In memory of Stephen Sondheim (1930-2021)

The enormously prolific and influential composer and lyricist, Stephen Sondheim, passed away on November 26, 2021. Known for his generosity in sharing his knowledge and tutelage in the field of musical composition, Sondheim came to SMU to receive the Meadows Prize in 1994 and spoke to students and the SMU community about his ideas on the creative process and a career in the arts.

Forbes cover with Hal Prince

Bequeathed to the Meadows School of the Arts, from the family of Ann Folz, 1950 SMU alumnae and donor to SMU Libraries, are posters from several musicals during Sondheim’s most prolific period of the 1970s and 1980s. Ann explained that her family was a friend of Hal Prince and they invested in his productions, some of which were quite successful – and others, not. These posters adorn the walls of Hamon’s Hawn Conference room.

If you would like to know more about Sondheim’s works and life, Music Librarian, Pam Pagels, offers a selection of suggestions, which includes three sound recordings from musicals depicted in the Hawn Conference room posters.

Sondheim Links

The Hamon Arts Library has access to an extensive array of items pertaining to Sondheim and his compositions. These include books, interviews, sound and video recordings, and music scores.

Sondheim as author, lyricist, composer:

Sondheim, Stephen. Finishing the Hat: Collected Lyrics (1954-1981) with Attendant Comments, Principles, Heresies, Grudges, Whines and Anecdotes. 1st ed. New York: Knopf, 2010.

https://smu.primo.exlibrisgroup.com/permalink/01SMU_INST/1tneolq/alma9933740273403716

Sondheim, Stephen. Look, I Made a Hat : Collected Lyrics (1981-2011) with Attendant Comments, Amplifications, Dogmas, Harangues, Digressions, Anecdotes and Miscellany. 1st ed. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2011.

https://smu.primo.exlibrisgroup.com/permalink/01SMU_INST/1tneolq/alma9939651093403716

Interviews with Sondheim

Horowitz, Mark Eden., and Stephen. Sondheim. Sondheim on Music Minor Details and Major Decisions. 2nd ed. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press in association with the Library of Congress, 2010.

https://smu.primo.exlibrisgroup.com/permalink/01SMU_INST/1k6aiab/alma9952897076603716

Scholarly books about Sondheim:

Gordon, Robert. The Oxford Handbook of Sondheim Studies. New York: Oxford University Press, 2014.

https://smu.primo.exlibrisgroup.com/permalink/01SMU_INST/6ctoa/alma9952873696103716

Swayne, Steve. How Sondheim Found His Sound. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2010. https://doi.org/10.3998/mpub.99247.

https://smu.primo.exlibrisgroup.com/permalink/01SMU_INST/12013t3/cdi_projectmuse_ebooks_9780472026357

Libretti and music scores:  

For libretti, you can browse in the ML50 .S705 section, with each work alphabetized by title.

For piano-vocal scores, look for M1503. S698, then each work alphabetized by title.

Sound recordings: (note: these selections include performers from original casts of the Hal Prince productions.)

From Pacific Overtures, “Pretty Lady,” original cast recording:

https://smu.naxosmusiclibrary.com/stream.asp?s=107585%2FSMUNMLpd13%2FFN6011_010

 

“Ladies Who Lunch” from Company, performed by Elaine Stritch:

https://smu.naxosmusiclibrary.com/stream.asp?s=107585%2FSMUNMLpd13%2FOY4463_003

 

“Send in the Clowns” from A Little Night Music, performed by Glynis Johns:

https://smu.naxosmusiclibrary.com/stream.asp?s=107585%2FSMUNMLpd13%2FOY4464_005

 

 

Octavio Medellin and the St. Bernard Church of Clairvaux mural project

The art of this church has been the largest and most important commission given to me in the 30 years that I have been pioneering art in Texas.” 

 

On December 7, 1958, the Dallas Morning News published the above quote by Octavio Medellin in reference to his commission at the Saint Bernard of Clairvaux Catholic Church, soon to open at 1404 Old Gate Lane in Dallas. The artist was commissioned to design two large murals on opposite sides of the church’s interior depicting the fourteen Stations of the Cross, each measuring eighty-seven feet in length and five feet in height. In collaboration with artist, Michael Kozlowski, Medellin began preliminary designs for the murals in the summer of 1957. For eight months the artists worked to create the large murals with small glass tiles. Together, the two artists hand cut the small smalti (sing. smalto), which are specialized mosaic tesserae made from richly colored glass. The glass was designed by specification and imported from Murano, Italy.   

Today, the preliminary drawings for these murals are housed in Bywaters Special Collections. In 1989, Octavio Medellin began donating his personal papers and works on paper to Bywaters Special Collections. This initial donation established the Octavio Medellin Collection. He continued donations, and in 1996 he gave his twelve large-format drawings, which were preliminary designs for the murals. The drawings had been tightly rolled for many years. To safely unroll the drawings and repair any damages that may have occurred over time, these works were sent to Carrabba Conservation, Inc. in Austin. Following conservation, the drawings were scanned and uploaded to the Octavio Medellin Art Work and Papers site in SMU Libraries Digital Collections:  https://www.smu.edu/libraries/digitalcollections/med 

On the Hamon blog in April, conservator, Cheryl Carrabba, will explain the conservation process for these drawings.   


Blog post: Ellen Buie Niewyk, Curator, Bywaters Special Collections.

