Moravian Archives Portal

A new link appears under “Links to Related Sites” — Moravian Archives Portal.

Tom McCullough, Bethlehem Archives says: With archival facilities around the world, our employees collect and preserve the records of the Moravian Church and make them available to the public. This site serves as a central hub to guide patrons in locating, contacting, and visiting the facilities that hold records pertinent to their research.other page.

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Moravian Festivals Days Included in Records

Some of the manuscript sources designate a special festival day at which an anthem or series of anthems were sung. For example, at the top of the score of an anthem by Johannes Herbst the inscription reads:

Lobet den Herrn alle seine Heerscharen No. 333
Zur Einweyhung des neuen Kirchensaales in Litiz am 13.ten Aug. 1787 

This attribution merits subject headings for consecration of the new church Saal and for the Moravian August 13th Festival.  The list below provides the searchable subject headings used in records these Moravian collections. A full list of festivals of the Moravian Church Year includes these festivals as well as other festivals (Christmas, Easter, etc.). These phrases can be search in GemeinKat as a subject (su: Widows Covenant Day (Moravian Church)).

April 30           Widows Covenant Day (Moravian Church)

May 4              Single Sisters Covenant Day (Moravian Church)

May 12            Adoption of the Brotherly Agreement and Statutes (Moravian Church)

June 4              Older Girls Covenant (Moravian Church)

June 24            Little Boys Covenant Day (Moravian Church)

August 13       August 13th Festival (Moravian Church) [Spiritual Renewal]

August 17       Children’s Festival (Moravian Church)

August 19       Mission Festival [or other days]

August 29       Single Brothers Covenant Day (Moravian Church)

September 7    Married Choir Covenant Day (Moravian Church)

November 13  November 13th Festival (Moravian Church) [Chief Elder celebration]

“Singstücke beym Clavier zu Singen” leads to Newberry Library

Dave Blum: I’m currently working through the Lititz Manuscript Book Collection. Presently I am working through a set of 48 tunes many of which were copied by J.F. Peter in a manuscript book owned by Christian  Schropp (1756-1826).

The first entries are patriotic songs, but the collection soon turns to sacred songs in the same vein as Herbst’s songs to be sung at the pianoforte. In fact the title of the collection is “Singstücke beym Clavier zu Singen,” and there have already been a few tunes in common with the Herbst German collection. Several of these texts have been verses of hymns I’ve been able to identify in the Gregor Gesangbuch. When the composer is not known I’ve been searching RISM to see if I can find a match.

This morning I searched for information for the text “Ich find’ in meines Heilands Leiden,” but could not find the text either in the Gesangbuch or in HYMNARY.ORG. I then searched RISM to see if I could find the tune. I found a single match which shared the title in this collection:

Title on source: [cover title:] Charlotte L. | Schropp’s | Music Book. | 7.th March. 1800.
Material: • score: 16f.
Manuscript: 1800 (1800); 17,5 x 24 cm
https://opac.rism.info/search?id=000115011
This collection is at the Newberry Library in Chicago!

The aforementioned music collection at the Newberry Library names Charlotte L. Schropp. I don’t know if this is the same person. Could the L stand for Loskiel, her adoptive parents?

I found the following in: Schultze, Augustus. “The Old Moravian Cemetery of Bethlehem, Pa., 1742-1897.”  Transactions of the Moravian Historical Society, v. 5 (1899), 1899.

“Charlotte Sabina Schropp, 1787-1833, born at Nazareth, a daughter of John Schropp. She taught in the boarding school. After her father’s death she was adopted by Bishop Loskiel and wife, and showed them the loving attention of a daughter.”

Now, there was a bumper crop of Schropps. The name appears in the graveyard listings of Nazareth and Lititz, but this was the only Charlotte I could find. This may not be the right person, but it cannot be mere coincidence that the only other occurrence of this text and tune has someone with the same last name.

