HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS

The Boston Symphony Orchestra Archive

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The Boston Symphony Orchestra Archive primarily consists of scores. There are over two hundred bound volumes of nineteenth-century manuscript copies of mainly Italian opera scores with full orchestration, and a few printed editions. There are thirty-eight volumes of Rossini’s work, including Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Semiramide, and Tancredi; twenty-one volumes of Donizetti compositions, including L’Elisir d’Amore, Lucrezia Borgia, Gemma di Vergy, Lucia di Lammermoor and Roberto Devereux and Bellini’s last opera, I Puritani, as well as La Sonnambula. Among the eight volumes of Giuseppe Verdi’s operas are Luisa Miller and Il Trovatore. There are seven volumes of Meyerbeer, as well as many operas by lesser-known composers of the period. Seventy-three volumes contain excerpts from various operas.

Among scores commissioned by the trustees for the fiftieth anniversary of the orchestra in 1930, most of which are signed by the composers, are Arthur Honegger's Symphonie, Ottorino Respighi's Metamorphosean Mode XII, Igor Stravinsky’s Symphonie de Psaumes, Serge Prokofiev’s Symphony no. 4, and Paul Hindemith’s Konzertmusik für Streichorchester und Blechbläser. Other twentieth-century scores include Randall Thompson’s The Last Words of David commissioned in honor of Dr. Serge Koussevitsky’s twenty-fifth year as director of the orchestra in 1949, and Symphony no. 8 by Walter Piston, dedicated to Erich Leinsdorf in 1965.

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