Lucien Garban Collection

One of the most rewarding experiences of working with archival materials is when a researcher discovers something new. Recently, we had two researchers, one from the University of Colorado, Bolder, the other from the Royal Academy of Music, review the Lucien Garban Collection. For those unfamiliar with the collection, it contains over 800 musical scores by composers such as Ravel, Debussy, Fauré, Wagner, and many others. The collection came to CSUB during the late 1970s through Garban’s widow.

Lucien Garban was a senior editor for the publishing house of Durand located in Paris. According to Roy Howat, a Keyboard Research Fellow at the Royal Academy of Music, “at least a few of [Garban’s] scores at Bakersfield appear to have been marked up by him on the authority of composers including Debussy and Fauré, for corrected reprints of editions of their music, or in one case a new edition of some Debussy songs.” Howat adds that “in many other scores, I think Garban’s annotations were just his own observations, most of them correct; he appears to have had an obsessive corrector’s eye for misprints or inconsistencies.”

When asked about how the Garban Scores fit into the body of scholarly research he noted that it “thus bears an interesting relationship to the important collection of French music manuscripts now in the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center at UT, Austin (Carlton Lake collection), formerly in the archives of the publisher Durand; many of these manuscripts served as engraving copy for first editions that figure in the Lucien Garban collection. A few of these first editions may have been seen through the press, or at least proofread, by Garban, as Durand’s house editor.”