Guide to the Irwin Rabinov Collection ARS.0111

Finding aid prepared by Franz Kunst
Archive of Recorded Sound
Braun Music Center
541 Lasuen Mall
Stanford University
Stanford, California, 94305-3076
© 2011
The Board of Trustees of Stanford University. All rights reserved.

Descriptive Summary

Title: Irwin Rabinov Collection
Dates: 1965-1980
Collection number: ARS.0111
Collection size: 23 boxes : 834 open reel tapes (27 5" reels ; 807 7" reels)
Repository: Archive of Recorded Sound
Abstract: Rare opera and vocal recordings on open reel tape, from the collection of Irwin Rabinov.
Language of Material: Multiple languages


Open for research; material must be requested at least two business days in advance of intended use. Contact the Archive for assistance.

Publication Rights

Property rights reside with repository. Publication and reproduction rights reside with the creators or their heirs. To obtain permission to publish or reproduce, please contact the Head Librarian of the Archive of Recorded Sound.

Preferred Citation

Irwin Rabinov Collection, ARS-0111. Courtesy of the Stanford Archive of Recorded Sound, Stanford University Libraries, Stanford, Calif.


The Irwin Rabinov Collection was donated to the Stanford Archive of Recorded Sound by David Rabinov in 1980.


This finding aid was produced with generous financial support from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.

Scope and Contents

The Irwin Rabinov Collection consists of over eight hundred reels of opera and vocal performances, built over a period of fifteen years of trading with other collectors around the world. The collection, which features hundreds of obscure composers and works, was donated in 1980 by his son David, following Irwin's passing. At the time of its accession, the Rabinov Collection was considered a massive reference library, constituting (in the words of appraiser Ted Fagan) "a broad-ranging and comprehensive collection of both commercially and privately recorded opera performances from all over the world." While the days of tape trading networks have been superceded by file-sharing, there are undoubtedly many underdocumented rarities hidden here.
A paper contents listing is available at the Archive, listed alphabetically by composer in seven groups. The first list is the largest, and contains (in Irwin's own description) "operas, operettas, musicals, zarzuelas, and special movies." The second list contains "shows and singers on 78 rpm records." The third list contains plays. The fourth list is "oratorios, cantatas, religious and secular specials," the fifth is "poems, songs, song cycles, and vocal specials," the sixth list is all ballet, and list number seven contains "symphonies, concertos, and tone poems." There is also information on the recordings written on tape boxes. No original sources are identified on the tapes or in the contents listing, but at least a portion of the material are dubs from commercial releases.

Indexing Terms

Rabinov, Irwin

Box 1

1. 1-36

Box 2

2. 37-72

Box 3

3. 73-108

Box 4

4. 109-144

Box 5

5. 145-180

Box 6

6. 181-216

Box 7

7. 217-252

Box 8

8. 253-288

Box 9

9. 289-324

Box 10

10. 325-349aj

Box 11

11. 349ak-349bt

Box 12

12. 349bv-349db

Box 13

13. 349dc-349ek

Box 14

14. 349el-349fu

Box 15

15. 349fv-349i

Box 16

16. 349j-368u

Box 17

17. 369v-405c

Box 18

18. 406c-443c

Box 19

19. 444c-479b

Box 20

20. 480o-515o

Box 21

21. 516k-550v

Box 22

22. 551v-583w

Box 23

23. 584v-624