Scope and arrangement
The Alexander Steinert Papers consist primarily of the composer’s collection of published scores, the majority of these arranged for piano and four hands. The scores represent prominent Late Romantic composers, especially from France and Russia, along with a few Classical pieces and Operatic overtures by Wagner and Strauss. A few of Steinert’s own compositions are included as well. There is much information about Steinert’s professional career represented in scrapbooks containing newspaper clippings with reviews of Steinert’s works and reports on his enterprise. A small selection of correspondence and contracts details a few professional associations. There are also notebooks in which Steinert had begun to organize a presentation of the highlights of his career. There is little information of a personal nature included in these materials but some information can be gathered from the scrapbooks where some of the newspaper clippings include a note regarding Steinert’s family.
The Alexander Steinert papers are arranged in three series:
- 1920 - 1977
This series consists of correspondence and contracts that span Steinert’s career, and various notebooks that Steinert used to collect and organize information regarding details and highlights of his career. There are also notes for changes and corrections to be made to various scores he was working on and notebooks to catalog his personal library of recordings and printed music. The correspondence is comprised almost exclusively of letters addressed to Alexander Steinert, including letters from Eugene Ormandy, Music Director of the Philadelphia Orchestra, and letters from various affiliations and professional associations. There are just two letters sent by Steinert, these are addressed to his legal counsel in 1951 regarding claims against ASCAP. The contracts folder contains various agreements between Steinert as an independent contractor providing services to various associations principally as a composer, arranger, or conductor. These contracts involve organizations such as Houghton Mifflin, Doubleday, RCA, and CBS. There is also a request from CBS to acquire footage belonging to Steinert, of Gershwin at Fire Island, in Hollywood, and scenes from the rehearsals of the first performance of Porgy and Bess.
- 1888 - 1963
Series II represents the bulk of the material in the collection and principally consists of published scores that belonged to Steinert; many of these are autographed. The scores represent the work of prominent composers and composers with whom Steinert studied personally, including Charles Martin Loeffler and Vincent d’Indy, as well as composers, such as Gabriel Faure, Maurice Ravel, Claude Debussy, and Florent Schmitt, representative of both the Paris Conservatoire and the broader community of modern music in Paris in the early 20th century. There are also a number of scores by Russian composers including Balakirev, Rimsky-Korsakov, Borodin, Liapunov, and Glazunov, as well as major Classical and Romantic composers from Mozart to Brahms, and major opera composers including Wagner and Strauss. The majority of the scores have been orchestrated for piano and four hands; the instrumentation for each piece is indicated in the scope note. Most of the scores are printed in French or German, sometimes paired with Russian. There are also a few of Steinert’s own compositions and two song books from The Hasty Pudding Club, a social group and theater club at Harvard, of which Steinert was a member. Steinert and other members composed the content for the club’s annual musical production and the musical numbers were collected and bound. Many of the books are fragile.
- 1909 - 1977
There are five different scrapbooks each containing newspaper clippings along with some performance programs and there are occasional annotations next to these inserts. Most of the clippings are reviews of performances of Steinert’s works. The books are very fragile and the pages delicate.