It might seem such a small thing, but I’m thrilled to see that someone has recently uploaded Czerny’s School of Legato and Staccato Op. 335 to the IMSLP. The interest in Op. 335 for ballet people is that it has several of the exercises that feature in Riisager’s ballet Etudes, including the silhouette barre and the adage, plus several other great bouncy pieces suitable for allegro. For my taste, one of the most underrated dance music composers of the 19th century.
I’ve already posted about my joy at finally tracking this down at the University of London Library (The Joy of Libraries & My Czech mate Czerny) but it’s so frustrating that unless you do that kind of sleuthing, you’re left with the same few sets of exercises circulated by publishers. The IMSLP is probably one of the greatest resources in the world for music, because it helps to bring such perfectly preserved, rare and usable materials to a worldwide audience, all free of charge.
Despite my enthusiasm for new technology, nothing beats my enthusiasm for books and libraries when it comes to materials. The other day at the RAD library, I had in my hands the orchestral parts for a variation from Giselle that belonged to Karsavina, all written by hand, perfectly preserved, and making as much sense to me as music as they did to the orchestras that would have played them nearly a hundred years ago. I could give them to an orchestra now, and we could recreate the music at a moment’s notice.
Wot not books?
It frightens me when libraries are threatened with closure (see the Wot No Books campaign for a wonderful protest). Who fills the gap and controls the information flow and culture when they go? Rupert Murdoch? A political party? Wikipedia? Microsoft? And if access to books is no longer free and shareable (welcome to Kindleworld), what does this say about who may learn?