Scope and arrangement
The Alan Shulman papers consist of the composer’s scores and personal files containing correspondence, concert programs, photographs, clippings, writings and posters. They include files documenting his time with the NBC Symphony under Arturo Toscanini and his founding of the Violoncello Society. Among the figures appearing in the correspondence and/or photographs are Toscanini, Artur Rodzinski, Dmitri Mitropolous, Pablo Casals, Jascha Heifetz, Bruno Walter, and Talullah Bankhead.
The papers contain full scores and parts for Shulman’s compositions, often from initial sketches to final scores and parts, many with performance notes. These include the Concerto for Violoncello and Orchestra, Mood In Question, Theme and Variations for Cello and Chamber Orchestra, and Top Brass, among many others.
Also among the scores are Shulman’s unpublished, jazz-influenced arrangements for string quartet; arrangements for string quartet with bass, guitar and harp recorded by the New Friends of Rhythm, as well as a few recorded with vocalist Maxine Sullivan; songs co-written with Steve Allen; and published cello music by other composers, with Shulman's annotations.
The collection has a substantial audio component, as well as one visual item of interest: a 16mm film, labeled “A Day Off With Toscanini, River Tigre, Buenos Aires, Sylvan Shuman 1940.”
The audio contains recordings of Shulman's music and arrangements. These include unpublished discs, open-reel tapes or cassettes of the following pieces: Interstate 90, The Corn Shuckers, Theme and Variations for Viola and Orchestra, Concerto for Violin and Orchestra, A Laurentian Overture, The Three Faces of Glen Cove, Suite Miniature, Four Diversions, Waltzes for Orchestra, Hatikvah, Ripe for Plucking, Concerto for Cello and Orchestra, Suite Based on American Folk Songs (and an open-reel tape of Shulman’s arrangement of Benjamin Franklin’s String Quartet, on which that suite is based), Mood In Question, An Elizabethan Legend, Rendezvous, Ricky Tic Serenade, A Nocturne for Strings, Valse, Kol Nidre, Elegy In Memoriam - Felix Salmond, Tess’s Lament, Top Brass, Jazz Grab Bag, Popocatepetl, Suite for String Orchestra, Woodstock Waltzes, Popper H.S. #6, Suite for Solo Cello and Pastorale and Dance for Violin and Orchestra. There is a commercial disc release of Shulman’s song Too Late The Spring, performed by Barbara Mcnair, and one commercially released disc of an arrangement by Shulman, performed by Risë Stevens.
There are many recordings of Shulman in performance with various groups. These include one unpublished disc, one published disc and three published open-reel tapes of the Stuyvesant Quartet; an unpublished open-reel tape of the Shulman brothers performing the Brahms Double Concerto; two unpublished discs of the New Friends of Rhythm, as well as three-open reel tapes and one cassette of that group (likely copied from discs); an open-reel tape of the Haydn-Sinfonia Concertante; two commercially released albums by the Symphony of the Air; one commercially released album by the Philharmonia Trio, as well as several open-reel recordings of the trio; five open-reel tapes of the Juilliard Quartet; several open-reel recordings of the 1972 Felix Salmond Memorial Concert; and two commercial disc releases by Felix Slatkin. There are two open-reel tapes of Violoncello Society concerts and two of the “Powerdermill Prevue” concerts held at Shulman’s home in Scarsdale, New York.
There are also disc recordings and open-reel tapes of performances of Sylvan Shulman as either solo violinist or as conductor, both unpublished and commercially released, including many tapes of the Great Neck Symphony Orchestra.
There are many unpublished discs and open-reel tapes that are either completely unlabeled or labeled with very little information other than date. Other discs and open-reel tapes contain content unrelated to Alan Shulman or his brother, or contain material copied from commercially-released discs. Shulman’s cassette collection contains many copies of commercially-released music, but also has possibly unique items such as the 1986 Cello Congress Gala closing concert and a performance at a Chicago Cello Society meeting in 1973.
Inquiries regarding audio/visual materials in the collection may be directed to the Rodgers and Hammerstein Archives of Recorded Sound (firstname.lastname@example.org). Audio/visual materials will be subject to preservation evaluation and migration prior to access.
