Scope and arrangement
The papers, music, and photographs gathered here represent the activities of Wallingford Riegger from 1905 to 1982. The bulk of the collection falls between 1950 and 1961, and the collection as a whole traces his musical career from his schooldays to his death. Alphabetical arrangement has been used for the music (scores and manuscripts) and correspondence, with others series divided by subject. Items marked with stars [*] (holograph manuscripts and published scores) were later additions to the Wallingford Riegger Papers, but have been incorporated into the collection for the sake of coherence and research convenience.
The files in the collection contain holograph scores and sketches; published scores (often with holograph corrections and revisions); ephemeral material; photographs; correspondence written to and by Wallingford Riegger, and correspondence addressed to members of the Riegger family; a performance file and performance register; and contracts and releases. The correspondence and performance file are the largest parts of the collection.
The sketches are principally Wallingford Riegger's hand-written copies of his shorter works. There are a few ozalid reproductions with corrections and also copies made in another person's hand. The majority of the sketches represent Riegger's early, more traditional compositions, which are an interesting contrast to later works which formed his reputation as an avant-garde composer.
Twenty-five personal copies of Riegger's compositions are included in the collection, some of which have been corrected and amended in his own hand. The types of corrections range from title or dedication changes to alterations to the music itself. Riegger continued to revise many of his works throughout his life, the process of which may be seen in these scores.
The ephemera division of the Wallingford Riegger Papers contains much valuable information about Riegger's life, both personal and professional. Riegger was an activist for causes: he wrote letters and organized the appeal for the preservation of Carnegie Hall in the the late 1950s when it was targeted for destruction. Riegger was also very concerned about the proliferation of nuclear weapons during the Cold War, and wrote articles and speeches for various organizations and letters to newspapers calling for test bans. Such political views were contrary to the prevailing U.S. government stance and brought him before the House Committee for Un-American Activities in 1957. The files in this series also provide information on Riegger's educational and familial background, contain copies of articles on musical matters written by Riegger, and include citations, celebrations and honors which were offered to Riegger during his later life. The ephemera series also holds condolence letters written to the family and newspaper articles detailing Riegger's accidental death.
The fifteen photographs of Wallingford Riegger are mainly formal portraits, probably taken for publicity purposes. There are some group pictures, such Riegger and others at the 1956 Yaddo Festival, and the Fort Worth Composers Board. The time period of the photographs (not all are dated) ranges from 1931 to 1960.
The correspondence consists primarily of letters written to Wallingford Riegger, usually regarding musical questions, performances, lectures, publications, and commissions. Although there are far fewer letters written by Riegger, many of the letters to Riegger have holograph rough drafts of his replies written on the back. The letters are useful to the researcher as they demonstrate the rise in interest in Riegger's works through performances and recordings, signifying the alteration in the musical world's perception of his work from that of a radical modernist to an established contemporary composer and elder statesman of American music. Letter dates range from 1922 to 1973.
A valuable component of the Wallingford Riegger Papers is an extensive performance file he kept over his lifetime. There are individual files for each composition which contain a variety of programs, reviews, and places and dates of performances. Sometimes information regarding the publishers of the piece, the institution where the manuscript is held, and the recording label were written on the original folders: these notes have been xeroxed and placed in the folders. Riegger also created a performance register which gives the dates and places of the first performances of his compositions.
The final Contracts and Releases series contains contracts for arrangements between Riegger and various publishing companies. Also included are lecture contracts, releases, ACA Library statements and releases, and publishing contracts. They have been preserved in the original order as maintained by Wallingford Riegger.
Altogether, the Wallingford Riegger Papers present an extensive record of the professional life and personal interests of this influential American composer who brought both serious ways of rethinking musical structure and humor to American twentieth century music. A clipping file with many reviews and tributes is maintained by the Music Research Division, complementing the archival collection.
The Wallingford Riegger papers are arranged in seven series: