Henry Cowell collection of noncommercial recordings

Collection Data

These noncommercial music and spoken word recordings were collected by Henry Cowell and primarily consist of his own compositions and lectures, as well as numerous field recordings of folk and ethnic music. Additional recordings contain music by modern Western composers, including unique recordings of works by John J. Becker.
Cowell, Henry, 1897-1965 (Creator)
Becker, John J (Composer)
Dates / Origin
Date Created: 1940 - 1953
Library locations
Rodgers and Hammerstein Archives of Recorded Sound
Shelf locator: *L (Special) 88-33
Composers -- United States
Composition (Music)
Folk music
Music -- United States -- 20th century
Field recordings
Acquisition: 1968 Cowell, Mrs. Sidney Gift
Biographical/historical: Henry Cowell (3/11/1897 - 12/10/1965) was an American composer of symphonic and chamber music. He studied violin with Henry Holmes, and composition with E.G. Strickland and Wallace Sabin at the University of California in Berkeley. He also studied with Walter Damrosch at the Institute of Musical Art in New York, and with Charles Seeger. Cowell became the first American composer to visit Russia in 1928, after which, he studied ethnomusicology with Erich von Hornbostel in Berlin as a Guggenheim fellow. These persuits led him toward extensive study of ethnic musical materials. Cowell made great use of tone clusters. He systematized the clusters as harmonic amplifications of tonal chords, and devised logical notation for them. He ultimately applied tone clusters to compositions for instrumental works (in addition to piano works), and also used them in many of his symphonic works.
Physical Description
Extent: 315 sound recordings : analog (203 sound discs, 103 sound tape reels, 9 sound cassettes)
Type of Resource
Sound recording
NYPL catalog ID (B-number): b14388192
MSS Unit ID: 20469
Universal Unique Identifier (UUID): 841ff6a0-2c6b-0136-67e9-03114965abbf
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