Guide to the Irwin Rabinov Collection
Finding aid prepared by Franz Kunst
Archive of Recorded Sound
Braun Music Center
541 Lasuen Mall
Stanford, California, 94305-3076
The Board of Trustees of Stanford University. All rights reserved.
Title: Irwin Rabinov Collection
Collection number: ARS.0111
: 834 open reel tapes (27 5" reels ; 807 7" reels)
Archive of Recorded Sound
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
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.
Irwin Rabinov Collection, ARS-0111. Courtesy of the Stanford Archive of Recorded Sound, Stanford University Libraries, Stanford,
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trading networks have been superceded by file-sharing, there are undoubtedly many underdocumented rarities hidden here.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.