An Annotated Catalogue of the Music Manuscripts in the Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, D.C

Article excerpt

REFERENCE BOOKS An Annotated Catalogue of the Music Manuscripts in the Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, D.C. By Richard Charteris (Annotated Reference Tools in Music, No. 6.) Hillsdale, NY: Pendragon Press, 2005. [xxix, 749 p. ISBN 978-1-57647-115-9. $86.00.] Appendices, indexes.

The collection at the Folger Shakespeare Library includes, according to its website, "materials related to the entire early modern age in the West, from about 1450 to the mid-1700s, and materials related to William Shakespeare and the theater, up to the present day" (http://www.folger.edu/template .cfm?cid=506 [accessed 31 May 2007]). Some scholars may not know about the wealth of music housed in the Folger collection. It is for this reason that Richard Charteris's An Annotated Catalogue of the Music Manuscripts in the Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, D.C. is a welcome reference source.

Charteris is a musicologist, writer, editor, and professor in Historical Musicology at the University of Sydney. He has examined and written informative entries for 168 manuscript items ("all the known music materials in the library," as he notes on p. ix of the preface). He notes that many of these items, which range from fragments to complete scores, have never come under scholarly scrutiny. One goal of this book is to bring to light these manuscript items; among these sources are letters from Felix Mendelssohn, Arthur Sullivan, Giuseppe Verdi, and singers such as Adelina Patti. The letters by Mendelssohn and Verdi, he explains, deal with those composers' settings of Shakespearean themes. Copyist scores of works by Verdi, Gioachino Rossini, Henry Rowley Bishop, and Louis Moreau Gottschalk (to name but a few) are also present in this diverse mix. There are also part-books with incidental music used for Shakespeare plays performed on the North American stage (see item 161) as well as volumes of manuscript copies of partial score and part books of stage works, incidental music and sacred pieces of British and Continental composers (see item 108). …