Ottawa/Washinton, May 3 (Canadian-Media): Library of Congress (LOC), the world’s largest library celebrates 100th anniversary of Leonard Bernstein’s birth, and for the first time has made available online musical manuscripts and scrapbooks from the legendary composer’s personal and professional archives housed in library, media reports said.
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LOC, the main research arm of the U.S. Congress and the home of the U.S. Copyright Office, offers access to the creative record of the United States—and extensive materials from around the world—both on-site and online. It is
Snapshot of Bernstein’s extensive collection at the Library would be revealed in its web presentation.
The public can now access for free more than 3,700 items, including photos, writings, correspondence, scripts, musical sketches, scrapbooks and audio recordings.
These digital offerings have nearly tripled the existing content in the LOC.
Music Division at LOC also contains an unparalleled collection of manuscripts, scores, books, libretti, music-related periodicals and microforms, copyright deposits and music instruments.
Manuscripts of note include those of European masters such as Mozart, Beethoven and Brahms and those of such American masters as George and Ira Gershwin, Aaron Copland, Samuel Barber and Charles Mingus.
“Bernstein arguably was the most prominent musical figure in America in the second half of the 20th century,” said Mark Horowitz, curator of the Leonard Bernstein Collection. “A polymath—a Renaissance man—he was a composer, conductor, pianist, educator and social activist. He composed musicals, ballets, operas.
Materials from Bernstein’s involvement in the civil rights movement, his time as a student at Harvard and scripts for the “Ford Presents” and “Omnibus” programs are all included in the new online content.
Other highlights include: “West Side Story” outlines, synopses and notes, including an early synopsis titled “Romeo and Juliet” in which the gangs pit Jews against Catholics as opposed to Anglos versus Hispanics; •
“West Side Story” audition notes, including Bernstein’s comments about Warren Beatty’s audition for the role of Riff (“Good voice – can’t open jaw – charming as hell – cleancut”);
All of Bernstein’s musical sketches for “Candide,” including “Glitter and Be Gay” (titled “Cunegonde’s Jewel Song”); “I Am Easily Assimilated” (originally titled “Old Lady’s Jewish Tango”) and “Overture”;
Materials relating to the Black Panther Party fundraiser that resulted in the famous Tom Wolfe article in New York Magazine, “Radical Chic: That Party at Lenny’s”; also included are letters from Coretta Scott King, Gloria Steinem and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis; A sound recording of Bernstein’s sermon, “Hope in the Nuclear Age,” presented at the All Souls Unitarian Church, Jan. 27, 1985.
Library’s Music Division consists of one of the largest and most varied of an estimated 400,000 items of Bernstein Collection
In addition to music and literary manuscripts, personal correspondence, audio and video recordings, fan mail, business papers, photographs and datebooks, there are unexpected items that range from passports and license plates to batons and the suit in which Bernstein conducted his New York Philharmonic debut in 1943.
The conductor’s collection is also one of the most heavily used in the Music Division. Among its researchers is Bernstein’s own daughter, who is working on a memoir. “It’s beyond gratifying to see that not only musicians and scholars can access these materials, but also students of all ages, and in fact virtually anyone on the planet with an internet connection,” said Jamie Bernstein. “The word I so often find myself using to describe my father is not a word he knew in his lifetime: broadband. The Bernstein collection has this same broadband quality.”
In addition to the expanded website, the Library will reportedly celebrate the Bernstein centennial with a spring mini-fest of activities May 12-19 drawn from the richness of the collection.
Excerpts from three of Bernstein’s major stage works—the musical “1600 Pennsylvania Avenue” and the operas “Trouble in Tahiti” and “A Quiet Place” and other rarities from the Library’s collection would be presented on Friday, May 18.
Rarely seen materials will be on display on Saturday, May 19, which would reportedly provide an illuminating portrait of Bernstein.
Included in the display would also be informal behind-the-scenes presentations and performances which will uncover fascinating details about “West Side Story,” “Candide” and “On the Town.”
Also included in the celebration would be film screenings, which include “On the Waterfront,” a National Film Registry classic scored by Bernstein.