Showcase Archive

Autograph Manuscripts of Composers

The path from the germ of a musical idea to the final form of a musical work of art has traditionally followed a fairly predictable route: from manuscript sketches to draft to fair copy to published work.

Manuscript sketches ordinarily consist of the basic elements of one or more musical ideas; these different ideas may or may not be directly related to each other.

The composition in draft form may contain either the entire work, one or several movements, or, at the very least, significant sections of the work representing thematic continuity. It is not at all uncommon for composers to produce several drafts of a work, each representing a different evolutionary stage of composition, and to continue to refine these drafts over time, making significant corrections or alterations as musical ideas mature.

When the work has reached its final state, the composer will prepare a so-called “fair copy” to be provided to the printer for publication. Many composers continue to make alterations or corrections to their manuscripts even at this stage.

In addition, there are a number of further stages that relate to the work’s transition from fair copy to published work. These can involve proofs, corrected proofs, pre-publication copies, and first and revised editions, all of which represent ongoing refinements in the composer’s efforts to fully realize the musical work.

In today’s “high-tech” world, it is not surprising that many composers use computer programs such as Sibelius or Finale rather than pencil and paper to compose; as the intermediary “creative” stages are often deleted in computer composition, much of the evolutionary process involved in the creation of works of musical art can thus be completely lost.

It is an honor to be privy to the compositional journey as represented by the various forms of autograph musical manuscripts. It is our hope that this special exhibition of modern-era composers’ manuscripts will highlight the importance of collecting and preserving these artifacts as an important testimony to the creative process.

Showcase - Singers Photographs


Photographs of singers provide a frozen point in time that, at their best, capture both the character that the singer is portraying as well as the particular attributes of the performer.

In addition, role portraits offer documentary evidence of many dimensions of a specific performance, including costuming, staging, and lighting effects.

Some of the photographers represented in this exhibition were at the height of their field at the time they worked with their subjects, and many of the best images stand alone as works of art in their own right.  

Highlights include:

Caruso, Enrico  1873-1921
Fine large original photograph by A. Bert in Paris, signed "Enrico Caruso" and inscribed to the prominent Moravian soprano Maria Jeritza, ca. 1919.

Chaliapin, Feodor  1873-1938
Fine very large original photograph of the distinguished Russian bass in formal attire.

Clément, Edmond  1867-1928
Original photograph of the noted French tenor from the studios of Aimé Dupont in New York, ca. 1910.

Farrar, Geraldine  1882-1967
Original photograph of the noted soprano in the title role of Ambroise Thomas's Mignon, signed.

Kipnis, Alexander  1891-1978
Fine large original silver print photograph of the distinguished Ukrainian-born American bass by the noted Hungarian-born photographer Laszlo Willinger (1909-1989), Vienna, ca. 1935. Signed by the photographer.

Melba, Nellie  1861-1931
Attractive photograph of the soprano in formal attire by the Walery studios, London.

Metropolitan Opera
A fine collection of 192 photographs of prominent singers from the late 19th and 20th centuries, many of whom were associated with the Metropolitan Opera.

Mishkin, Herman  1870-1948
45 original photographs of prominent early 20th-century singers by the noted New York photographer Mishkin, official portraitist of the Metropolitan Opera from 1908-1932 and foremost portrayer of Golden Age opera singers.

Swarthout, Gladys  1900-1969
Bust-length portrait photograph, signed in full and inscribed. Also signed by the noted photographer, Herbert Mitchell

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