About Emma Greenwood

Emma worked at the Jerwood Library from 2008 to 2016.

Trinity College of Music Archive Online

Following many months of dust, sweat, and toil, we are pleased to announce that the archive of the former Trinity College of Music (TCM) has been catalogued online and is now fully accessible to researchers for the first time. Thanks to special funding from Trinity Laban and former principal Derek Aviss, we had six months to sort out a lot of boxes…

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These boxes were all held in storage, unlisted, and were therefore inaccessible to researchers. We appraised and arranged all the records in a sensible order before describing them on the Archives Hub. Finally, everything was moved into the library’s closed-access storage area, and re-housed in nice new boxes…

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The archive covers the period from the foundation of the college in 1872 to 2005 (when TCM merged with the Laban Dance Centre). Records relating to the administration of local examinations and diplomas are included up until 1992 when Trinity College London was established as a separate company. Materials include minutes of meetings, student records, calendars and prospectuses, photographs, concert programmes, and much more…

20160825_16234620160825_15374820160825_162459 (2)Concert programmes re-housed in archival-standard enclosures

Anyone is welcome to view material from the archive, but please bear in mind that some records are closed in accordance with legal requirements. Please contact us in advance of your visit to make an appointment.

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Wind, Brass and Percussion Music in Special Collections

Today we have a post aimed at encouraging wind, brass and percussion players to make more of our special collections. Whilst it’s true that much of the collections comprise voice and string-based repertoire, this is by no means exclusively the case. So, here are some choice picks to help you explore further (NB non-WBP players may also find something of interest here!).

Printed music

The Bridge Memorial Library (the historic library of the former Trinity College of Music) is full of rare and unusual printed music from the classical and romantic periods.

Reissiger

Carl Reissiger’s Vier Gesänge for soprano, horn and piano 780.3 REI

Of relevance here, there are several out-of-print works of chamber music involving wind or brass instruments. For instance, we have a set of quartets by C. F. Baumgarten for oboe and strings – we featured them a few years ago in this blog post here. Then there is Henri Brod’s Cinquième Fantaisie for piano, oboe and bassoon. Or how about Reissiger’s Vier Gesänge for soprano, horn and piano.

bound volume

Nineteenth-century volume of clarinet trios including Heinrich Lannoy, Grosses Trio für Pianoforte, Clarinett und Violoncello 782.7029 LAN

Clarinettists may want to delve into this volume of trios, originally for various different instrument combinations but bound together clearly with the intention of being played by a clarinet trio. It even includes some manuscript arrangements for the clarinet part – a great insight into nineteenth-century performance practice.

We also hold first or early editions of better-known works, useful for comparing with performance directions in later editions. For instance, see this 1820s edition of Spohr’s Octet.

Manuscript music

As well as rare printed music we also hold many unique manuscript scores of works written for wind, brass or percussion instruments.

Several of these can be found in our Carey Blyton collection which came to us in 2006. Blyton was a former TL student and professor, and a prolific composer. Relevant items include a brass quintet, woodwind trio and song cycle for voice, clarinet, horn and piano.

Another manuscript by one of our former composition professors is Arnold Cooke’s autograph score of Divertimento for flute, oboe, violin, cello and piano (or harpsichord). Cooke taught at the conservatoire between 1947 and 1978.

Lastly, so as not to neglect our percussionists, there are the three autograph manuscript scores by Simon Bainbridge, David Bedford, and John Woolrich which together comprise Songs, Sketches and Tall Stories, a work for narrator, clarinet, piano and percussion. This was composed for a schools music theatre project at Blackheath Concert Halls (now owned by Trinity Laban) in March 1989.

Accessing the collections

If you’d like to discover more, all our special collections are described here on our website. And many collections are catalogued at item level on our catalogue.

When you’ve found something you’d like to see, please contact us to make an appointment so we can have the material ready for you. Our special collections are available to all researchers, whether members of Trinity Laban or not. Please note that copies can only be made in compliance with copyright law – we can advise on specific items.

Vivian Joseph Centenary

Today we celebrate the centenary of Vivian Joseph (1916-2005), cellist and former professor at Trinity College of Music (now Trinity Laban’s Faculty of Music).

TCM 12.7.1 Vivian Joseph 1934

Vivian Joseph in 1934. TCM Archive.

Born in Wales, Vivian Joseph took up the cello aged seven after hearing Lauri Kennedy play. He was soon hailed as a child prodigy, winning numerous awards at competitive festivals. A prize-winning studentship at the Royal Academy of Music followed, and in the late 1930s Joseph gave several critically-acclaimed recitals at the Wigmore Hall.

Master Joseph [12], not only carried off the prize for ‘cello playing in his own class … but also in the class for competitors under seventeen, and the senior class. [1]

During the Second World War Joseph enlisted in the army. He rose to become 2nd Lieutenant in the Royal Ulster Rifles before being wounded in action in North Africa in 1944.

1944 on crutches

Vivian Joseph in uniform and on crutches after being wounded in action [1944]. TCM Archive.

After a lengthy rehabilitation, Joseph resumed his performing career, becoming a noted chamber musician. Among other groups, he was a member of the London Piano Quartet, the Park Lane Ensemble, and the Dumka Piano Trio. With the London String Trio he gave the European première of Schoenberg’s String Trio (the first performance was at Harvard, Massachusetts).

From 1953 Joseph taught cello and chamber music at Trinity College of Music and was awarded an honorary fellowship in 1965. In 1997 he generously funded a series of prizes to be awarded to college string students.[2] He also taught at the Royal Academy of Music. Joseph died in 2005 and his obituary was published in the Guardian.

In the archives we hold a file relating to Vivian Joseph which includes photographs, a scrapbook and concert programmes. Please get in touch if you would like to see the material.

[1] ‘Boy Prodigies’, Nottingham Evening Post, 11 April 1929.

[2] Trinity College of Music, Magazine, Autumn 1997, p. 8 and supplement.

Item of the Month: Peace to the Souls of the Heroes

glee singers

Glee Singers c.1818 © The Trustees of the British Museum

This month the Jerwood library will be hosting its first ever project under the CoLab banner. The Jerwood Library Catch and Glee Club will be a collaborative partnership between the library, vocal professor Peter Knapp, and a small group of student singers. Using material from the library’s extensive catch and glee collection we will bring to life the convivial atmosphere of part-singing in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Do join us if you can for the performance in the library at 5pm on Friday 19 February.

To whet your appetite, this month’s item of the month showcases John Wall Callcott’s glee Peace to the Souls of the Heroes. This was based on the popular text Fingal written by James MacPherson in 1762 but purporting to be a translation from the work of an ancient Gaelic poet named Ossian. This, along with MacPherson’s other Ossianic writings, played an important role in the Celtic revival and in the development of Romanticism.

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Peace to the Souls of the Heroes / John Wall Callcott (1766-1821)

Callcott himself is a less well-known figure these days. Born in 1766, he was a largely self-taught musician who nevertheless became a popular glee composer. In fact, he came to dominate the Catch Club’s annual prize competitions, until they abolished them in 1793. He was also active in the formation of the Glee Club in 1787. Aside from his glee writing, Callcott was an organist, music theorist, and, like other Enlightenment gentlemen, a dictionary compiler. He had a large family and his reputation was secured by his son-in-law William Horsley (also a celebrated glee composer), who published Callcott’s works in a three-volume set prefaced by a glowing memoir.

Without Any Apologies for Their Sex: A Celebration of Women at Trinity Laban’s Faculty of Music

We are pleased to announce the launch of our latest exhibition which celebrates the contribution of women to Trinity Laban’s Faculty of Music since its inception in 1872. The display runs from 15 January – 24 March 2016 and can be found just inside the entrance to the library. External visitors: please contact the library in advance to arrange access. This blog post summarizes the exhibition for those unable to visit in person.

Student Edith Bird with her piano teacher Gordon Saunders, ca.1907-1912. In the early days of the college women overwhelmingly studied either piano or singing. TCM 15/4.

When Harold Rutland wrote his 1972 centenary history of Trinity College of Music (now Trinity Laban’s Faculty of Music), he filled its pages with the names and faces of men. At that time, women were absent from senior management roles and their impact in other areas was marginalized. However, take a closer look at the archives held here in the Jerwood Library and a different story emerges. As students, teachers and examiners, women contributed in innovative and pioneering ways to the success of the institution. This exhibition recovers their voices from the obscurity of the historical record. It is the story of how women made Trinity Laban the institution it is today.

Students

Trinity College of Music was initially set up in 1872 as a training college for church music. As such, it focused on choral singing and organ playing, both areas then dominated by men. But the college soon expanded to cover other aspects of music education, and a programme of local examinations was initiated. These were extremely popular with young ladies around the country and led to growing numbers entering the college as students. In 1900, just over half of matriculated students were women. Yet women students were not fully integrated into the life of the college: they were taught in special ‘ladies’ classes’ and successful women diploma candidates were listed separately from their male counterparts. Women’s musical studies were also overwhelmingly limited to theory classes, piano and singing. Violin was studied only by a handful of women, in keeping with contemporary norms.[1]

TCM prog 4 Dec 1924

TCM concert in 1924 shows an even gender balance among string-playing students. TCM 6/6.

The taboo associated with women instrumentalists was, however, about to break. A concert programme from 1924 is striking in its gender balance across all string instruments, including Jessie Mason on double bass. Women also began to study wind instruments. In the 1950s scholarships were awarded to Michelle Croll, Anne Boyce, Mary Brenchley, Jane Alderson, and Beatrice Hussey on flute, Barbara Graham and Jean Titcombe on oboe, and Sylvia Thomas on clarinet.

In spite of this growth in accomplished female instrumentalists, opportunities in professional orchestras were limited. Henry Wood recruited six female string players to his Queen’s Hall orchestra in 1913 but other UK orchestras were slow to appoint women to permanent posts. The LSO remained resolutely all male until the late 1970s.[2]

By the 1980s women students were on an entirely equal footing with their male counterparts at Trinity. Scholarships, prizes and performance opportunities were all split equally between genders. Women were also represented across all instruments, including on brass and percussion, two areas which had previously been little studied by women.

Staff

In common with other conservatoires, women were largely excluded from teaching positions at Trinity in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, although they were prominent as local music teachers. In 1880, only two women professors were employed by the college: Alma Sanders on piano and Kate Steel for singing. Sanders was also a composer and in 1884 won the college’s chamber music prize competition and ten guineas for her piano quartet. By 1900, the numbers had expanded slightly and Doris Dalton had been appointed to teach violin, in spite of the continuing prejudice towards women violinists. In 1897 a reviewer had described Dalton, rather patronizingly, as a ‘clever young violinist’ after a recital at St. James’ Hall, a large and grand concert hall then in Piccadilly.[3]

Finzi Bagatelles cover

Gerald Finzi’s Five Bagatelles was written for Pauline Juler, professor of clarinet at TCM. 781.3 FIN.

During the first half of the twentieth century, numbers of women professors steadily increased. One of these was Pauline Juler, a clarinettist who had studied at TCM and was now making a name for herself, against all odds, as a chamber musician and recitalist. As The Musical Times noted, she was undoubtedly a good clarinettist ‘without any apologies for her sex’.[4] In 1943 Juler recorded Harold Ferguson’s Octet with leading musicians of the day including horn player Denis Brain, and the year later Gerald Finzi wrote his Five Bagatelles for her. Finzi also had Juler in mind for his clarinet concerto but Juler’s performing career had meanwhile come to an abrupt end on her marriage (though she did continue to teach into the 1960s).

By 1980 the college had begun to resemble the modern institution it is today. The corporation included two women members and the teaching staff were represented on the college board by Lettice Stuart, a long-standing teacher in the junior department. Administrative staff included a female librarian and welfare officer. As professors, women were still not represented evenly across all instruments (they were notably absent from the brass department) but were particularly prominent as singing teachers, as indeed they had always been. Valerie Cardnell, for instance, taught singing at the college for around twenty years from 1965. She was also an active member of the Society of Women Musicians, an institution founded in 1911 in reaction to the (then) male-only Society of British Composers.

Valerie Cardnell 1972

A stately-looking Valerie Cardnell leaving Westminster Abbey after a service of thanksgiving to mark TCM’s centenary in 1972. Note how she is surrounded by men in this picture: women were still in the minority among professors and senior management at this time. VC 6.

Examiners

With growing numbers of women achieving music qualifications, and with limited professional outlets for them as musicians, some Trinity women were recruited by the college as examiners. At first the numbers were small; between 1874 and 1900 only three out of 144 public examiners were women. But the numbers grew and women examiners came to play a crucial role in cementing the global reputation of the college. Examining was not, however, an easy option. The rapidly expanding network of examination centres meant that examiners had to travel extensively across the globe for long periods of time. As Jay Thomas reported after her first examining tour of India in 1967, ‘I have lived seven years of experience in seven weeks’.[5]

Women travelled all over the world examining for the college. Data compiled from TCM Bulletins, 1965-1969.

Women travelled all over the world examining for the college. Data compiled from TCM Bulletins, 1965-1969.

Mary Tweedie was one of the earliest women to gain recognition for her examining work. She toured the world many times over during fifteen years as an examiner in the 1940s, 50s and 60s, at one point taking charge of an administrative crisis at the Johannesburg centre. The local secretary in New Zealand deemed her to be ‘the finest ambassador Britain ever had’.[6] She also represented the college at prize givings in her native Scotland, distributing awards and giving the address on at least two occasions. After her death in 1963 a correspondent to The Times wrote:

She had a mind steeped in music, literature and poetry, and an exceptionally retentive memory with an imaginative skill as a story-teller which enchanted old and young alike … A host of friends throughout the world will mourn the loss of a warm-hearted, endearing and unique personality.[7]

In the 1960s, perhaps owing in part to the success of Mary Tweedie, the proportion of women examiners rose quite dramatically from around eight per cent in 1960 to twenty-five per cent in 1970. One of these was Marjorie Jaco, an organist, choirmaster and conductor who claimed to be the first woman to conduct at the Royal Festival Hall. Over the course of her examining career she travelled three times around the world, lecturing in Canada, Sri Lanka, India and the Antipodes, and broadcasting programmes in Canada and New Zealand, alongside her examining commitments.

Women examiners 1968

The proportion of women examiners rose considerably in the 1960s. Marjorie Jaco, Sonia Melville and Mavis Walker all joined the ranks in 1968. TCM Bulletin May 1968.

Junior Department

Trinity’s junior department, the first of its kind in the UK, began in 1906 with a partnership between the college and London County Council. It was initially run by John Warriner but after his death in 1934 Gladys Puttick was appointed to lead the department. She was already director of music at Queen’s College, Harley Street and had a private teaching practice in Wigmore Street teaching musicianship and piano. Puttick had an innovative approach to creative musicianship, something she had developed from her mentor Dr Yorke Trotter at the London Academy of Music. She remained head of the junior department for forty-two years and her influence was deep and long-lasting. Jane Daniels recalled ‘without Gladys Puttick, I probably would never have become a professional musician’. Similarly impressed was the conductor Barry Wordsworth who has said,

‘She was quite simply extraordinary … without her I cannot imagine how things would have gone’.[8]

In 1976 Puttick was succeeded by Lettice Stuart who maintained the ethos of Puttick’s teaching. Musicianship classes remain a core strength of the department to this day.

Gladys Puttick TCM 16.2.3

Gladys Puttick teaching a musicianship class to junior students in 1963. Note the roughly even gender balance among her pupils. Photograph © Michael Ward. TCM 16/2/3.

Current Situation

Today, there is a good gender balance across Trinity Laban. The latest equality statistics reported a roughly equal split among staff overall, as well as among senior post holders. There is also an even gender balance among music students. At Trinity College London (the exam board which separated from TCM in 1992), 103 out of 240 music examiners are now women (as of November 2015), a respectable legacy for the likes of Mary Tweedie and Marjorie Jaco .

Individual music faculty women also continue to blaze a trail for gender equality. In 2013, composition teacher Errollyn Wallen became the first ever female recipient of the Ivor Novello Award for Classical Music. Dr Sophie Fuller, programme leader for the MMus and MFA courses, researches gender and sexuality in music and is the author of the Pandora Guide to Women Composers. And as part of last year’s International Women’s Day, two female jazz students, Rosie Turton and Nubya Garcia, were featured in London Jazz News.

But gender imbalances still prevail in the wider music profession. In the 2015 BBC Proms season women accounted for only 30% of instrumental soloists, 36% of living composers, and just 4% of conductors. Meanwhile, the majority of UK music teachers are female — a recent Making Music report put the figure at 71% of all teachers preparing students for ABRSM or TCL examinations. Women, therefore, continue to occupy the lowest paid, lowest profile jobs in the music profession, while men dominate on the public stage.

References

[1] Cyril Ehrlich, The Music Profession in Britain since the Eighteenth Century (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1985), p. 157. On the broader history of women in music see also Lucy Green, Music, Gender, Education (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997) and Tick, Judith, et al. “Women in music.” Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online (Oxford University Press) <http://www.oxfordmusiconline.com/subscriber/article/grove/music/52554pg2> [date accessed: 18 September 2015].

[2] Richard Morrison, Orchestra: the LSO. A Century of Triumph and Turbulence (London: Faber, 2004), p. 187.

[3] ‘Concerts and Recitals’, The Musical Times and Singing Class Circular, 38, 651 (1897), p. 316.

[4] ‘London Concerts’, The Musical Times, 78, 1137 (1937), p. 991.

[5] ‘News and Views of our Examinations Overseas’, TCM Bulletin, 7 (1968), 11-16 (p. 16.).

[6] Harold Rutland, Trinity College of Music: the First Hundred Years (London: Trinity College of Music, 1972), p. 38.

[7] ‘Miss Mary Tweedie’, The Times, 4 October 1963.

[8] Cassal, Anne, Junior Trinity: 100 Years, 1906-2006 (Ann Cassal, 2006), p. 30.

 

Animals in the Archives

This week we’ve been celebrating Explore Your Archive week over on Twitter by posting stories, gems and facts from the Faculty of Music archives (go to our Twitter feed @JerwoodLib or browse the #ExploreArchives hashtag). Today, archivists around the world will be attempting to break the internet by displaying the animals in their collections. To kick off, here’s a photo of harpsichordist Christopher Wood with one of his (many) cats.

Christopher Wood with cat

From our Christopher Wood collection (where lots more cats may be found!)

When not cuddling his feline friends, Wood taught at Trinity College of Music (now the Faculty of Music) between 1947 and 1967.

Elsewhere in the archives are many music manuscripts inspired by animals. Another former TCM professor, Carey Blyton, wrote several animal songs including Sally the Pig from his book of nonsense songs Bananas in Pyjamas, Three Bird Songs for unison voices and piano, and The Owl for soprano, violin, clarinet, cello and piano. Also kept safe behind-the-scenes is the manuscript score to Who’s Who in the Zoo by Robert Sterndale Bennett (1880-1963). Rather more sinister is Stanley Black’s autograph score to the 1948 horror film Monkey’s Paw (probably best avoid that one if, like me, you’re a fan of our nearest animal relations).

Monkey's Paw

Poster for the 1933 film adaptation of W. W. Jacob’s 1902 short story Monkey’s Paw. Click on the image to read more about the book’s on-screen history.

Finally, we’ve created a gallery of music-related animal images from our friends over on Flickr Commons. Enjoy!

New Exhibition: Facsimile Scores in the Jerwood Library

Brand new for the start of the autumn term is our latest exhibition Facsimile Scores in the Jerwood Library, running from 10 September until 11 December. This display has been curated by library assistant James Luff, and is based on his popular blog post ‘The delights of handwritten scores‘.

The exhibition showcases facsimiles of manuscript scores held by the Jerwood Library. One cabinet displays a selection of beautiful and distinctive handwritten scores from twentieth-century composers, showing a range of particularly striking and individual approaches to the calligraphy of more-or-less conventionally notated music. The other cabinet highlights the writing styles and working methods of many of the old masters.

When not working in the library, James composes music himself so brings an insider’s perpective to the subject of composers’ manuscript scores. You will be able to read more about James when he appears later this month in our Who’s Who series.

The exhibition space is located just inside the Jerwood Library, opposite the issue desk. For any visitors who may wish to view the exhibition, please contact us in advance to arrange access. Everyone is welcome!

Illustrated Sheet Music: the What, Why and Where of It

This post is aimed not just at musicians but anyone out there who may have an interest in researching or just appreciating the wonderfully rich resource that is illustrated sheet music.

The jovial drinker [1680-1740] © Trustees of the British Museum

What is sheet music (with apologies to musicians)?

At the risk of stating the obvious, ‘sheet music’ is the generic term used to cover handwritten or printed musical notation. The terms ‘score’ and ‘part’ are more specific terms usually referring to music that is written for multiple players/singers. From at least the seventeenth century, popular songs and other short items of sheet music were issued with illustrations, either as part of a single sheet (along with the music and text) or on a separate cover.

