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The Arbor Consort Presents an Afternoon of Songs

Saturday, April 1, at 2:00 p.m.musical staff elab

arbor consort imageEnjoy a colorful array of pop hits of the 16th century in original a cappella form from Italy, Spain, France, Germany, and the golden age of Elizabethan England.  Each song will be introduced with a short narrative describing the historical context and why the song is interesting and notable.  Following the musical presentation, Consort members discuss life during the renaissance, and describe their clothing: ruffs, partlets, doublets, farthingales, bum rolls, cauls, coifs and all.  Sign-up online.

Conductor Strikes Chord...

mphilnanSee a profile of Michigan Phil's Nan Washburn, Music Director and Conductor, as reported by Joanne Maliszewski,, March 9, 2017.  For information about the Michigan Philharmonic, please visit their website.

Love and Letters

I would gladly write to you only by means of music, but I have things to say to you to-day which music could not express.

Johannes Brahms to Clara Schumann, 1854.

From the book: Letters of Clara Schumann and Johannes Brahms, published in 1971, edited by Berthold Litzmann, and available via MEL (from several Michigan colleges and universities).

Maria Popova's February 20, 2017 article (viewed via Flipboard) provides details on letters, friendship, composers Robert Schumann & Johannes Brahms, and wife, mother, and virtuoso pianist Clara Schumann.  Also included is a poem entitled "Romantics, Johannes Brahms & Clara Schumann" by Lisel Mueller.

See our catalog for the music of composers Robert Schumann and Johannes Brahms.brahms schumann

Anatomy of a Song

New to the collection...

anatomy songThe Oral History of 45 Iconic Hits that Changed Rock, R&B and Pop, by Marc Myers, Grove Press, 2016.

Every great song has a fascinating backstory.  In Anatomy of a Song, based on the ongoing Wall Street Journal column, writer and music historian Marc Myers brings to life five decades of music through oral histories of forty-five transformative songs woven from interviews with the artists who created them.

For Example:
After receiving an honorable discharge from the army in 1968, John Fogerty does a handstand and reworks Beethoven's Fifth Symphony to come up with "Proud Mary."  Joni Mitchell remembers living in a cave on Crete with the "mean old daddy" who inspired her 1971 hit "Carey."  Elvis Costello talks about writing "(The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes" on the train to Liverpool.  Cyndi Lauper picks a sci-fi film title out of TV Guide for her hit, "Time After Time."

Ronald Isley, of the Isley Brothers, discusses "Shout."  Barry Mann, Cynthia Weil & Bill Medley comment on "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'."  Rod Stewart tells of an early experience, then the feel of the song he wanted which resulted in "Maggie May."  Also included: "Reach Out I'll Be There" by the Four Tops, "Whole Lotta Love" by Led Zeppelin, "Midnight Train to Georgia" by Gladys Knight and the Pips, and "Big City" by Merle Haggard.

Click on Book image to link to catalog.

Rhapsody: Silver Strings Dulcimer Society


Sunday, March 12, at 3:00 p.m.

Enjoy an Irish-Themed concert presented by this acoustic string band featuring the hammered dulcimer, along with mountain dulcimer, guitar, fiddle, banjo, string bass, mandolin and other instruments.

Sponsored by Friends of the Library.

Sign-up online.

World War I Sheet Music

From the Library of Congress...  Link to the collection here.

berlins buglesongFrom 1914 through 1920 the Library of Congress acquired over 14,000 pieces of sheet music relating to what ultimately became known as the First World War, with the greatest number coming from the years of the United States' active involvement (1917-1918) and the immediate postwar period.  America's entry into the war came at a time when popular songwriting and the music publishing industry, centered in New York's Tin Pan Alley, was at its height and a new musical form known as "jazz" was emerging.  The sheet music collection represents the intersection of this rich output of popular song and the consciousness of a nation at war that was itself emerging, as a major world power.

In addition to commercially published songs, the collection also contains "music of the people" - the work of amateurs in vanity press editions and unpublished manuscripts.  The essay "World War I Sheet Music at the Library of Congress: America's War, as Viewed by Publishers and the Public" discusses the historical context of the collected songs and their reflection of American society during the war. 

Music & Comedy


Auld Lang Syne


Historical information about the song is available at, as is information about Robert Burns...

In 1788 Robert Burns sent the poem ‘Auld Lang Syne’ to the Scots Musical Museum, indicating that it was an ancient song but that he’d been the first to record it on paper. The phrase ‘auld lang syne’ roughly translates as ‘for old times’ sake’, and the song is all about preserving old friendships and looking back over the events of the year.

Click through to BBC America and their selection of Twelve Notable (And Slightly Odd) Versions of "Auld Lang Syne" posted by Fraser Mcalpine in 2012.

Twenty (20) renditions of Auld Lang Syne reside in our Adult Music CD Collection for your listening pleasure.  Artists range from Andrew Bird to Sinatra & Martin, from the US Army Chorus to Chris Botti & Yo-Yo Ma, from Lisa Lambe of Celtic Woman to Keith Harkin.  Check our catalog for availability.

On the 4th Day of Christmas...

merrychristmasSee Peter Armenti's 21 Dec 2016 Library of Congress From the Catbird Seat  blog post for an interesting and scholarly review of lyrics: Is it "Four Calling Birds" or "Four Colly Birds"? A "Twelve Days of Christmas" Debate.

See also Christmas Sheet Music dated from the 1800's in the Library of Congress American Memory Project.

Note... Christmas music is still available to borrow from our Library Music CD collection (check the catalog), or check Hoopla for digital downloads.

Questions & Answers


Ten Music Industry Questions Asked & Answered, courtesy of Chris Cooke, CMU Insights Blog, 14 Dec 2016.

Subjects include copyright, sales and social media.

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