Image: Photograph, Octavio Medellin and Michal Kozlowski, 8th Station of the Cross, Tesserae on Paper, Pre-Installation, Stations of the Cross Mosaic Murals, Saint Bernard of Clairvaux Catholic Church, Dallas, Texas, 1958, at http://digitalcollections.smu.edu/cdm/singleitem/collection/med/id/4381/rec/47  

Courtesy of Octavio Medellin Artwork and Papers, Bywaters Special Collections, Hamon Arts Library, Southern Methodist University. 

GCI online exhibition – Octavio Medellin: Maya-Toltec Temples and Carvings

The Bywaters Special Collections staff are happy to announce that SMU’s Central University Libraries is now a part of the Google Cultural Institute. BSC staff, Ellen Buie Niewyk, curated the first GCI exhibition with archivist, Emily George Grubbs. Octavio Medellin: Maya-Toltec Temples and Carvings, 1938 is an exhibition curated from the holdings of photographs and documents of the artist from Bywaters Special Collections. Take a look!


Thank you to Emily George Grubbs, Archivist, Bywaters Special Collections, for this post!

Image: Courtesy of Octavio Medellin Art work and Papers, Bywaters Special Collections, Hamon Arts Library, Southern Methodist University

WFAA Newsfilm Collection: Look what I found this week!

Greetings. My name is Jeremy Spracklen, and I am the moving image curator of the G. William Jones Film and Video Archive inside the Hamon Arts Library. One of my current projects is the digitization of the Library’s WFAA Newsfilm footage spanning from 1960 to 1977. Every other week I’m going to share a set of clips that I’ve found while working on the collection. They may not all be significant about the history of Dallas, but I still find them each fascinating for what they reveal about life in Dallas-Fort Worth 40-50 years ago. Continue reading “WFAA Newsfilm Collection: Look what I found this week!”

Pioneers of African-American Cinema

Kino Lorber recently released Pioneers of African-American Cinema, a five DVD set with extensive film notes.  An announcement of the collection’s release appeared in The New York Times (August 10, 2016), in which the film critic, J. Hoberman, stated that “there has never been a more significant video release” in cinema history.  This set includes films discovered and collected by the late SMU professor G. William Jones, which are part of the Tyler, Texas “race films” in the collection. It includes approximately 20 hours of feature films, shorts, interviews, trailers, and fragments.  Many of these films have only been circulated and seen in 16mm versions of inferior quality or have never been available for home video.  Each film has been digitally restored and reflects a wide-range of subject matter and styles.  Accompanying the set is an 80-page booklet with contributions from scholars.

Continue reading “Pioneers of African-American Cinema”

Janet Turner: Texas Printmaker

The current exhibition at Meadows Museum at SMU, Process and Innovation: Carlotta Corpron and Janet Turner, is a welcome reminder of earlier showings of Janet Turner’s prints in Dallas and elsewhere in Texas.  Don’t miss Turner’s remarkable prints now on loan from Hamon’s Bywaters Special Collections, along with other private lenders, including Jack and Beverly Wilgus -donors who have generously pledged their historic photographic collection to DeGolyer Library. Images by Beverly Wilgus, a former student of Corpron, will also be on view.

Continue reading “Janet Turner: Texas Printmaker”

Gems from the Tyler, Texas Black Film Collection

The Tyler, Texas Black Film Collection is one of the signature collections of the G. William Jones Film & Video Collection. This collection of race films from the 1930s and 1940s were discovered in an East Texas warehouse in 1983 on miraculously well-preserved nitrate stock and transferred to safety film in 1985. With the advent of digital technology, this important collection of film history has been digitally restored and made available in the SMU Digital Collections. We’ve written before about the travels of the collection’s most well-know title, The Blood of Jesus. Here are three lesser-known gems of the collection with clips.

Continue reading “Gems from the Tyler, Texas Black Film Collection”

The travels of The Blood of Jesus

One of the most significant of the Tyler Race Films is The Blood of Jesus, written by and starring Spencer Williams.  As with many of Williams’ films, this is a study of the continuing conflict between good and evil, holiness and godlessness, church and juke joint.  Williams filmed it with a largely amateur cast and with a minimal budget in 1941 for distribution to the 1200 or so movie houses that catered to all-black audiences at that time.   Despite the limitations imposed by its restrictively small budget, “The Blood of Jesus” was a financial success. Continue reading “The travels of The Blood of Jesus”

Octavio Medellin: Maya-Toltec Temples and Carvings, 1938 on display

Please stop by the second-floor gallery outside of Bywaters Special Collections and view how the portfolio XTOL by Octavio Medellin was researched by the artist in 1938 and later published in 1947 by the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts, which preceded the Dallas Museum of Art. Work began in 1938 when Octavio Medellin spent six months studying the Mayan ruins at Chichén Itzá and Uxmal, located on the Yucatán in Mexico, and documented his travels with 181 black and white photographs that he compiled into a scrapbook entitled Maya – Toltec, Temples and Carvings, 1938 [all photographs in the exhibition are reproductions]. Continue reading “Octavio Medellin: Maya-Toltec Temples and Carvings, 1938 on display”

Texas Artists digital collection recognized by global library collaborative

The Texas Artists: Paintings, Sculpture, and Works on Paper (“Texas Artists”) digital collection was recently featured the global library collaborative OCLC’s website. Texas Artists is one of Central University Libraries’ (CUL) 48 digital collections, available on the CUL Digital Collections website. CUL Digital Collections contain some 50,000 digitized images of works of art, manuscripts, imprints, and audio-visual materials from CUL’s special collections. OCLC.org, a global library cooperative of academic and public libraries, selected Texas Artists as one of its CONTENTdm Featured Collections for November.

Continue reading “Texas Artists digital collection recognized by global library collaborative”