lists reproduction sources, repair/restoration services and suppliers of parts. For some collectibles it provides information on antiques buying trips, internet and gallery auctions, specialized periodicals and computer software for collectors.

The directory also offers resources that provide information about recognizing fakes and reproductions and reports on stolen art, along with listings of government offices that can give information on the laws governing items made from endangered species.

The directory lists more than 3,200 collectibles topics arranged alphabetically, many with See and See also directions. There is “User’s Guide” and a clear and simple index that will help to identify the most appropriate term. So if you collect teddy bears, for example, the first thing to do is to look for “Teddy Bears” in the index. There you will see it is a main heading, and looking in the body of the directory you will find:

Teddy Bears


Under each heading is a lengthy listing of Appraisers; Clubs/Associations; Collectors; Dealers; etc. with addresses and areas of expertise.

If you are a collector of jade carvings, for example, the index gives you “Jade” as a main heading and you will find:



If you are not interested in jade jewelry so you may try ORIENTALIA where you see the usual list of Appraisers, Dealers, Experts, etc. There is also a subheading, Chinese Items, with its own list of Appraisers and Dealers, but no heading to guide you to jade carvings.

You decide to go back and try GEMS & JEWELRY, Jade. But there, again, you find only the names of Dealers.

Still, there is no need to give up. Anyone among the appraisers and dealers in the categories you found has knowledge about jade, and some of them will undoubtedly be able to guide you to collectors, dealers and experts on jade carvings.

If you consider yourself an expert on a particular type of collectible (Jade Carvings, for example), Maloney’s invites you to submit your name and present your credentials and prove your knowledge on the subject. Be aware, though, that your claims will be thoroughly investigated before our name appears in the directory. Perhaps then you may even convince the author to include “Jade Carvings” as a directory heading.

Collectors, almost by definition, are emotional, even passionate. Maloney’s reminds its readers repeatedly in small bullet boxes not to forget basic courtesies: Do not call collect; remember time zone differences; include a stamped, self-addresses envelope if you asked for information through the mail, always ask if there are charges for the service you request.

The directory is not a finished, complete document. It is continually updated and refined to ensure both currency and inclusiveness.

Maloney’s values lies in the easy, clear access to a monumental amount of data and information The directory deserves its fame and reputation and David Maloney, its author, merits the appreciation and gratitude of all involved in the antiques and collectibles trade and related industries.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Amy Beach: Her Blissful Years in San Francisco

Amy Beach: Her Blissful Years in San Francisco, an exhibit of photographs, scores, sheet music and archival material focusing on the San Francisco works of classical composer Amy Marcy Cheney Beach, will be displayed in the Steve Silver Beach Blanket Babylon Music Center on the Library's Fourth Floor through December 4, 2008.

Amy Marcy Beach (Mrs. H. H. A. Beach) was one of the leading woman composers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Born September 5, 1867 in Henniker, New Hampshire she had precocious musical abilities. At age four she could play music by ear and had created her first piano pieces. She was endowed with perfect pitch – the ability to identify or sing and note on demand.

Growing up in the conservative Victorian New England her mother initially limited her access to music. Her talents were appreciated and encouraged, however, by her “Aunt Franc” -- Emma Frances Clement from San Francisco, who visited her in New Hampshire. In 1875 her family moved to Boston which afforded her the opportunity to advance as a pianist and become a successful performer. At 18 she married Dr. H. H. A. Beach. Acceding to her husband’s wishes she curtailed her concert performances, but with his encouragement she devoted her energies to composition.

She has been described by the Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians as “the first American woman to succeed as a composer of large-scale art music.” While best known as a composer of works for the piano, choral music and songs, she also wrote large scale works for orchestra (The Gaelic Symphony and a Piano Concerto) and nearly a dozen chamber works.

While Amy Beach spent most of her professional career in the Northeast she made couple of important sojourns to San Francisco that contributed to her development as a composer. In 1878 she visited her Aunt Franc and her cousin Ethel Clement. She later wrote of San Francisco as the “city, which I had first learned to love at ten years of age when I spent a blissful year there.” After leaving San Francisco she corresponded regularly with her aunt and cousin who to whom she dedicated several works.

After the death of her husband in 1910 she was better able to travel and promote her works and spent several years in Europe. Beach was invited to San Francisco in 1915 to participate in the musical activities of the Panama Pacific Exposition. Her “Panama Hymn” commissioned for this occasion was performed frequently through the exposition. Enjoying the company of her family in San Francisco she considered taking up permanent residence in our City, even registering to vote here in 1916. During this period she participated actively in the City’s musical and social life and composed several works.

Ultimately Amy Beach returned to the East Coast. She finished her days in New York, passing away there on December 27, 1944.

Amy Beach in 1878, photographed at Louis Thors' Photography Studio, 1025 Larkin Street, San Francisco (photograph courtesy of the Special Collections Department, University of New Hampshire)

This exhibit benefited greatly from the research of Adrienne Fried Block, in particular her book Amy Beach: Passionate Victorian (New York: Oxford University Press, 1998) and from Gail Smith’s collection The Life and Music of Amy Beach: The First Woman Composer of America. (Pacific, Missouri: Creative Keyboard Publications, 1992). We also received assistance from Roland Goodbody, manuscripts coordinator at the University of New Hampshire, The Special Collections Department of the University of Missouri, Kansas City, the MacDowell Colony, Marie Harris of Barrington, New Hampshire, Helene Whitson of Berkeley, and Carol James of San Francisco.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Dorothy Starr: San Francisco’s First Lady of Sheet Music

The Art, Music & Recreation Center is exhibiting images of sheet music from the Dorothy Starr Sheet Music Collection through December 6, 2008. Dorothy Starr (1908-1990) was the beloved proprietress of the Music Stand, a used music store on Hayes Street. The Friends of Dorothy Starr in cooperation with the Friends of the San Francisco Public Library acquired the stock of Dorothy Starr’s store in order to continue to make the music available to the musicians of San Francisco.

The Library has created a separate database for the Dorothy Starr Sheet Music Collection containing more than 30,000 catalog records. This database indexes vocal sheet music of all varieties, including Tin Pan Alley songs, showtunes, popular songs of all eras, folksongs, art songs, operatic arias and choral music.

The Dorothy Starr Sheet Music Collection is a special collection of the Library – all of the songs are carefully preserved and protected. Because much of the music is fragile, we prefer that musicians use our extensive songbook collection before consulting this collection. Nevertheless, we do make the music available to musicians when all are resources are exhausted.

The current exhibit is located in three wall cases on the Main Library’s Fourth Floor. The first case contains images of sheet music about or published in San Francisco. The second case presents cover images from the “golden age” of sheet music during the first half of the twentieth century. The third case presents covers from pop and rock era of the 1960s and 1970s.
The Library’s webpage has more information about Dorothy Starr and the Dorothy Starr Sheet Music Collection as well as the database for this collection.

A Duke Ellington medley from the Dorothy Starr Collection