Diving into musical incipits (so to speak)

Musical incipits — how does one do this? We followed the leaders.  Since we wanted the musical incipits available to scholars where they work,  we selected OCLC’s WorldCat Discovery for bibliographic access; however, the WorldCat lacks software to display musical incipits.  The other place where music scholars work is RISM (Répertoire International des Sources Musicales), which does display musical incipits. So, it was a matter of making our bibliographic records with incipits in WorldCat and migrating our records to RISM so that the music incipits display.  Another huge factor in this decision was that the Moravian Music Foundation looked for a hosted IT solution that would not require servers and customization at the local level. So, it was not a matter of finding software that could use Finale or Sibelius files, we needed a whole solution.

Musical incipits were baked into the RISM cake from the beginning in the 1970s. An encoding system called, Plaine and Easie Code, is the international standard used for musical incipits in RISM records. It is suited for use without technology, but is made much easier to use with modern tools.  It is said that Plaine and Easie Code is neither plain, nor easy; but using online software Verovio makes creating the code almost as easy as playing the incipit on the piano. The RISM staff and programmers maintain the Plaine and Easie Editor for making  musical incipits.

Our project has a group of three music encoders, who add incipits into bibliographic records for each collection. Here is an example of musical incipits from the source catalog card transformed into an encoded musical incipit in our bibliographic record.

The source information:

Musical incipit encoded into the  bibliographic record:

The display of encoded information in RISM:

 

The incipit coders apply the codes from the Plaine and Easie Code standard using the Verovio Plaine and Easie Editor, then copy information into field 031 using the MARC 21 Standard for Bibliographic Information.  After the bibliographic record is loaded into the RISM database, it can be displayed to users.

Finding an aria within an oratorio and other such dilemmas

Moravian music collections are a mixed bag of printed editions, manuscript copies of printed editions, manuscripts of original music, manuscripts of excerpts and contrafactum.  By contrafactum I mean the substitution of one text for another without substantial change to the music. So these collections require access to all music down to the lowest movement level. This is essential for vocal music and slightly less essential for instrumental music.

For example, it is not uncommon to identify a favorite chorus from a Johann Heinrich Rolle oratorio, which has been copied as an anthem, perhaps the text has changed and maybe even the choral voicings (such as, SATB to SSTB). Some of these excerpts or contrafactum were copied and appear in multiple collections among the settlement congregations, including Bethlehem, Nazareth, Lititz and Lancaster in Pennsylvania, Dover in Ohio and Salem in North Carolina. The anthems were used during worship services, Singstunden or Love Feasts.

The question for catalogers is how to provide access to all the music, including sub-units such as movements of a larger work.  The answer leads to a complicated, multi-pronged solution.  First, all movements music be cataloged to gain access to the smaller sub-units; secondly, all movements must include musical incipits.  Matching musical incipits is the best way to identify musical works — independent from the texts. Musical  incipits are printed in standard music notation. They typically feature the first few bars of a piece, often with the most prominent musical material written on a single staff.  Here is an example from RISM.  In another post we will dive into musical incipits.

So, if the catalogers are providing complete access to all the music, what cataloging guidelines have been used?

  • Since we wanted to convert all information on the paper cards to online records, we chose OCLC and RISM as the two bibliographic utilities which are the best sources for discovery (bibliographic and musical).
  • Instrumental works are cataloged on one bibliographic record, with the movements noted in the table of content field (field 505) and the musical incipits encoded for each movement in separate fields (field 031).
  • Vocal works are cataloged on multiple bibliographic records, with one “parent” record for the entire work and separate “child” bibliographic records for each movement.  We include all movement titles in the “parent” table of contents (field 505), while the musical incipits are included in the “child” bibliographic record for each movement. The child record also includes additional subject access depending on the item. For example, subject headings, such as “sacred songs” or “choruses, sacred” or “canons, fugues, etc. (chorus), are added to child records.
  • The parent and child records need to be linked together, showing the relationship and providing access to each.
  • Sometimes, the manuscripts include hand-written notes with an alternate text, which is noted on the bibliographic records.  Sometimes, only the alternate text is given on the manuscript; in this case the musical incipit is the way to identify and bring together like works.
  • Use the parent/child bibliographic records model for collections of unrelated works too.

In our online catalog, GemeinKat/WorldCat Discovery, the feature of linking the parent and child records for display is still under construction.  In the RISM catalog the linking of parent and child records is an important feature (and is very cool).

An example of parent/child bibliographic records for a collection is illustrated well with the collection Zum großen Sabbath, 1768.  Johannes Herbst (a collection of 9 sacred songs). At the bottom of the page there is a list of the 9 sacred songs, each linked to an individual record for each song. Each individual song is, in turn, linked to the parent record.

 

Definition of Terms

GemeinKat: GemeinKat is the name of the online catalog for the Moravian Music Foundation. It is the catalog of the “Gemeinde” or the community; the 18th and 19th century communities include Salem, NC, Bethlehem, PA, Nazareth, PA, Lititz PA, Lancaster, PA, Dover OH.  The online catalog uses OCLC’s WorldCat Discovery customized for our use, but connected to the entire WorldCat.

Musical incipit: Musical incipits are printed in standard music notation. They typically feature the first few bars of a piece, often with the most prominent musical material written on a single staff.

 

 

RISM: The International Inventory of Musical Sources – Répertoire International des Sources Musicales (RISM) – is an international, non-profit organization which aims for comprehensive documentation of extant musical sources worldwide. These primary sources are manuscripts or printed music, writings on music theory, and libretti. They are housed in libraries, archives, monasteries, schools and private collections. A copy of the records from GemeinKat are being loaded into the RISM online catalog.

Moving data from paper records to online records

There are many decision that need to be made when transferring information from paper records to online records.  In this case, we are moving the information to MARC records that are readable in library catalogs.

  1. What does the paper record respresent? Moravian music cataloged during the NEH cataloging project in the 1970s have compact descriptions.  That is, all the manifestations of an entity are represented in one descriptive record.

For example, Christian Ignatius Latrobe’s cantata The Dawn of Glory has three manifestations: one printed organ-vocal score, one manuscript organ-vocal score and 16 manuscript parts.  See the description here: Dawn of Glory.

A conceptual decision was made for these instances that the printed music have spearate records from the manuscript music.  In this case, there was a record for Latrobe’s printed vocal score, plus a record for the manuscript vocal score with manuscript parts.

2. How does the catalog handle multi-part works (like a cantata), so that a single movement can be discovered? The catalogers made separate records for each movement of a work and included a musical incipit, so that the specific passage can be identified. These records were linked together by call number.  In the online catalog records are linked together with linking fields.

In the case of the Latrobe cantatas, using the manuscript vocal score and parts as an example, there is a parent record for the whole cantata plus 16 records for individual movements. I call them the children records.  So there is a parent record, plus 16 child records for the vocal score and parts.

Who is Hendel?

Philhamonic Society of Bethlehem PSB 95 is a folder with manuscript parts bearing this title information: Ihrer war viel tausendmal tausend — Das Lamm, das geschlachtet ist p. … di Hendel.  Who is Hendel?  A check of the WorldCat database, the Library of Congress  authority file and the RISM OPAC did not provide any clues.

Searching RISM by musical incipit did reveal the identity of the work and the composer. The musical incipits matched George Frederic Handel’s Coronation Anthem, no. 1,  Zadok the priest. 

This is a case of contrafactum where the Moravians used Handel’s music and applied another text.  Oh, yes, someone used a phonetic spelling of Handel’s name.

