Rare Book & Manuscript Library

Tibor Serly papers, 1905-1992

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Series I: Writings and Music by Serly

Series I includes unpublished drafts of books written by Serly, and musical scores and sketches in his personal collection. The series is arranged into two subseries: Writings by Serly and Musical Scores.

Subseries 1: Writings by Serly, 1905-1978

Serly spent the better part of his last decade researching and writing a biography of Béla Bartók, a theory text about melody, and a personal memoir, all of which are included here in draft form. The extensive materials for the Bartók biography include: Serly's translations from Hungarian of musical essays written by Bartók; interviews with friends and family of Bartók; and unpublished historical and musicological essays written by Serly about Bartók. The Bartók material also contains the only known copy of a 16mm color home movie, without sound, of an informal performance by Bartók from 1944; with documents and correspondence from the 1970s between Serly and the Bartók estate concerning ownership of the film. Subseries 1 also includes the final draft versions of the unpublishedRhetoric of Melody,with voluminous correspondence between Serly and his co-author, Norman Newton, on the development of the text.

Box 2 Unfinished Bela Bartok Biography, Drafts and Notes

Box 2 Typescript draft, (2 Folders)

Box 2 Original Bartok writings, translated by Serly

Box 2 Misc. research notes, interviews, and translations

Box 2 Typescript draft essays for biography

Box 2 Bartok 16mm home movie, 1944

Box 2 Correspondence and contracts related to Bartok film

Box 5 Rhetoric of Melody written with Norman Newton,, 1976-1978

Box 5 Bound final drafts

Box 5 Correspondence with Norman Newton and others

Box 3 Notes and research

Box 3 Other Writings

Box 3 Musings of an Angry Musician --notes and essays for memoir

Box 3 Modus Lascivus --notes, drafts, microfilm, publicity

Box 3 Miscellaneous program notes for Serly compositions

Subseries 2: Musical Scores, 1925-1978

A collection of original scores and arrangements from the entire length of Serly's career. The works include ballets, songs, chamber music, symphonies, and experimental music, all in different states of completion: parts, conductor scores, revisions, sketches, microfilms, and transparencies. Several pieces also demonstrate Serly's expertise as an arranger, with works by Bartók, Bach, Schubert, and his father, Lajos Serly.

Box 5 Songs--manuscript and printed scores

Box 5 "Angie Mimey"

Box 5 "Birthday Song"

Box 5 "Forest Lullaby"

Box 5 "Forget-Me-Not" (Lajos Serly, arr. by Tibor Serly)

Box 5 "Lady Alice"

Box 5 "Longview Song"

Box 5 "The Needle's Eye"

Box 5 "Oh, Miss Mary"

Box 5 "The Old Man Who Lived in the Wood"

Box 5 "The Old Woman and the Preacher"

Box 5 "Slave Song"

Box 5 "Two Little Sisters"

