We were delighted to read a very nice review of Diane Toutliatos-Miles’ A Descriptive Catalogue of the Musical Manuscript Collection of the National Library of Greece, in Reference Reviews (Volume 25, Number 5, 2011, p50-51).
From the review:
The Ancient Greeks transmitted much of their music theory and performance practices to the Byzantines, who in turn added to and disseminated this information to their western and eastern neighbours. Thus it is easy to see the importance of surviving manuscript sources to present-day practitioners and scholars. I quickly warmed to this seemingly formidable work on reading the author’s Preface where she admits that she never dreamed, when as a young Fulbright musicology student at the National Library of Greece, she would ever compile a catalogue: “But I soon realized that there was no catalogue of the music holdings and that it was necessary to rely on bibliographic references to manuscripts or stumble upon them like a needle in a haystack, requesting various numbered manuscripts without assurance that they contained music”. So she did something, and 34 years and 600 pages later we have an annotated catalogue of 242 music manuscripts from the eleventh century to the nineteenth.
More information about A Descriptive Catalogue of the Musical Manuscript Collection of the National Library of Greece
Diane Touliatos-Miles has recorded an excellent short video interview about her new book A Descriptive Catalogue of the Musical Manuscript Collection of the National Library of Greece: Byzantine Chant and Other Music Repertory Recovered.
The National Library of Greece (Ethnike Bibliothike tes Ellados) is one of the richest depositories of Byzantine musical manuscripts and is surpassed by its holdings in Greece only by the multitude of manuscripts found in the monasteries of Mount Athos.
In spite of being such a rich archive, the National Library has never published a catalogue of its musical manuscripts – not all of which are Byzantine or Greek. It is the purpose of this catalogue to recover or, in some instances, to present for the first time the repertory of the musical sources of the library.
This project has been twelve years in the making for Professor Diane Touliatos, involving the discovery and detailed cataloguing of all 241 Western, Ancient Greek, and Byzantine music manuscripts.
More about the book
Read the UMSL blog post about the book
John Smedley, Publisher for Ashgate’s History and Variorum list, will be attending the Byzantine Studies Conference 2009, 5-8 November 2009, in Sarasota, Florida.