Guide to the Leo Sowerby papers

Collection Title: Leo Sowerby papers
Dates: 1911-1995
Bulk Dates: 1911-1967
Identification: Sowerby
Creator: Sowerby, Leo, 1895-1968
Extent: 52 Folders
Abstract: Chiefly music manuscripts of original compositions by the American composer and church musician Leo Sowerby (1895-1968).
Acquisition Information: Donated by Ronald Stalford and the Leo Sowerby Foundation beginning in 1993.
Preferred Citation: Leo Sowerby Papers, Northwestern University Music Library.
Repository: Music Library
Deering Library
1970 Campus Drive
Evanston, IL,
URL: http://www.library.northwestern.edu/music
Email: musiclibrary@northwestern.edu
Phone: 847-491-3434

Biographical/Historical Information

Leo Sowerby (born May 1, 1895, Grand Rapids, MI, died July 7, 1968, Port Clinton, OH was an American composer and church musician. His family moved to Chicago in 1909 where he studied piano and organ. During World War I he served in the army and was a bandmaster. In 1918 he received a Masters from the American Conservatory of Chicago where he would later teach (1925-1962). He was also organist and choirmaster at the Episcopal Cathedral of St James (1927-1962) and was the founding director of the College of Church Musicians at the National Cathedral, Washington D.C. (1962-1968).

The first mark of recognition for Sowerby as a composer came in 1913 when the Chicago Symphony Orchestra played his Violin Concerto. Many of his works, particularly the numerous organ pieces, are based on the passacaglia, chaconne, canon, or fugue. In 1946 Sowerby received a Pulitzer Prize for his cantata Canticle of the Sun.

Scope and Content

Chiefly music manuscripts of original compositions.

Arrangement of Materials

Arranged in four series: 1. Music manuscripts (alphabetical) ; 2. Sketches (alphabetical) ; 3. Sketchbooks ; 4. Miscellaneous materials.

Subjects

Corporate Name

American Conservatory of Music (Chicago, Ill.)

Saint James Episcopal Cathedral (Chicago, Ill.)


