Penn Library

Hidden in Plain Sight:
Musical Treasures in the Penn Library

Curated by Marjorie Hassen

Otto E. Albrecht Music Library
University of Pennsylvania

Music Manuscripts: 19th & 20th Centuries

Table of Contents
Manuscript Collections:
Manuscript Collections:
Sheet Music
Conducting Scores
Music Manuscripts:
15th-18th Centuries
Landmarks of Music Theory

Béla Bartók, 1881-1945
String Quartet no. 3
Autograph Manuscript, 1927
Ms. Coll. 35

In 1925, in an effort to encourage the composition of new chamber music, the Musical Fund Society of Philadelphia sponsored an international competition to elicit works scored for three to six instruments. Three prizes, totaling $10,000, were offered and at the close of the competition on 31 December 1927, 643 compositions had been submitted for consideration. The judges included the conductors William Mengelberg, Fritz Reiner, and Frederick Stock; Thaddeus Rich, former Philadelphia Orchestra concertmaster; Samuel Laciar, music editor of the Philadelphia Public Ledger; and Gilbert Reynold Combs, President of the Society and founder of the Combs Broad Street Conservatory.

Among the composers who submitted works was Béla Bartók, who entered his third string quartet. After hearing twenty-one semifinalist works in performance, the judges awarded the $6,000 first prize jointly to Bartók and the Italian composer Alfredo Casella, for his Serenata, op. 46. The quartet was premiered, along with the other winning compositions, in a concert at the Bellevue-Stratford Hotel on 30 December 1928. The original performance materials remained in the possession of the Society until 1991 when Gretel Ormandy, Eugene Ormandy's widow, acquired them as complement to the Library's Ormandy Collection. The gift included an autograph score of the quartet, a second manuscript score, partially in the hand of the composer, and a set of manuscript parts, with Bartók's autograph corrections.

Last update: Wednesday, 14-Jun-2017 16:39:50 EDT
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