Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Alfred Hertz and the San Francisco Symphony

Mr. Hertz at Cloyne Court. May 17th, 1942
image source: Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, from the Online Archive of California

The San Francisco Symphony in the Library’s Collections
, a display in the Steve Silver Beach Blanket Babylon Room on the Fourth Floor of the Main Library, prominently features material about Alfred Hertz.

Alfred Hertz was the second conductor of the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, leading the organization from 1915 until 1930. After resigning from the orchestra he continued to live in San Francisco until his death in 1942.

Born in Frankfurt in 1872, Hertz began his conducting career with various orchestral and opera companies in Germany. In 1903 he became the conductor of German language repertoire for the Metropolitan Opera company in New York, and was in San Francisco on tour with the Met during the 1906 earthquake. He was invited to come to San Francisco after conducting at the Panama Exposition held in Los Angeles in 1915. He was introduced to the San Francisco public as the conductor of the Beethoven Festival during the summer of that year.

Being the conductor of its professional orchestra, Hertz was at the center of San Francisco's musical life. He received a great deal of adulation for bringing a high standard of musical performance to San Francisco, but also was at times the focus of controversy (largely owing to being German with a proclivity to play German music during a nationalistic period like World War I).

Hertz should be remembered as the individual who did the most for professionalizing and raising the musical standards of the San Francisco Symphony. When he arrived, the members of the Symphony had been assembled from the various hotel and theatre orchestras around the City. Many of the musicians continued to work in these outside venues limiting their endurance and attention. Hertz persuaded the Symphony’s management to pay competitive wages and made the musicians sign exclusive contracts during the Symphony season.

As conductor of the San Francisco Orchestra he lead the orchestra in recording for the Victor Recording Company. Concurrent with his tenure in San Francisco, he also conducted frequently in Los Angeles. He was the first conductor of the Hollywood Bowl orchestral concerts in 1922 and has been called the "Father of the Bowl."

He and his wife Lilly found California life to their liking. He wrote in his Memoirs (serialized in the San Francisco Chronicle between May 3 and July 26, 1942) about experience on the West coast that "I have worked hard but, invariably, I have found time to play as well. Fascinating motor trips, the balmy weather of the South, the lazy life on the beach -- they have all become an important part of our life. No wonder with deep gratitude in our hearts we have learned to call this playground home."

Alfred Hertz, photograph by Peter Stackpole image source: Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, from the Online Archive of California

Also be sure to visit Music for a City, Music for the World, an exhibit prepared from the archives of the San Francisco Symphony, on display in the Jewett Gallery in the Library's Lower Level through January 9, 2012

Monday, September 12, 2011

Music For a City, Music For the World: 100 Years with the San Francisco Symphony

We are entering the centennial season of the San Francisco Symphony. The Library is pleased to join in this celebration with exhibits and programs through the 2011-2012 season.

On the Lower Level of the Library in the Jewett Gallery there is the exhibit Music For a City, Music For the World: 100 Years with the San Francisco Symphony. This exhibit traces the Symphony's history using objects from their own archives. The Symphony has also commission a book written by Larry Rothe that shares its title with the exhibit.

Here, on the Library's Fourth Floor, the Art, Music and Recreation Center has prepared a smaller exhibit The San Francisco Symphony in the Library’s Collections. This exhibit draws from programs, posters, newspaper clippings and other ephemera from our historical files. Both exhibits will be available to view through January 9, 2012.

On Tuesday night, September 13, 2011 at 6 PM we will present our opening program with the Symphony. Larry Rothe and Symphony archivist Joe Evans, the curators of the Jewett Gallery exhibit, will appear in conversation in the Koret Auditorium. This event will be followed by a book signing with Larry Rothe.

All programs at the Library are free and open to the public. Supported by the Friends of the San Francisco Public Library.

We have many copies of the new book on order. Place a hold to be notified of its arrival.

Music for a City, Music for the World: 100 Years with the San Francisco Symphony by Larry Rothe (Chronicle Books, 2011).

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Craft Resources At The Library - Brown Bag Lecture

Get Crafty! Save Money! Be Green!

Do you love to knit, sew, scrapbook? Want to make your own gifts this holiday season and throughout the year? It saves money and you can transform things you already have around the house. Bring your lunch and join us for this inspiring class where you'll learn about the library’s collection of craft books and magazines, and some surprising projects found within their pages.

This lunchtime Brown Bag Lecture will happen on Monday, September 12, 2011 from 12-1 PM in the Latino / Hispanic Community Meeting Room on the Lower Level of the Main Library.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Bay Area Sabor

Malo album cover, from the American Sabor Website

American Sabor: Latinos in U.S. Popular Music is on display in the Skylight Gallery on the 6th floor through November 13, 2011. This exhibit views the contributions of Latino musicians through the lens of five regional scenes - New York, Miami, Texas, Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area.

The Art, Music and Recreation Center has long documented the musical life of the Bay Area. We have documented San Francisco Bay Area Latino musicians both through our book collections and through the Bay Area Musicians and Performing Artists newspaper clipping files we have created.

We have books about sisters Joan Baez and Mimi Fariña, Linda Ronstadt, and Carlos Santana. The Art, Music and Recreation Center also has newspaper clipping files on Latino musicians and groups like Francisco Aguabella, Altazor, Azteca, Joan Baez, Bobi and Gladys Cespedes, Francisco Cruz-Sandoval, Carlos Duran, Eddie Duran, Mimi Fariña, Pete and Sheila Escovedo, Los Microwaves, Juanita Newland-Ulloa, The Nuns, Orquesta Batachanga, Linda Ronstadt, Carlos Santana, John Santos, Los Tigres del Norte, Cal Tjader, and Tower of Power.

The American Sabor website includes a page for “The San Francisco Sound.” This includes audio and video excerpts as well as biographies of Joan Baez, Michael Carabello, Pete Escovedo and Azteca, Malo, Carlos Santana, Los Tigres del Norte, Cal Tjader, and Tower of Power.

Reading list:

Joan Baez and Mimi Fariña

And a Voice to Sing With: A Memoir by Joan Baez (Summit Books, 1987).

Positively 4th Street: The Lives and Times of Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Mimi Baez Fariña, and Richard Fariña (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2001).

Linda Ronstadt

Linda Ronstadt by Vivian Claire (Flash Books, 1978).

Linda Ronstadt, It's So Easy! by Mark Bego (Eakin Press, 1990).

Carlos Santana

Carlos Santana: Back on Top by Marc Shapiro (St. Martin's Press, 2000).

Soul Sacrifice: The Santana Story by Simon Leng (Firefly Pub., 2000).

Space Between the Stars: A Memoir by Deborah Santana (One World/Ballantine Books, 2005).

Garage Bands from the 60's, Then and Now, stories written and edited by Bruce Tahsler (Teens N' Twenties Pub., 2007) covers the East Bay scene including the Tower of Power. Gimme Something Better: The Profound, Progressive, and Occasionally Pointless History of Bay Area Punk from Dead Kennedys to Green Day, interviews by Jack Boulware and Silke Tudor (Penguin Books, 2009) covers the punk scene including The Nuns.

See earlier blog entry: Garage Bands from the 60's, Then And Now (March 2, 2011)