About David Butler

Library assistant, cellist, lives in South East London.

Hundreds of new pieces for strings

As part of the ‘Printed Music Strategic Acquisition Plan 2013/14 – 2018/19′, developed by our fantastic enquiries and printed music acquisitions Librarian, Oliver Witkin, the current display in the small library display cabinet highlights the fact that the library has recently been concentrating on boosting its collection of music for strings.

String players – Looking for some new repertoire?Violin wordcloud

Further to my colleague’s blog post,  I wanted to highlight the fact that the library has been purchasing lots of new music not only for violin, but also for viola, cello, double bass and guitar. I  noticed that during both the Summer and Autumn terms that I had been processing lots of shiny new music by composers such as Henze, Gubaidulina, Dallapiccola, Rautavaara, Schnittke, Penderecki and Ysaye to name but a few. There’s been so much more music coming through for the other instruments of the string family, and as a very rusty string player myself, I wanted to get the message out about all this great new music available in the Jerwood Library.

New Schott editions for strings

New Schott editions for strings (Cover images reproduced with permission from Schott Music Ltd.)

Cello wordcloudFor the current display, I wanted to highlight some of the new Schott Music editions we have recently acquired. They’re all available to borrow – just come and speak to a member of library staff if you’d like to borrow one. Also, don’t forget to keep an eye on our ‘New in the Jerwood Library‘ shelves  near the library issue desk where we display a taste of some of the new library stock.  Currently there’s a mixture of new printed music for strings, new books and new DVDs. You can also browse new music additions to the catalogue here.


Over 200 new DVDs added to the library!

The Jerwood Library has been fortunate to receive another very generous donation and this time, it’s DVDs from Billy Newman. Firstly, we checked through them all for duplicates, selling the few we found on to staff and students to raise some funds for the library. My colleague Helen then had the huge task of cataloguing all of the them so that when someone searches the catalogue, they’ll find them easily. To search only for DVDs, simply change the ‘type’ to ‘DVD’.

New DVDs

A selection of the new DVDs waiting to go out onto the library shelves

We’ve got a wide variety of genres on DVD; from masterclasses to films and from musicals to yoga. Many of the new DVDs are operas and what is great is that we’ve got maybe 3 or 4 different versions of the same opera. If you can’t find the opera you’re looking for, or you’re away for the summer, why not try using our online resource: Opera in Video?

Current students and staff can borrow up to four DVDs at once for a week at a time. We’re open for most of the summer so why not take advantage and try out some of the great DVDs the library has to offer – you might just be surprised by what you find!

David’s choice – Shostakovich Symphony No. 5

Shostakovich Symphony No. 5, Op. 47

Monday 21st November 2016 marks 69 years since the Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Yevgeny Mravinsky, gave the world premiere of Symphony no. 5, op. 47 by Dmitry Shostakovich.

‘Shos 5’ (as it’s often referred to) is one of my all time favourite pieces of music. I feel like I know it very well (and not just the cello part!), having rehearsed it at length and having performed it several times over the years. The first time I performed it, and probably the most memorable for me, was with my youth orchestra, the Lancashire Students Symphony Orchestra (LSSO for short), as it was known then, under the baton of Malcolm Doley. What an amazing experience. Aged 15, we went on tour to Tuscany in Italy and performed this incredible symphony several times over the 10 days that we were away, in some amazing places. Also in the programme was another one of my favourite pieces, Elgar’s concert overture ‘Cockaigne’.

Concerts in Italy didn’t start till 9.30pm and Shostakovich symphony no. 5 is around 50 minutes long and was always in the 2nd half of the concert. Therefore, concerts didn’t finish till very late indeed! I do remember closing my eyes briefly one evening, during the 16 minute ‘Largo’,  letting the still, calm yet desolate sounds wash over me…….and then struggling to open them again! (I think anyone who has been on any sort of residential youth orchestra course/tour will empathize with this!) There was no danger of dozing however in the fierce and powerful fourth movement, using full bows on each fortississimo quaver for a whole of the last page or so of music! (See image of score below). Referring to this ending, Erik Levi explains in the CD sleeve notes to Vol. 22, No. 8 of the BBC Music Magazine CD, “Whether this resolution is genuinely optimistic remains an open question given the music’s lugubrious tempo”.

Dmitry Shostakovich, Symphony no. 5, op. 47 Edition Eulenburg No. 579 (minature score) London, (Ernst Eulenburg, 1967)

Dmitry Shostakovich, Symphony no. 5, op. 47 Edition Eulenburg No. 579 (miniature score) London, (Ernst Eulenburg, 1967)

It is interesting to listen to various and vastly different interpretations of the end of the fourth movement and hear the massively contrasting speeds this passage is taken at and how this affects the whole mood of the final movement. Personally, I prefer the slower tempo for the end of the symphony, closer to the actual metronome mark of ‘quaver = 184’ as shown in the example above. This is expertly demonstrated on a live recording, with Mstislav Rostropovich conducting the LSO in 2005, (shelved at ORC: SHO in the library). This contrasts considerably with the 1969 LP recording of the Philadelphia Orchestra, conducted by Eugene Ormandy, (LP no. 167d in the library)

Prior to the composition of his 5th Symphony, it was a difficult time for Shostakovich. He’d had a couple of unfavourable editorials, one of which was entitled, ‘Muddle instead of Music’, and subsequently decided to pull his 4th Symphony on the morning of the premiere. There was a lot resting on the 5th Symphony, which Shostakovich composed in a short space of time, between April and July 1937. He went back to the conventional 4 movement structure for the first time since his 1st Symphony and reduced the orchestra to a more conventional size, only adding celesta and piano, rather than the huge additional forces which were needed for the 4th Symphony.

It is interesting to note how well received the 5th symphony actually was. As Roy Blokker puts it in his book, ‘The Music of Dimitri Shostakovich – The Symphonies’, (shelved at 789 SHO), “In 1937 they did not want tragedy in art, yet the Fifth is tragic…..The Soviet leaders wanted folk music and nationalistic ideas; the Fifth contains none. The second movement is a grotesque dance based upon themes from the still unperformed Fourth Symphony that had parodied the very critics who had ostracised the composer in 1936. Yet the score was such a massive tour de force that it melted away all the opposition”

“The première of the Fifth Symphony on 21 November 1937 was the scene of extraordinary public acclamation. There was open weeping in the slow movement and a half-hour ovation at the end”. Grove Music Online.

It was clear that the audience at the premiere had identified the ‘tragic struggle’ in the music and how this paralleled their own daily struggles at the time.


Library display cabinet showing – ‘David’s choice’ –  Shostakovich Symphony No. 5, Op. 47

For students and staff who want to find out more, why not start with Quicksearch, for articles, recordings, reviews and much more. Why not have a read of ‘Testimony: the memoirs of Dmitri Shostakovich as related to and edited by Solomon Volkov’ which you can find at 789 SHO or check out the DVD of ‘Testimony : the story of Dmitri Shostakovich’ shelved at DVD / FILM : TES


Roy Blokker with Robert Dearing, The Music of Dimitri Shostakovich, The Symphonies London : Tantivy Press, (Rutherford : Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1979)

Dmitry Shostakovich, Symphony no. 5, op. 47 Edition Eulenburg No. 579 (minature score) London, (Ernst Eulenburg, 1967)

David Fanning and Laurel Fay. “Shostakovich, Dmitry.” Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online. Oxford University Press, (accessed November 9, 2016) http://www.oxfordmusiconline.com/subscriber/article/grove/music/52560pg3.



Item of the month, November 2015: Handel – Acis and Galatea

Handel composed what has been described variously as as a serenata, a masque, a pastoral and a pastoral opera, whilst living in North West London in the early eighteenth century. First performed in 1721, Acis and Galatea went on to become by far the most widely performed of his dramatic works and has since been adapted many times.

Acis and Galatea

Acis and Galatea (Jardin du Luxembourg, Médicis Fountain, Paris). Sculptor, Auguste Ottin. Photo by Wally Gobetz shared under Creative Commons licence, Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic.

We are fortunate to have some early editions of Acis and Galatea in the Bridge Collection, one of our special collections, here in the Jerwood Library of the Performing Arts. The score featured in this month’s exhibition was published in London around 1788. It forms part of the very first attempt at a collected edition of Handel’s works by Dr Samuel Arnold (1740-1802).
Acis and Galatea

Acis and Galatea : a serenata composed for the Duke of Chandos in the year 1720 by George Frederic Handel. Published in London c. 1788

The Bridge Collection is the historical library of Trinity College of Music and consists of over 1,000 volumes, mainly of printed music. In order to search for an item in the Bridge Collection, using the catalogue, change the ‘location’ to ‘Bridge Collection’ and either simply hit ‘search’ or enter some further search terms.

Trinity Laban staff and students can use QuickSearch to search for additional online information (use the filters on the left hand side of the page to limit results to recordings, videos, scores, articles, reviews etc.) All you need to log in is your usual Trinity Laban username and password. If you have any questions about using QuickSearch then please just ask in the library.

You can see a specially-reduced production of Handel’s Acis and Galatea performed by Trinity Laban student-led opera company ‘Puzzle Piece Opera’ on Friday 20th November at 1pm at Charlton House.

In the meantime you can listen to Acis and Galatea performed by The English Consort, with the Choir of the English Consort, conducted by Trevor Pinnock, at the wall mounted listening station at the far end of the North Library.

Jerwood Library Who’s Who: David Butler

This continues our Who’s Who series of blog posts where individual members of staff at the Jerwood Library of the Performing Arts talk about themselves and their work.

David ButlerHello, I’m David and I’m a full time library assistant in the Jerwood Library. I grew up in a small seaside town in the North West of England but have been in London for the last 15 years – so the northern accent has definitely softened!​ I actually did a BMus and a PGDip at Trinity Laban when it was still Trinity College of Music. I spent my first year at the ‘old building’ in central London, centered around Mandeville Place – just off Oxford Street. Back then, the campus was spread over several very different buildings. There was a practice annex, a building with the library and some rooms for lectures, the ‘main’ building on Mandeville Place, and Hinde Street Church where we had a lot of our orchestral rehearsals. We had our ‘Principal’s address’ in the Wigmore Hall and a lot of my student loan was spent on CDs from the big HMV which used to be on Oxford Street!

I’ve been working in the Jerwood library for around 6 years now and it feels very much like home. Prior to working here, I worked at the Music Publishers Association and in the library at the Royal Academy of Music.

What is a typical day at work like for you?

The alarm clock goes off at 5.45am during the week – my wife is a primary school teacher and has to be in work crazily early! If I’m opening up the library at 9am, then I usually aim to get to work for about 8.30am (especially if I’ve cycled to work – which I try to do as much as possible). This gives me a chance to get myself organized and make sure everything is ‘fired up’ and ready to go for when we open the doors at 9am. My working week is split between covering the issue desk and working in the library office while generally helping to keep the library running smoothly. Working in the office involves many different tasks including processing new stock to make it ready for the shelves and repairing older stock that is perhaps damaged or worn (see here for more about this work).

What do I enjoy most about the job?

I really enjoy helping people and I get to do this every single day, which is great. This could involve anything from helping someone find a piece of music, showing them how to access an online resource or track down a journal in another library, to simply helping someone use the printer, save their work or add dynamic markings in Sibelius. I also really enjoy being a part of the Jerwood Library team. There are 9 of us altogether and I feel very lucky to have such friendly, supportive, kind and interesting colleagues. I feel that we work very well together as a team and, as a result, offer a high-quality service to students, staff and visitors to the Jerwood Library.

Are there any hidden or little-known aspects of your work you’d like to share?

I do a lot of ‘behind the scenes’ work on the reading lists. I work closely with the Head Librarian to ensure that all the lists are up-to-date on the catalogue and that for any items deemed ‘essential reading’ by the teachers we have a copy on short loan or an e-book wherever possible.

Finally, could you tell us something people may not know about you?

With various groups I’ve been lucky enough to perform in some amazing places including Buckingham Palace and the Royal Albert Hall with Imogen Heap. On a non-music-related note I met the Queen when I was about 9 years old!

You can contact David and the rest of the Jerwood Library team using the contact details on the Trinity Laban website.

Exciting new library donations

​​​​​​​We have been fortunate in recent weeks to have received a number of generous donations of printed music. The library office is definitely filling up with boxes!  The first of the recent donations was mostly cello music belonging to the late Brian Meddemmen which had been stored for a number of years in a garage in Australia! I was slightly apprehensive that we might find a surprise in the form of some Australian wildlife in amongst the boxes, but, to our relief, nothing has crawled/jumped/slithered out yet! Also luckily for us, this donation had already been partially sorted into categories, e.g. ‘standard/more well-known cello repertoire’, ‘more obscure cello repertoire’ and ‘chamber music including cello(s)’. Using most of the library office floor, I’ve sorted through one of the boxes so far, putting the music into alphabetical order by composer so we can quickly see what’s there. This is especially useful if someone puts in a request for a piece of cello music which we don’t have, as we can quickly check if it’s in the donation.