Chamber, Orchestral, and Theatrical Works

Box 6 Adagio and Scherzo for Flute Solo--score

Box 6 American Quodlibet--score

Box 6 Canonic Prelude for Four Harps--scores

Box 6 Castout--ballet score

Box 6 Concerto for Viola and Orchestra--score

Box 6 Divertimento for Wind Instruments--parts

Box 6 Five Consovowels in Modus Lascivus--notes, parts, score

Box 6 Five Pieces for Trombone and Piano--parts

Box 6 Five Pieces for Violin and Piano--parts

Box 6 40 Etudes--score

Box 6 Fughatta for Orchestra--(Bach, arr. by Serly); manuscript parts and score

Box 6 Ghidonis Sonata for Strings--score, parts

Box 6 Instruments of the Symphony Orchestra--notes, score, parts, transparencies

Box 6 Into the Heavens (Celestial Music)--score

Box 7 Menuet in Bi-Modals--printed score

Box 7 Mischianza--bound ballet score

Box 7 Modus Lascivus--chart

Box 7 Piano Sonata in Modus Lascivus--parts

Box 7 The Pleiades--score

Box 7 Rondo Fantasy in Stringometrics--score

Box 7 Scherzo--(Schubert, arr. by Serly); score

Box 7 Sea-side Suite--scores

Box 7 Sonata in B for Violin and Piano--photocopied score

Box 7 String Quartet--parts

Box 7 Suite from Mikrokosmos--(Bartok, arr. by Serly); parts

Box 7 Symphony in Two Movements--bound score

Box 7 Tap Dance From Six Dance Designs--parts

Box 7 Twilight--score

Box 7 Viola Concerto--(Bartok, arr. by Serly); microfilm and printed score

Box 7 The Wayworn Traveler--score, parts

Box 7 Xmas Quodlibet--score

Box 5, 7 Miscellaneous parts and scores--manuscript and printed

Series II: Personal and Business Materials

Series II contains business documents, correspondence, a scrapbook, and personal effects of Serly's life and career. The series is arranged into four subseries: Correspondence, Business and Publicity Materials, Memorabilia, and Photographs.

Subseries 1: Correspondence, 1931-1992

Personal and business-related correspondence, mostly from the 1970s, arranged alphabetically. Among the correspondents are Geza Frid, Lawrence Gilman, James Laughlin, and Peter Bartók. Subseries also includes the correspondence of Miriam Serly concerning Serly's career with scholars, publishers, and the Bartók estate through the 1980s; and three folders of reproductions of Serly's brief correspondence with Bartók and Zoltán Kodály, and more extensive correspondence with the music critic Henry Pleasant. These copies were obtained by Serly from other archives.

Box 1 Arranged Correspondence, 1937-1978, (2 Folders)

Box 1 Carbons and Photocopies of Replies, 1931-1978

Box 1 Letters by Others, 1936-1985

Box 1 Letters to Miriam Serly, 1979-1992, (2 Folders)

Box 1 Serly/Bartók Letters, 1939-1944 (photocopies), 1939-1944

Box 1 Serly/Zoltán Kodály Letters, 1930s-1966 (photocopies), 1930s-1966

Box 1 Serly/Henry Pleasant Letters, 1931-1951 (photocopies), 1931-1951

Box 1 Unidentified Correspondence

Subseries 2: Business and Publicity Materials, 1925-1988

Serly thoroughly documented his performing and composing career, best represented in an oversized scrapbook spanning his career, from music school concerts in Budapest from 1925; through his active period in the 1930s and 1940s, playing under Leopold Stokowski, Eugene Ormandy, and Arturo Toscanini; to his later years in the Pacific Northwest. Scrapbook includes an almost complete record in programs of performances of Serly's work, as well as clippings, reviews, and personal letters. Also, provides a record of Bartók's reception in New York during his exile and tributes to him after his death. Other notables in the scrapbook include Kodály, Ezra Pound, and Geza Frid. Subseries 2 also contains a file of newspaper clippings kept by Serly; a collection of clippings about Ezra Pound, mostly from the 1970s; a folder of orchestra programs from Serly's career; and original copyright forms and contracts for his published work.

Flat Box 749 Scrapbook, 1925-1978

Box 4 Copyright Forms and Contracts

Box 4 Orchestra Programs from Serly's Career, 1935-1988

Box 4 Newspaper Clippings about Serly

Box 4 Clippings on Ezra Pound, collected by Serly

Box 4 General business and publicity materials

Subseries 3: Memorabilia, 1911-1978

A small collection of personal items including: certificates, awards, and medals presented to Serly; membership cards; the 1911 naturalization certificate of Lajos Serly and his family; postcards and items collected by Serly in Hungary; and official documents pertaining to Serly's accidental death in London, including his death certificate.

Box 3 Memorabilia, 1911-1978

Subseries 4: Photographs, 1935-1978

Two folders of photographs and negatives: the first contains photographs related to Bartók and his family, including several excellent images of casual moments from Bartók's time in America, as well as the last photograph (and negative) of Bartók, standing in front of Columbia University with his family. The second folder includes professional, publicity, and personal photographs, arranged chronologically, of Serly throughout his career, from 1930s orchestra photos through a 1976 trip to Hungary that Serly took with his wife to visit Kodály, and personal photographs of Serly at the end of his life in Longview, Washington.

Box 4 Photographs related to the Bartók family

Box 4 Professional and personal photographs of Serly