The Alan Shulman papers are arranged in two series:
This series contains subject files including biographical material, correspondence, photographs, clippings, concert programs, diplomas, posters, and Shulman’s writings. All content is organized in one alphabetical listing. The largest portions of the series are devoted to Arturo Toscanini and the NBC Symphony, the Violoncello Society, concert programs and general correspondence.
The Toscanini files document Shulman’s time in the NBC Symphony. They contain tour itineraries, programs, correspondence from Toscanini and an essay by Shulman describing the experience of playing under the conductor. They also contain papers regarding the Symphony of the Air, documenting its history and the cancellation of one of its State Department-sponsored tours; and a file on reunions in the 1980s of musicians who played with Toscanini.
The Violoncello Society files contain correspondence with the cellist and educator Lev Ginsburg and the publisher Alexander Broude, and general correspondence and information on the Society’s activities, particularly during Shulman’s years as President (1967-1972).
The programs cover Shulman’s entire career and beyond; his son Alan, the collection donor, contributed programs dating up to 2005. They consist primarily of programs on which Shulman’s music was performed, but also include programs for the Kreiner and Stuyvesant Quartets and other chamber groups. Programs for the NBC Symphony and Symphony of the Air can be found with the Toscanini files.
The general correspondence consists of letters from family members, fan mail, and alphabetical and chronological files that Shulman maintained. Correspondents include Jascha Heifetz, Dmitri Shostakovitch, Janos Starker, Fritz Reiner, Artur Rodzinski, Dmitri Mitropolous, Pablo Casals, Bruno Walter, Talullah Bankhead, Jerome Kern, and many other musicians, teachers and fellow cellists.
The subject files hold correspondence and information regarding some of Shulman’s compositions. Each is listed by title, with the exception of The Three Faces of Glen Cove and Interstate 90, which are both covered in the file titled Band Works. Additional information for some pieces can be found with their scores in Series II. The file for Concerto for Violin and Orchestra contains the transcript of a 1983 phone interview of Shulman by Oliver Daniel regarding Dimitri Mitropoulos. Other works with information in this series include The Chinese Nightingale, Concerto for Violoncello and Orchestra, In Memoriam – Sophie, A Laurentian Overture, Mood In Question, Suite for String Orchestra, Theme and Variations for Cello and Chamber Orchestra, and Theme and Variations for Solo Viola and Orchestra. The file for the song Too Late The Spring contains correspondence from Steve Allen.
Further topics in the subject files include Shulman’s cello teacher Emanuel Feuermann (the file contains a photograph of him in performance with Jascha Heifetz); chamber groups Shulman played with (the Stuyvesant and Haydn String Quartets, and the Philharmonia Trio); notable cello educators; clippings documenting some of Shulman’s composition premieres and cello performances, including some of his earliest public appearances when he was a child; a selected discography; and Shulman’s work with Skitch Henderson.
Biographical and publicity material on Shulman can be found in two files: Biographical Material and David Ewen (a publicist). Shulman’s writings include Some Observations on Polytonality; music criticism written for local newspapers in Westchester County, New York; and letters on music and local civic issues to the editors of various New York areas newspapers and magazines.
The photographs mostly contain publicity shots and include solo portraits of Shulman (1946-1967), the National Orchestral Association (ca. 1928), the Kreiner Quartet (mid-1930s), the NBC Symphony (1942), the Philharmonia Trio (mid-1960s), and Shulman with Tallulah Bankhead (1952). The posters are advertisements for appearances by the Philharmonia trio and other chamber groups.
This series contains of sketches, scores and parts for Shulman’s compositions (II.A) and arrangements (II.B), as well as published cello music by other composers, with Shulman’s notes (II.C). Compositions comprise the bulk of Shulman’s output. They include everything from solo piano and chamber works to string quartets, string orchestra and full orchestral pieces, and a variety of solo literature with piano or orchestral accompaniment. There are also educational piano and string pieces written specifically for beginning students. Shulman’s parallell career as an arranger was significant, producing an innovative body of arrangements for string quartet, bass, guitar and harp, as well as for more traditional jazz groups with added string sections. Some of these are adapted from classical works, but many more are arrangements of popular songs of the pre-World War II era. Some were likely recorded by either the New Friends of Rhythm or by Maxine Sullivan.
Shulman’s collection of cello music by other composers includes works by Bach, Beethoven, Brahms and Schumann, among others.