Inventory of the William Denny collection, 1932-1975

Processed by The Music Library staff; machine-readable finding aid created by Xiuzhi Zhou
Music Library
Hargrove Music Library
University of California, Berkeley
Berkeley, California, 94720-6000
Phone: (510) 642-2623
© 1998
The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.

Inventory of the William Denny Collection, 1932-1975

Collection number: ARCHIVES DENNY 1

The Music Library

University of California, Berkeley

Berkeley, California

Contact Information

  • Hargrove Music Library
  • University of California, Berkeley
  • Berkeley, California, 94720-6000
  • Phone: (510) 642-2623
  • Email:
  • URL:
Processed by:
The Music Library staff
Encoded by:
Xiuzhi Zhou
© 1998 The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.

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.



Box Box 1, item 1.

1932. Sonata in e, for violin and piano.

Additional Note

"Berkeley -Feb. 9-April 17, 1932." Manuscript score. 49 pp. Unbound.
item 2.

1937. Scherzo, for violin and piano.

Additional Note

"Berkeley -February 27, 1937 (Herausgegeben von W. D. D.)" Manuscript score, 10 pp.; manuscript part 6 pp. Unbound.
item 3.

1937. Suite For Small Orchestra.

Additional Note

"Written in Paris and Berkeley-1934-1936. Revised in Berkeley, August-September, 1937." Bound manuscript score. 101 pp.
item 4.

1937. Concertino for Orchestra.

Additional Note

"Wm. D. Denny -Berkeley, California -November 30, 1937." Unbound manuscript score in folio, 41 pp. Clipped to page 2 is a San Francisco Symphony program and a review of the performance by Alfred Frankenstein. Copy two of the manuscript score, 54 pp.
item 5.

1938. String Quartet No. 1.

Additional Note

Note added to the score: "William Denny, String Quartet, Sketch, written in 1938." Manuscript score, 16 pp. Unbound.
Box Box 5, item 6.

1939. Score without title, probably his Symphony no. 1.

Additional Note

"William D. Denny -Cambridge, Mass. November 22, 1939, 11:15 p.m." Large folio score in manuscript. 138 pp. Unbound.
Box Box 2, item 7.

1940. Suite For Chamber Orchestra.

Additional Note

Cambridge, Mass. 5 II 40." Blueprint copy of score, bound, 24 pp. Set of manuscript parts, 39 leaves.
item 8.

1940. General William Booth Enters Into Heaven, for mixed chorus with accompaniment for orchestra or piano four-hands. Version for chorus and piano.

Additional Note

"Cambridge, Mass. 29 III 40." Bound octavo manuscript score. 61 pp.
Box Box 5, item 9.

1940. Sinfonietta for String Orchestra.

Additional Note

"Berkeley, Calif. 1 VIII 40." Two (2) copies of the score. Bound. 32 pp. each. Blueprint copies.
Box Box 2, item 10.

1941. Toccata and Fugue For Orchestra.

Additional Note

"New York -Oct. 18, 1940 -Modesto -March 18, 1941." Bound manuscript full score. 65 pp.
item 11.

1941. A one-movement work without title, for orchestra.

Additional Note

"Modesto-Berkeley, Calif. May 3, June 23, 1941." Large full orchestra score in manuscript. 32 pp. Unbound.
Box Box 3, item 12.

1943. "Most Glorious Lord of Life," for women's chorus, baritone solo, and organ.

Additional Note

"Poughkeepsie, N. Y., February 18, 1943. "To the Vassar College Choir. Copy reproduced from the composer's autograph. 12 pp. Unbound.
item 13.

1943. "Constipated," song for baritone and piano.

Additional Note

"July 1, 1942." "Words from an advertisement in the Poughkeepsie New Yorker, June 29, 1943." Manuscript score. 6 pp. Unbound.
item 14.

1943. Overture for Strings.

Additional Note

No inscription. 11 negative photostat leaves of the manuscript score. Unbound.
item 15.

1944. Sonata for Viola and Piano.

Additional Note

"Poughkeepsie, N. Y.; June, 1943-April, 1944." Manuscript score, 34 pp.; blueprint copy, bound, of the score, 34 pp.; manuscript part, 11 pp.
item 16.

1945. Trio, Fugue, and Passacaglia. for Organ.

Additional Note

"Poughkeepsie, N. Y. March 16, 1945." Manuscript score. 15 pp. Unbound.
item 17.

1946. Praeludium for Orchestra.

Additional Note

"Berkeley, California, October 13, 1946." Manuscript score, bound. 29 pp.
item 17a.

1946. Qued Vidistis Pastores?

Additional Note

Mimeograph copy. 10 pp. SATB a capella.
item 18.

1947. "Lux fulgebit hodie," for the University of California Choir[?].

Additional Note

"Berkeley 15 VII 47." Manuscript score, 12 pp. Unbound.
item 19.

1949. Symphony No. II.


Score no. 1 bears the inscription "Berkeley, California May[?] 1949, W. D. Denny." Score no. 2 bears the inscription "28 VI [?]"


Score no. 1 is in manuscript, folio size, bound, 105 pp.


Score no. 2 is in manuscript, large size, bound, 72 pp.

Scope and Content Note

Inserted in score no. 2 is an incomplete draft of 24 pp. an-[?] draft of 14 leaves, both in manuscript. Also included is a [San] Francisco Symphony Orchestra program dated Sunday, March 22. Men's Gymnasium, Berkeley Campus announcing a performance of this symphony.
item 20.

