The number of individuals and institutions that have supported and contributed to this project over a period of more than thirty years is so large that I begin with an apology that not everyone can be personally mentioned. Furthermore, my records and memory may inadvertently leave further unintentional and regrettable omissions. For these I beg forgiveness and in atonement cite my lifetime adherence to the Golden Rule of Research: pass on to others the spirit and substance of concerned exchange from which we all so richly benefit. Only in this way can one respond to the nonrecompensable debts of scholarship—the sharing with predecessors, colleagues, and students that maintains the precious continuity of humane research.
A Catalogue of 18th-century Symphonies began in 1954 during a year of sabbatical leave from Wellesley College additionally supported by a research professorship from the Austrian Fulbright Commission of the International Institute of Education. At this time I hoped to write a history of the eighteenth-century symphony, but I soon made a shattering discovery: no one knew for certain who wrote which symphony. Though I had no idea then of the magnitude of the task, the obvious solution was a research tool that compared symphonic incipits (opening bars of the first violin part) from all available sources, so as to call attention to the frequent conflicts in attribution.
The decision to attempt such a compilation seemed inevitable, and it matured rapidly under the catalytic influences of four central individuals. The incandescent personality of H.C. Robbins Landon fueled the first efforts with direct contributions of index cards for various composers and the momentum of his inexhaustible enthusiasm. Otto Erich Deutsch, the great biographer of Handel, Mozart, and Schubert, brought his unique clarity of thought to bear on problems of planning and organization. The path-breaking research of Jens Peter Larsen on symphonies falsely attributed to Haydn offered a sophisticated model and later a generous provision of material. Last but most, Helen Claire Robison, my dear wife, joined directly in all the work of the early years—the visits to hundreds of libraries and the cataloguing of thousand of sources all over Europe somehow fitted in with the raising of two amazingly patient daughters.
After these beginnings, first thanks go to the most immediate helpers and supporters, including Eugene Wolf, Jean K. Wolf, Christa Fuhrmann Landon, Marian C. Green, Margaret Johnson Bartz, Jeanette B. Holland, Gregory Harwood, Alice Caldwell, Rena Charnin Mueller, Ann Jenner-jahn, Diana Schneider, Donna Kerber, Brenda Aaronson, Polly Wheat, Robert Lynch, Stephen Bryant, Josephine Wright, Deborah Wythe, Evangeline Vassiliades, Ed Wight, Kathryn Shanks, and David Cannata, the last two especially effective for input and decisions of the final months. Acknowledgments to individual librarians and their institutions will be made in Volume II, in connection with the location of sources for each symphony.
Many of my Ph.D. candidates made particularly valuable contributions that clarify the symphonic output of specific composers; they include Eugene Wolf (Stamitz), Jean Wolf (Cannabich), Howard Brofsky (Padre Martini), Shelley Davis (J. G. Lang), Anneliese Callen (Schwindl), Suzanne Forsberg (Camerloher), Margaret Grupp Grave (Dittersdorf), George Hill (Gassmann), and Judith Schwartz (G. M. Monn).
Institutions have played an enormously important part in bringing about the Catalogue, beginning with sabbatical leaves from Wellesley College and New York University, but even more directly by a generous fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation that made possible an extensive trip to libraries in East Germany, Czechoslovakia, and Poland. Grants from the American Council of Learned Societies, the Ford Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, and the American Philosophical Society enabled me to add significant areas to the Catalogue. Particularly influential was the suggestion of Dean Norman Cantor of New York University that I apply for support from the National Endowment for the Humanities to computerize the Catalogue. This agency awarded me a three-year grant, which was later renewed for a fourth year. Computer control, in addition to its wonderful flexibility (a few negatives will be mentioned below), made possible the production of camera-ready copy, the only hope for publishing a large project addressed to a small audience. This indispensable support developed in large measure as a consequence of the insightful and effective policies of Dorothy Wartenberg, Division of Research in NEH. To her the symphony and all researchers in this area owe a special debt.
An entirely special set of acknowledgments are owed to my exceedingly helpful colleagues in the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences at New York University, notably Max Goldstein, Edward Friedman, Edi Franceschini, Frank LoPresti, Terry Moore, Anna Moore, and Gary Chapman. The final sort and format was imaginatively devised by Jeff Bary.* SYMCAT, our general acronym for the Catalogue, began as a time-sharing project on a CDC Cyber 170 main-frame computer, the only option then available. Main frames, however, have a number of disadvantages for the long-term researcher, and the advent of microcomputers will greatly assist Volume II of the Catalogue.
For invaluable and unstinted aid on administrative and fiscal aspects of the NEH project I am grateful to Ann Greenberg, the perceptive Director of Sponsored Services for New York University, and her able deputy, Martha Dunne. Similarly supportive in the Department of Music, Rena Mueller supervised vital transactions within tight schedules. Most important, firstly and finally, as primal implementor who made possible many of the above confluences of good fortune, I am most deeply grateful for the personal, intellectual, musical, and moral support of my first chairman and cherished colleague, Martin Bernstein.
* A laser printer made possible the column format (fixed spacing and sans-serif typeface) for the incipits, followed by proportional spacing with serifs for the identification numbers and composers’ names. This differentiation seems to help in searching and reduces eye fatigue.