Scope and Content
Title: William Denny Collection,
Date (inclusive): 1932-1975
Collection number: ARCHIVES DENNY 1
Denny, William, 1910-1980
Extent: Number of containers: 6 boxes
Berkeley, California 94720-6000
Shelf location: For current information on the location of
these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.
The Denny Family. Picked up from Professor Denny's home on Garber Street, Berkeley, on
Tuesday, October 21, 1980.
Collection is open for research.
All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in
writing to the Head of the Music Library.
[Identification of item], William Denny collection, ARCHIVES DENNY 1, The Music Library,
University of California, Berkeley.
The enclosed biographical sketch of Professor William D. Denny will
appear in the forthcoming American Supplement to The New Grove's
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,
Sinfonietta for Strings, 1940;
Suite for Chamber Orchestra, 1940;
Overture for Strings, 1945;
Praeludium for Orchestra, 1946;
Symphony no. 2,
Introduction and Allegro for Orchestra, 1956;
Symphony no. 3,
- stg qt no. 1,
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,
- 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.