1955. String Quartet No. 3.

Additional Note

"Berkeley, 30 I 55, W. D. D. (Paris, Lugano, Luzern, m.s. Don[?] Berkeley)." Manuscript score, unbound, 29 pp. Manuscript set of parts, Unbound.
item 21.

1956. ( String trio). Title lacking. Single movement.

Additional Note

"August 7, 1956, Tahoe. Nov. 29, 1956, Berkeley." Unbound manuscript score, 7 pp., 377 measures.
item 22.

1957. Introduction and Allegro, for orchestra.

Additional Note

"Tahoe Meadows, August 7, 1956 -Berkeley, January 5, 1957[."] Manuscript score, unbound, 30 pp.
Box Box 5, item 23.

1957. Symphony No. 3.

Additional Note

"Tahoe-22 VII 57." Manuscript score, folio size, unbound, 76 pp. Score no. 2 [?] record print copy of an original copy, bound, 75 pp., and b[ears] the additional inscription. "(Berkeley, 16 II 58)."
Box Box 3, item 24.

1958. Partita for Organ in Five Movements(Toccata, Ground, Aria and Gigue).

Additional Note

"Berkeley-6 IV 58 (1 I 59) (25 III 59)." "First perform[er?] Professor Lawrence Moe, University Organist, at the dedication [of] Edward O'Neill Memorial Organ, built by Walter Holtkamp, in Alfred Hertz Memorial Hall of Music, University of California Berkeley Campus. 26 April 1958." Contents:

One (1) manuscript copy of the score, unbound.


Another manuscript copy of the score, unbound, not dated. [?] of the score, unbound, 12 leaves.

Box Box 4, item 25.

1962. (String quartet. a single movement). No title.

Additional Note

"Feb. 13, 1962."

Manuscript score, unbound, 5 pp.
item 26.

1963. Incidental Music for Anthony and Cleopatra by William Shakespeare.

Additional Note

Piano score with instrumental cues.

"2 IX 63."

Unbound score in manuscript, 21 pp. Also, two reviews of the production by Fred Gardner of the Berkeley Daily Gazette and Albert Johnson of the San Francisco Chronicle and a program announcing the play for September 12, 13, 14, 15, 1963 at the William Randolph Hearst Greek Theater, University of California, Berkeley Campus.
item 27.

1965. Trio for Strings.

Additional Note

"2 VII 65."


One (1) unbound manuscript score, 23 pp.; one (1) set of manuscript parts, 23 leaves. Another manuscript score, unbound, 23 pp.; another set of manuscript parts, bound, 60 pp.


Two (2) record print copies of the score, unbound


Three (3) record print copies of the parts, unbound.

item 28.

1966. Toccata, Aria, and Fugue, for Organ.

Additional Note

"26 IV 66."

Two (2) manuscript copies of the score, unbound. Copy I contains 17 pp. and copy 2, 20 pp.
item 29.

1975. Four unnamed pieces for organ.

Additional Note

Piece no. 1 bears the inscription "Paris 7 XII 75," piece no. 2 "Ajaccio, 21 XI 75," and pieces nos. 3 & 4 are without inscriptions.

Manuscript score, unbound, 7 pp. Also, 5 pp. of sketches and drafts.
item 30.

No date. "Falstaff."

Additional Note

No inscription.

Manuscript score, an orchestral reduction on 4 staves, unbound, 4 pp.

Page 3 bears the cue "Falstaff, p. 438."


Box Box 4, item 31.

1967. Adagio from the Sonata No. I in G minor for Solo Violin by J. S. Bach. Transcribed for organ by William Denny.

Additional Note

"April 14-16, 1967." "Intended to replace the prelude to the D-Minor Fugue, Peters Edition, Volume III, Bach Organ Works, page 42."

Manuscript score, unbound, 3 pages, with 2 pp. of sketches.


Box Box 6, item 32.


Additional Note

The following correspondence of Professor William D. Denny was received by the Music Library on Wednesday, December 3, 1980.

1937, 6 leaves


1938, 2 leaves


1939, 30 leaves


1940, 59 leaves


1941, 51 leaves


1942, 28 leaves


1944, 2 leaves


1945, 4 leaves


1947, 2 leaves


1951, 1 leaf


1954, 8 leaves


1962, 1 leaf


1965, 2 leaves


1973, 1 leaf


Undated, 12 leaves

item 33.

Clippings and programs pertaining to performances of Professor Denny's music:

Additional Note

1 folder containing 24 items.
item 34.

Inventory of music scores in Professor Denny's personal library (prepared by the composer):

Additional Note

1 folder containing 9 leaves.
item 35.

Drafts and sketches of compositions.

Additional Note

93 unbound manuscript leaves contained in one (1) portfolio.
item 36.

Class exercises.

Additional Note

Seven (7) folders containing counterpoint, harmony, fugue, and orchestration in the hand of Professor Denny for classes taught at the University of California, Berkeley: Music 3A, 101A, 101B, 106, 109A, and "Curriculum, 1971-72." Manuscript and Xerox copies, 174 loose leaves. One (1) portfolio.
item 37.

Antony and Cleopatra,

Additional Note

Acts I and II, reproduction of autograph score.
Box Box 5, item 38.

3 caricatures of Bill Denny.

Additional Note

Artist unknown (ca. 1930s) (From the Music Dept.)