Just a couple of boxes of the recent cello donation - full of hidden gems!

Just a couple of boxes of the recent cello donation – full of hidden gems!

The next step is for us to check each item against our library catalogue. We will then make a note of whether we have it in stock. If we do already have a copy, we’ll also note whether it’s a different edition, how many copies we have and how many times the item has been out on loan. One of the librarians (usually Helen!) will then make a decision based on this and the condition of the item as to whether we will add it to the collection, or whether we will pass it on to students and staff for a nominal sum. This money would then be used to buy new items for the library.

Take for example the Dvorak Cello Concerto edited by Janos Starker. We already have one copy of this particular edition of the Dvorak Cello Concerto but as this is such a popular piece and has been borrowed from the library on over 50 occasions, we would probably choose to add a second copy to the collection so there are more copies to go round.

Exciting finds

Lied pour Violoncelle et Orchestre par Vincent D'Indy, Op. 19

Lied pour Violoncelle et Orchestre par Vincent D’Indy, Op. 19

On first inspection there looks to be lots of interesting cello repertoire which we don’t already have in the collection, for example cello sonatas by Grozlez, Tcherepnin, Dietrich and cello concertos by Vanhal, Romberg, Reicha, Borghi and Danzi, to name but a few! Lied by Vincent D’Indy (pictured) was published in 1885 but was only recorded for the first time in 1991 by Julian Lloyd Webber and the English Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Yan Pascal Tortelier. We have also discovered an extremely rare piece of music for cello and piano: keep an eye on the Jerwood Library blog to find out more about our exciting find!

Other recent donations include lots of choral music/part songs from a Choral Society in Plumstead, and another generous donation of vocal music which belonged to leading operatic bass, Richard Angas, who died last year.

The library catalogue contains a list of the most recent printed music additions to the library collection.


Just some of the library CDs!

Just some of the library CDs!

The CD collection here in the Jerwood Library is expanding rapidly thanks to some recent generous donations. Once we checked the donations against what we already had, and what was already available through our online streaming audio collections, we then knew what we needed to keep and what we could pass on to students and staff. Our cataloguer Helen has been busy adding lots of these new CDs to the library catalogue. You can use our online catalogue to see a list of the most recent AV acquisitions. If you are in the library, here at the Faculty of Music, why not have a look at the new items display which is currently full of new CDs (pictured below) and then maybe browse the nearby CDs for sale for just £1 each! The proceeds are used to buy more sheet music, recordings and books for the library collection.

New items shelf full of new CDs!

Did you know that current Trinity Laban students can now borrow up to four CDs for a whole week? This is in part due to our rapidly expanding CD collection in the library, partnered with an ever increasing online streaming collection including Naxos Music Library, Naxos Jazz and Alexander Street Press (Music Online). Why not have a browse at what is available via our online streaming collections and much more by going to QuickSearch.

The Jerwood Library of the Performing Arts celebrates the centenary of Benjamin Britten

Benjamin Britten c1949 (image courtesy of www.britten100.org)

Benjamin Britten c1949 (image courtesy of http://www.britten100.org)

If you’re in the area, why not pop in to the Jerwood Library to see our Britten display, celebrating 100 years since the birth of Benjamin Britten (1913 – 1976)? Tonight’s Choral Evensong at the Old Royal Naval College and next Tuesday’s Trinity Laban String Ensemble concert also mark Britten’s centenary.

“The old idea of a composer suddenly having a terrific idea and sitting up all night to write it is nonsense. Nighttime is for sleeping.”   –  Benjamin Britten

We’ve taken over the new items shelf, the glass display cabinet in the library, the wall mounted listening station and the display stand next to the library door in order to showcase just a small selection of the Britten materials that the library holds, including several new Britten CDs that have only just been added to stock!

Why not try putting ‘Benjamin Britten’ into our online catalogue, to instantly see exactly which materials the library holds by Britten and whether they are available.

Also, if you’re a student at Trinity Laban and find yourself writing essays about Britten or programme notes, why not try using our new search tool: QuickSearch. QuickSearch allows you to do a single broad search for your topic, giving you results which include journal articles, audio, reviews, magazines and books.

The display won’t last long, so come and have a look while it’s still here. If you are a student or staff member at Trinity Laban, and something on the display catches your eye, then why not ask at the desk to borrow it!

http://www.britten100.org/home is the official website celebrating the centenary of composer Benjamin Britten in 2013.