In the late 1820s, the Mendelssohn siblings, Fanny (1805–1847) and Felix (1809–1847), enjoyed some of their happiest years. Their social circle expanded, enriching their lives with gatherings filled with poetry readings, conversations, and music. Rehearsals for the now-famous revival of J. S. Bach’s St. Matthew Passion began at the family home in October 1828.
Robin McClellan's blog
These playlists open the Morgan’s music collections to your ears. The one rule is that every track is a piece of music that we hold, in physical form, in the Morgan’s vault—either a unique manuscript or a rare print edition. With thousands of scores both handwritten and printed, spanning six centuries of musical creativity, the Morgan’s collections offer plenty of playlist possibilities.
Let’s continue our tour of the music collections at the Morgan that we began in Part I. While the Morgan’s reputation for literary manuscripts, rare books, and master drawings is well established, a recent survey showed that only a quarter of our visitors expect to see a music exhibition when they come to the Morgan. In this two-part series, I aim to raise that number by taking you on a tour of highlights from our wonderful music collections, which span over a millennium of musical creativity.
What do you expect to see when you come to the Morgan? Rare books and master drawings? Cherished names like Austen, Tolkein, and Babar? Modern art, or contemporary photography? How about music?
It turns out that the first half of that list is more likely than the second. A recent survey showed that relatively few visitors think of the Morgan as a place for modern art or photography, despite our deep collections in those domains. And less than a quarter expect to see a music exhibition when they visit the Morgan.
In this time of social distancing, musicians can’t gather as they normally do, and there’s a lot of ensemble music going unplayed. In response, musicians around the world are staying safe and sane by digging into the solo repertoire. And we’re here to help!
These three pieces from the Morgan’s music manuscript collection tell a lovely little story, moving the listener from the cold bleakness of winter into the brightness of spring. They are also three of the most popular digitized manuscripts on our website.