The Alan Cave collection of chamber music for wind instruments – latest news

Alan Cave store - picture 1 resizedWe are excited to announce that the catalogue records for the amazing collection of wind chamber music (known here at Trinity Laban Faculty of Music as the Alan Cave Collection) have now been incorporated into our main online catalogue. This means information about this collection is now easily searchable online via the Jerwood Library catalogue.

This extensive collection of chamber sets was collected by the late Alan Cave, who was for many years’ bassoonist and contrabassoonist in the London Symphony Orchestra. Over his lifetime he amassed an enormous library of performance materials – including this collection of some 2000 pieces of chamber music held here at the Jerwood Library, and some wind band sets, which are part of the loan collection held by the CYM library.

One of the oldest sets in the collection here is Onslow’s Wind Octet, op. 81, published by Kistner in 1852, the year before the composer’s death. [AC 6247]; one of the more recent is Malcolm Arnold’s Trevelyan Suite, op. 96, published by Faber in 1970. [AC 5047 [1]].

Alan Cave store - picture 2 resizedThe collection is wide-ranging and contains music by many unusual and lesser-known composers ripe for re-discovery.

The range of repertoire and ensembles covered is impressive. There are for example

  • a Scherzino by Fisher Aubrey Tull (1934-1994) for an octet of piccolo, three flutes, three B-flat clarinets and bass clarinet, published by Boosey & Hawkes, 1973 [757 TUL],
  • an Octet [2]. by the Dutch serial composer, Peter Schat (1935-2003), published by Donemus in 1958 for flute, doubling piccolo, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, horn, two trumpets and trombone [AC 6497],
  • Racconto by Jorgen Bentzon (1897-1951) for flute, alto saxophone, bassoon and double bass, published by Skandinavisk, 1935 [AC 5145],

as well as a vast array of wind quintets for unusual wind instrument combinations, Silvestre Revueltas’ (1899-1940) Little serious pieces, 1 & 2 [AC 6407, AC 6408] arranged for piccolo, oboe, clarinet, trumpet and baritone saxophone, being just one example.

The collection includes music for ensembles ranging in size from duets to large wind bands of up to 19 instruments. Naturally enough, given Alan Cave’s bassoon-playing background, the collection contains much music involving the bassoon. There are, for example, 20 bassoon duets and another 30 for bassoon with another wind instrument, 12 trios for bassoons and around 100 other trios for bassoon in combination with other wind instruments.

Alan Cave catalogueAnyone wishing to search the catalogue for a particular ensemble combination should type the required instrument names into the SUBJECT search box together with the size of ensemble term (e.g. Trios, Quintets) and select TYPE ‘sheet music/score’.

Alan Cave store - picture 3 resizedThe sets currently reside in our closed shelving stacks, but work has already begun on making them ready to be transferred to our open shelves. (This picture gives an idea of the scale of the project!)

Alan Cave folders - picture 4 resizedWe have, however, purchased some splendid folders which will help borrowers keep the sets and parts together and safe when taken out of the library, until the sets have been properly bound.


All we need now are some inquisitive musicians keen to explore the hidden depths of this remarkable library of chamber music.

[1] In this blog post, codes in [ ] refer to Jerwood Library’s shelf numbers.

[2] The musical construction of this Octet receives particular mention in Rokus de Groot’s article in Grove Music Online,

‘But his lessons with Boulez led him to a more radical, strict form of serial thought, and even before that he was regarded in the Netherlands as one of the leading members of the avant-garde of his generation. In the fourth part of the Octet (1958), dedicated to van Baaren, it is the players who determine the order of its 12 segments, while in the final part there is occasion for individual improvisation’


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