Scope and arrangement
The Jack Briece Papers contain documents primarily of a personal nature that provide not only details of Briece’s life but a snapshot of the landscape of contemporary music and art in America during the 70s and 80s. While Briece’s interests focus on music and the emergence of the video medium, they overlap with the plight of other independent contemporary artists searching for creative outlets and financial support.
Most of this collection contains Briece’s diary, much of which was written on index cards that document his personal study of astrology, planetary movements, and the I-Ching. However, of particular interest are the music series and the records surrounding Briece’s travels in Finland which can be found within the professional papers and correspondence series. The music materials demonstrate Briece’s use and personal development of conventional as well as modern and experimental orchestration techniques. The evidence related to Finland represents a particularly active and creative time for the composer, and the culmination of much of his work up until his untimely death.
The collection lacks examples of works on video although descriptions can be found in the proposals folder within the series of professional papers, also in the publicity series, and descriptions of the pieces Monkey Eighty and Summer Music can be found in the music series.
The Jack Briece papers are arranged in eight series:
- 1966-1988 and undated
This series contains correspondence both of a personal and a professional nature, and the distinction between the two is often blurred. Documents related to Briece’s endeavors in Finland are the most prevalent. There are also numerous letters and cards to and from family and friends.
- 1945), 1960-1988 and undated
This series contains assorted personal information such as documentation of Briece’s memorial services including the guest book and sympathy cards, notes, identifications, high school year books, and other personal documents.
- 1974-1988 and undated
The materials in this series are unique as Briece recorded his daily journal on index cards and their content deals almost entirely with his astrology studies, and his inquiries of the I-Ching. While most of these cards are undated, when he does record the date he gives the year along with the associated Chinese astrological animal. Also contained herein are annotated annual astrology guides and other personal writings.
- 1963-1987 and undated
This series contains numerous and varied examples of Briece’s compositions. There are two examples that were not composed by Briece: Face, by Erkki Jokinen, and Missa de angelis, by Jouko Linjama.
Many of the scores employ conventional orchestration procedures, such as: Passacaglia and Allegro (1966), Plutonian Rabbit (1987), or Nine Dragons (1987). Other pieces demonstrate modern and experimental techniques using diagrams and/or verbal directions: Lemon Fresh Joy (1971), and Music Walk for Heinz Klaus Metzger. There are examples of both types of approach throughout Briece’s career. Other pieces, like Monkey Eighty, were composed as video music works; these pieces are meant to accompany video, but, in some cases, may also be performed instrumentally.
The series also contains notes and studies related to Brice’s process and development as well as an assortment of unidentified scores or pages of music.
- 1960-1988 and undated
The series of professional papers contains information related to Briece’s work. There is significant documentation of his endeavors in Finland, examples of his writings are contained herein. There is also much biographical information including his resumes and publicity materials.
- 1975-1988 and undated
This series contains assorted financial documents, including bank statements, bills, receipts, tax papers, and other financial records.
- 1982, 1985 and undated
This series contains photographs that were left almost entirely unidentified. It appears that these are mostly Briece’s own, personal snapshots primarily of friends and family. There are also numerous slides and negatives.
- 1970-1988 and undated
The series of oversized materials contains mostly larger musical scores as well as an assortment of clippings, publicity materials, and personal writings.