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Inventory of the William Denny collection, 1932-1975
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biographical Sketch
  • Scope and Content

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: William Denny Collection,
    Date (inclusive): 1932-1975
    Collection number: ARCHIVES DENNY 1
    Creator: Denny, William, 1910-1980
    Extent: Number of containers: 6 boxes
    Repository: The Music Library
    Berkeley, California 94720-6000
    Shelf location: For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information


    The Denny Family. Picked up from Professor Denny's home on Garber Street, Berkeley, on Tuesday, October 21, 1980.


    Collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head of the Music Library.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], William Denny collection, ARCHIVES DENNY 1, The Music Library, University of California, Berkeley.

    Biographical Sketch

    The enclosed biographical sketch of Professor William D. Denny will appear in the forthcoming American Supplement to The New Grove's Dictionary.
    Denny has been described as a "musician's composer." His music was thoroughly personal and abstract with the intensely lyrical and rhythmical elements predominating. As a consummate craftsman the structure and symmetry of his music were flawlessly balanced often with an underlying complex contrapuntal texture. His orchestration and idiomatic writing for instruments were admired in particular. Denny's harmonic language was dissonant yet oriented around large tonal centers, and his overall style had a definite proclivity with the mature works of Walter Piston. During the 1940's and 50's he was one of the most respected composers active in the San Francisco Bay Area, and his compositions were performed by the CBS and NBC symphony orchestras, the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, the Griller String Quartet, the Budapest String Quartet, the Julliard String Quartet, and the University Chorus at Berkeley, among others. His compositions and memorabilia are held by the Music Library at Berkeley.

    WORKS (selective list)

    Bacchanale, 1935;

    Concertino for Orchestra, 1937;

    Symphony no. 1, 1939;

    Sinfonietta for Strings, 1940;

    Suite for Chamber Orchestra, 1940;

    Overture for Strings, 1945;

    Praeludium for Orchestra, 1946;

    Symphony no. 2, 1949;

    Introduction and Allegro for Orchestra, 1956;

    Symphony no. 3, 1955-57.
    stg qt no. 1, 1937-38;

    Sonata, vla, pf, 1943-44;

    stg qt no. 2, 1952;

    stg qt no. 3, 1955;

    Partita, org, 1958;

    Trio for strings, 1965;

    Toccata, Aria, and Fugue, org, 1966.
    Cantata "Most glorious Lord of Life," 1943;

    Three Motets, 1946-47.
    --John A. Emerson Music Library, University of California at Berkeley

    Scope and Content

    Collection includes scores (chiefly manuscript) of Denny's compositions for piano, orchestra, and organ; correspondence from 1937 through 1973; clippings and programs related to performances, drafts, sketches, and class exercises.