Collection of Rare Music Scores Given to the Gabe M. Wiener Music & Arts Library


NEW YORK, July 31, 2008 Julius Zsako, Columbia Ph.D. ’75 and former professor emeritus at Seton Hall University, has bequeathed to the Gabe M Wiener Music & Arts Library a collection of 54 volumes of first and early engraved editions of the works of Ignaz Josef Pleyel (1757-1831), German composer and music publisher.

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Of the works by Pleyel, 19 are the first known copies in United States libraries. For several other titles, the gifted copy is more complete than any known U.S. copy. In addition to the Pleyel works, the gift includes a copy of the engraved parts to Joseph Haydn’s String Quartets, nos. 1-83, an 18th-century edition also reported for the first time in a U.S. Library.

The majority of the scores include quartets, trios, and other chamber ensembles, reflecting research related to “The String Quartets of Ignace J. Pleyel,” Dr. Zsako’s dissertation. “It is especially rewarding to be given rare materials related to the intellectual pursuits of Columbia scholars,” said Elizabeth Davis, Head of the Gabe M. Wiener Music & Arts Library.

Ignaz Josef Pleyel was a prolific composer, music publisher, and a piano maker. He founded a major publishing house and a piano factory, and his compositions achieved widespread performance in Europe and North America. The enormous popularity of Pleyel’s music during his lifetime is reflected in the testimony of contemporary journals. The small town of Nantucket, Massachusetts, then still a whaling port, formed a Pleyel Society in 1822 ‘to chasten the taste of auditors’, according to a newspaper announcement.

In addition to his forty years in the classroom, Dr. Zsako was director of the Arts Council Concerts and manager of its popular concert series at Seton Hall. At its eighty-fourth concert in 2003, Dr. Zsako was honored with flowers, commemorative plaques, and applause in appreciation for his leadership of the series. A translation of Georg Muffat’s [1653-1704] Observations on the Lully Style of Performance by Zsako and his Columbia University classmate Kenneth Cooper was published in The Musical Quarterly in v. 53 (1967): 220–45.

Columbia University Libraries/Information Services is one of the top five academic research library systems in North America. The collections include over 10 million volumes, over 100,000 journals and serials, as well as extensive electronic resources, manuscripts, rare books, microforms, maps, graphic and audio-visual materials. The services and collections are organized into 25 libraries and various academic technology centers. The Libraries employs more than 550 professional and support staff. The website of the Libraries at www.columbia.edu/cu/lweb is the gateway to its services and resources.

Established as a separate Music Library in 1934 and named for Gabe M. Wiener (CC ‘92) in 1997, the Gabe M. Wiener Music & Arts Library occupies most of the 7th floor of Dodge Hall. Its onsite collection totals over 60,000 printed items, encompassing monographs and serials on Western and non-Western music, as well as music scores; over 20,000 sound and video recordings in multiple formats; and several hundred microforms of scholarly interest. Particular strengths include early printed works on music theory, scholarly score editions, and 18th- and 19th-century opera editions. Also collected are scores and recordings by over 300 living composers.

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