Monday, November 15, 2010

the big score

After two years of successful score-hunting at the annual Northwestern University library book sale (my big win last time was a Denson edition of The Sacred Harp, the very week I was writing a paper on it), I was skeptical that a public library book sale would have anything of value. But this isn't any ordinary public library system: this is Berlin. The library I regularly use, the Amerika Gedenkbibliotek, has a full wing devoted to music, filled with loads of CDs, many scores and a ton of books (the complete writings of Dahlhaus! five books on Bernd Alois Zimmermann alone!).

So I was a little disappointed on Saturday that their book sale, which took place at the main library in Mitte, only took up one medium-sized room. One table had several boxes of scores over and under it---it seemed like slim pickings. But going through each of those boxes was like going through Christmas presents---actually more like rifling through a box of Christmas presents and picking out the best ones.* I turned down interesting scores by Dessau, Boris Blacher, Liszt, and full Verdi and Rachmaninoff opera scores in favor of the elite fifteenI finally decided upon, at 2.50 Euro a pop (plus a copy of Adorno's writings on Beethoven):

Boulez, Le marteau sans maitre
Berg, Altenberg Lieder (piano-vocal)
Cherubini, Requiem in C-minor
(my shout-out to Muti)
Peter Maxwell Davies, Prolation for Orchestra
Henze, Das Flos der Medusa Oratorio
Henze, Musens Siziliens Concerto for Chorus, 2 Pianos, Winds, and Percussion
Meyerbeer, Les Huguenots (piano vocal) (my shout-out to Botstein)
Penderecki, The Devils of Loudon
Stravinsky, The Fairy's Kiss
Szymanowski, Fourth Symphony
Michael Tippett, King Priam
Weill, Concerto for Violin and Wind Ensemble
Zimmermann, Musique pour les soupers du Roi Ubu
Zimmermann, Enchiridion

And my crown jewel:
Zimmermann, Die Soldaten (piano vocal)

The best 40 Euro I will ever spend.

*Having no Christmas present experience, I must assume that it goes something like this.