Container List / Contents

  • Music manuscripts, 1911-1964, n.d.
    • American rhapsody, 1931Folder 1
        Scope and Contents: For band
    • Arioso for organ, 1942Folder 2
    • Ballad for 2 pianos and orchestra, 1922Folder 3
    • The canticle of the sun, 1943-1944Folder 4
        Scope and Contents: For chorus and orchestra
    • Christmas introit, n.d.Folder 5
        Scope and Contents: For chorus and organ
    • Concerto for harp with small orchestra, 1916-1919Folder 6
    • Concerto for organ and orchestra, 1936-1937Folder 7
    • Concerto for violin and orchestra, 1925Folder 8
    • Concerto for violoncello and orchestra, 1929-1934Folder 9
        Scope and Contents: In E minor (Cello concerto no. 2)
    • Concerto in miniature, 1932Folder 10
        Scope and Contents: For piano and orchestra (Piano concerto no. 2)
    • Fanfares, 1955Folder 11
        Scope and Contents: Trombone part only
    • Fantaisie [en] ut majeur pour deux violons, alto, violoncelle, et pianoforte, 1911Folder 12
    • Fantasy sonata, 1944Folder 13
        Scope and Contents: For violin and piano (Sonata for violin and piano no. 4); includes Pastorale from an August night, the second song in the cycle From the Hillcrest
    • Homage to England's country folk, 1916Folder 14
        Scope and Contents: For orchestra
    • Monotony : a symphony for metronome and jazz orchestra, 1925Folder 15
        Scope and Contents: Includes holograph sketches.
    • Monotony : a symphony for metronome and jazz orchestra, 1925Folder 16
        Scope and Contents: Includes photocopies of the parts (originals in the Williams College Whiteman Collection) and a photocopy of the holograph score provided by the Leo Sowerby Foundation, annotated with conductor's markings.
    • El oficio de la Santa Communion, 1940; rev. 1954Folder 17
        Scope and Contents: Includes sketches
    • Passacaglia, interlude, and fugue, 1931-1932Folder 18
        Scope and Contents: For orchestra
    • Passacaglia, interlude, and fugue, 1931Folder 19
        Scope and Contents: For piano
    • Poem for viola and orchestra, 1942Folder 20
    • Prayer of the singer, 1932Folder 21
        Scope and Contents: For voice and orchestra
    • Psalm 142, 1964Folder 22
        Scope and Contents: For high voice and organ
    • Psalm symphony (Untitled oratorio), 1923-1924Folder 23
    • Psalm symphony (Untitled oratorio), 1923-1924Folder 24
        Scope and Contents: Vocal score with piano, 4 hands
    • Quintet for flute, oboe, clarinet, horn, and bassoon, 1916Folder 25
    • Rhapsody for chamber orchestra, 1922Folder 26
    • A set of three, 1959Folder 27
        Scope and Contents: For piano
    • Sonata for organ, 1914-1917Folder 28
    • Sonata for piano, 1948; rev. 1963Folder 29
        Scope and Contents: (Piano sonata no. 3)
    • Song for America, 1942Folder 30
    • Songs of resignation, 1948Folder 31
        Scope and Contents: For voice, violin, clarinet, and piano
    • Spring overture, 1934Folder 32
        Scope and Contents: For band
    • String quartet [no. 5] in G minor, 1935Folder 33
    • Symphony [no. 1] for orchestra, 1920-1921Folder 34
    • Symphony no. 2 in B minor, 1927-1928Folder 35
    • Symphony no. 3 in F-sharp minor, 1939-1940Folder 36
    • Synconata, 1924Folder 37
        Scope and Contents: For band (includes holograph sketches, photocopies of the parts (originals in the Williams College Whiteman Collection), and a photocopy of the holograph score provided by the Leo Sowerby Foundation, annotated with conductor's markings)
    • Three beach sketches, n.d.Folder 38
    • Toccata, 1939Folder 39
        Scope and Contents: In C (for organ)
    • Tramping tune, 1917Folder 40
        Scope and Contents: For piano and string orchestra/solo strings
    • Trio [no. 1 en] ut-dieze mineur pour violon, violoncelle, et pianoforte, 1911Folder 41
    • Trio [no. 3] for violin, violoncello, and pianoforte, 1952-1953Folder 42
    • A triptych of diversions. Sonatina, 1962Folder 43
        Scope and Contents: For organ, oboe, 2 violins, double bass, and percussion
    • A triptych of diversions. Fugue, 1962Folder 44
        Scope and Contents: For organ, oboe, 2 violins, double bass, and percussion
    • A triptych of diversions. Variations on a diverted tune, 1962Folder 45
        Scope and Contents: For organ, oboe, 2 violins, double bass, and percussion
  • Sketches, 1923-1967
    • Dialogue for piano and organ, 1967Folder 46
    • Passacaglia for pianoforte, 1942Folder 47
    • String quartet, 1923Folder 48
        Scope and Contents: In D minor (String quartet no. 4)
    • Suite for 4 hands, 1959Folder 49
  • Sketchbooks, 1966
    • Manuscript paper (Everybody's favorite series no. 117), 1966Folder 50
      • Turn thou us, O good Lord, 1966Folder 50, Item 1
          Scope and Contents: For chorus and organ
      • All my heart this night rejoices, 1966Folder 50, Item 2
          Scope and Contents: For chorus and organ
      • Benedictus es, Domine, 1966Folder 50, Item 3
          Scope and Contents: For women's chorus and organ
      • Processional for the reception of a bishop, 1966Folder 50, Item 4
          Scope and Contents: For organ; includes "Ecce sacerdos" ("Behold, a great High Priest") for unaccompanied SATB chorus
      • Psalm 70, 1966Folder 50, Item 5
          Scope and Contents: For men's chorus and organ
      • Psalm 124, 1966Folder 50, Item 6
          Scope and Contents: For men's chorus and organ
      • Psalm 133, 1966Folder 50, Item 7
          Scope and Contents: For men's chorus and organ
      • Death is the subtle suitor, 1966Folder 50, Item 8
          Scope and Contents: For high voice and piano; from "Five songs on texts by Emily Dickinson"
      • "Unto me?" I do not know you, 1966Folder 50, Item 9
          Scope and Contents: For high voice and piano; from "Five songs on texts by Emily Dickinson"
      • I never saw a Moor, 1966Folder 50, Item 10
          Scope and Contents: For high voice and piano; from "Five songs on texts by Emily Dickinson"
      • Because I could not stop for Death, 1966Folder 50, Item 11
          Scope and Contents: For high voice and piano; from "Five songs on texts by Emily Dickinson"
      • I meant to find her, 1966Folder 50, Item 12
          Scope and Contents: For high voice and piano; from "Five songs on texts by Emily Dickinson"
      • La Corona, 1966Folder 50, Item 13
          Scope and Contents: For tenor, chorus, and orchestra (short score); text by John Donne
  • Miscellaneous materials, 1993-1995, n.d.
    • Metronome 3-D animation for Monotony, n.d.Folder 51
        Scope and Contents: By Ron Small; on U-matic tape
    • The compositions of Leo Sowerby, 1993Folder 52
        Scope and Contents: "Compiled by Ronald M. Huntington for the Leo Sowerby Foundation" (195 p.)
    • Materials regarding the centennial of Sowerby's birth, 1995Folder 53
        Scope and Contents: Includes press release, events calendar, and invitation (6 p.); color photocopy of score to "332, F.A." (3 p.); May 1, 1995 issue of Sowerby, the newsletter of the Leo Sowerby Foundation (16 p.); and the May 1995 issue of The American Organist with Sowerby on the cover (96 p.)