December 15, 2009

Reading Garcia

If you've tried to read Manuel Garcia's Complete Treatise on the Art of Singing you either had to buy a copy, which you couldn't do because every English language edition (the original is in French) including the excellent 1984 scholarly one by Donald Paschke is out of print, or you had to travel to a major library and wait for the crackling old manuscript to be brought to you by a librarian with white gloves.  I did just that once, traveling two hours from Grand Central in New York to New Haven and the Yale Library—like a supplicant on pilgrimage to an ancient relic. And I must confess a certain thrill: there is nothing like seeing, reading and smelling the original book in its binding.  It conjures a very different time and place.

However, if you are not into this sort of thing, you can now download and print your own copy of Garcia's groundbreaking work courtesy of Petrucci Music Library, which is an amazing source for manuscripts and scores.  And it's free.  All you have to do is click here.  This edition was edited by Garcia's grandson- Albert Garcia (1875-1946) - for the Royal Academy of Music where he also taught.   

 (Albert Garcia, a baritone, as a young man)

I was very lucky to find a copy of this book at - another great resource- and remember my anticipation as I waited for it to arrive from a bookstore in Capetown South Africa.

It was like waiting for an old friend. 

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