 

Ein Feste Burg ist unser Gott (J. S. Bach), 1824

Among the vocal works of the Philharmonic Society of Bethlehem is Folder 96. The title on the folder is Eine feste Burg ist unser Gott p. / Cantate / für 4 Singstimmen / mit Begleitung des Orchesters / in Musick gesetzt / von / John. Sebastian Bach. / Clavier Auszug.  Stamped: Moravian Church, / Choir Gallery / Bethlehem, Penna.  In the Gemein Music Account Book, John Christian Till was paid $3.00 on January 7, 1824 for copying parts for this piece.

How is it that a vocal work of J. S. Bach shows up in Bethlehem, Pa. in 1824? That is the question. It was in 1823/24 that Felix Mendelssohn was given a copyist manuscript score of Bach’s St. Mathew Passion by his maternal grandmother, Bella Soloman. The Mendelssohn family connection to the music of J. B. Bach goes back further to Felix Mendelssohn’s great aunt Sarah Levy (1761-1854), sister to Bella Soloman in Berlin. Sarah Levy, an accomplished musician and member of the esteemed Berlin Singakadamie, was devoted to works of J. S. Bach known through the association with her teacher Wilhelm Friedemann Bach. The Berlin Singakademie hired Carl Friedrich Zelter, who was also Felix Mendelssohn’s tutor and responsible for extensive music education programs and music training institutions throughout Germany. The rich musical environment had a profound impact on the Moravians and the music they performed.

According to the Dienerblätter, John Christian Till (1762-1844) was not known to have visited Germany or Europe. In 1824 he was the organist for the Germein in Bethlehem. The question remains — How is it that a vocal work of J. S. Bach shows up in Bethlehem, Pa. in 1824?

Felix Mendelssohn: Reviving the Works of J.S. Bach 

(https://www.loc.gov/item/ihas.200156436/)

 

A Collection of Motets by Various Composers Becomes a Set of 7 Motets by Known Composers

The cataloging cards indicated “Collection of Motets” by “Various Composers”.  Three motets were by Christian David Jaeschke; three motets were anonymous and the last motet was by Samuel Friedrich Heine.

A note on the folder was inscribed: “7 Motetten … presented to the C.M. of Beth by their former active member the late Bishop Hüffel–a noted Violoncello players & father to Mrs. Sam. Reincke dec-d”.  This note was the key to discovering what this collection really is.

Deconstructing the information, we know that “C.M. of Beth” is the Collegium Musicum Bethlehem, here in the United States.  “Bishop Hüffel” is Christian Gottlieb Hüffel, 1762-1842, who was born in Kleinwelka, Germany, studied in Nieksy and Barby, was called to service in Dublin, Ireland, and Berthelsdorf, was a teacher at the Pädagogium in Niesky and Barby, called to service in Bethlehem, Pa. (1818 through 1826), called to service in Bethlesdorf and Herrnhut. Of most importance for this puzzle is that he was in Niesky and in Bethlehem.

The three motets by Jaeschke matched the descriptions for the same motets in RISM.  Two motets in RISM are in a collection of 6 motets, all by Jaeschke, from the Christiansfeld, Denmark Moravian archives. The three anonymous motets also match three motets in the Christiansfeld set of motets.  So, we now know that 6 motets are by Jaeschke and the 7th is by Heine.

In addition to identifying the composer, records for additional copies of these motets indicate that they are from the Nieksy Collection, that they are inscribed with the name C. G. Hüffel and dated 1786. Recall that Bishop Hüffel taught in Niesky from 1784 to 1789. He obviously made an additional copy of selected motets that he brought to America. He must have left the manuscripts with his daughter, Charlotte Sophia, who married Samuel Reincke. This manuscript was presented Collegium Musicum Bethlehem after Hüffel’s death.

Furthermore, the 6th motet, “Leben wir, so leben wir den Herrn” has an inscription on an inner folder: “Dank=P[salm] zur Einweih[ung] des Neuerbauten Ki[rche] in Bethl[ehm] am 20st [en Mai] 18[06].  This motet was sung at the dedicated of the new church (now Central Moravian Church) in Bethlehem on 20 May 1806.