Bill Holab Music

June 15, 2009

Once, several decades ago, Benjamin Britten, England’s most famous musical son, became so frustrated with his publisher’s antics, that he petitioned a book publisher to invest in music publishing. Fortunately for Faber music, they complied, and Boosey & Hawkes lost one of their most valuable clients.

Music engravers and publishers can be frustrating for anyone, not just composers.  They charge exorbiant prices for their wares, even the study scores, knowing that they hold nigh the only means to possess the sheet music for wonderful works of music.  The newer the work, the more costly it is to the student of music.

I found an exception to that rule.

While driving from Clinton, Iowa to our now-considered-surprisingly-liberal capital, I was accosted by a radio transmission of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra playing a concert version of Osvaldo Golijov’s Ainadamar.   This spectacular piece of music put me into a dangerous frenzy that I imagine was akin to the frenzy that Le Sacre du Printemps caused among the unsuspecting Parisians (though I was elated, they were angry).

Upon arriving at my destination, I searched frantically online for a score.  I found one at Bill Holab Music for $199.99(USD).

I was crushed.

I had budgeted my score spending costs for the year at $100.  To go over that would be dangerous for my nutritional health.  So, in a fit of desperation, I crafted a brief, thesaretical message to the site owner:

Dear Sir or Madame,
I am greatly interested in the full score of Golihov’s Ainadamar.  However,
I am a college student, and must imbibe nutrition occasionally.  Thus, I am
bound to ask if there are student discounts?  Thank you for your prompt
answer.
Sincerely,
E. Michael Martin

I received a response, and it was prompt. To my shock and excitement, it was from Bill Himself!

Dear Michael,
Thanks for contacting us about this. We are supporters of students imbibing
and would like to help (with the music, not the imbibing). We can offer you
a used copy of the full score and/or the piano/vocal score for half price.
Just use coupon code [Blocked for respect of Publisher] when you check out on our website. I’ll see the
order and supply you with a used copy. I know I have one of the full score
that is in clean condition, practically new.
Kind regards,
Bill

I got the score for $99(USD). I will definitely buy Golijov’s next opera from them as well.