Why would you want to find it?

Irrespective of the musical content, the illustrations on sheet music are a fabulous source in their own right. Here are some reasons you should take a closer look:

I can't stand

I can’t stand Mrs Green’s mother [1859-1886] © Trustees of the British Museum

  • Design/typography/printing history. Every type of method is represented from wood engravings to colour lithography. Some illustrators specialised in sheet music covers such as John Brandard and Alfred Concanen.
  • Performance history. From ball rooms through music hall to jazz clubs, sheet music has documented the scenes, people, and themes of light music entertainment.
  • Social/cultural history. Contemporary fashions, new inventions, and social stereotypes all feature on sheet music covers. All of life is represented and pretty much any topic you could think of has been covered by music’s illustrators.
  • Portraiture. Many covers include illustrations or photographs of contemporary performers. Sometimes these images can be a rare source for long-forgotten celebrities.

Garn away

G’arn Away What D’yer Take Me For? [1904 – 1910] © Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

 Where to find illustrated sheet music covers

Popular sheet music has often been viewed as ephemeral material so it’s not as easy to find as you might think. Music libraries catering to classical music students have tended not to actively collect, catalogue, or digitise popular song collections. And copyright law means that there are restrictions on what can be made available online.

That said, there are some really great collections out there, many curated by museums. Here are some places you can look. In most cases, images are free to use for personal, non-commercial research but do check the permissions on each site first.

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    Aeroplane waltzes [1910] Science Museum via Culture Grid

    The V&A have a vast collection of sheet music, much of which is digitised. To browse, click on ‘more search options’, type “sheet music” into the object name/title box, and select ‘only records with images’.
  • The Cuture Grid brings together collections from museums, galleries, libraries and archives across the UK – the site includes some unexpected sources of sheet music such as the Science Museum.
  • The Spellman Collection of Victorian Music Covers is a huge collection housed at Reading University. It is included on the Culture Grid but also on VADS where it’s a bit easier to browse.
  • The British Museum’s Collections Database is another great UK source, particularly for nineteenth-century covers.
Jazz babies ball

Jazz babies’ ball (1919) Duke University via Sheet Music Consortium

  • Further afield, the Sheet Music Consortium contains collections from US libraries. You can browse by title, subject, name and date published.
  • Europeana brings together millions of items from Europe’s leading galleries, libraries, archives and museums, including sheet music.
  • Flickr Commons is a subset of Flickr used by museums, libraries and archives across the globe. Search on “sheetmusic” (NB all one word) to search the sheet music tag.
  • Lastly, this site is fabulous for French covers, particularly from the art nouveau and art deco periods. But beware: it’s curated by a private individual and copyright in some cases is dubious.

 

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The songs in La Figlia del Reggimento (illustration of soprano Jenny Lind) [1840-43] Jerwood Library, Trinity Laban.

Jerwood Library Collections

Here in the Jerwood Library we are starting to think about how we might make our illustrated sheet music more accessible. We have digitised some nineteenth century items here on Flickr Commons. We also have large amounts of twentieth-century illustrated covers in our Rita Williams Popular Song Collection, though, as yet, these are not digitised. And we are always acquiring new material through donation. So, if you want to know more, get in touch!

We’d also love to hear from you if you have used illustrated sheet music in your research – what did you use it for, how did you find it, what cataloguing/metadata did you find useful?

Jerwood Library Who’s Who: Emma Greenwood

This continues our Who’s Who series of blog posts where Jerwood Library staff talk about themselves and their work.

Tell us a bit about yourself and your role in the Jerwood Library

EmmaI’m responsible for the day-to-day management of the special collections and archives which means anything from answering queries and cataloguing to putting on exhibitions and liaising with potential donors. The collections comprise original manuscripts, photographs, letters and rare printed music – they are a real treasure trove and it’s a privilege to be able to work with them.

I’ve been working in libraries for about 10 years now but before that I was a freelance horn player and was lucky enough to work with some really great ensembles including Academy of St Martin in the Fields, BBC Symphony Orchestra and City of London Sinfonia. I studied with Stephen Stirling at Trinity Laban (then TCM) on a postgraduate diploma course after finishing a music degree at Oxford University. I also hold a PhD in history from the University of Manchester.

What is a typical day at work like for you?

The first thing I do when I get to work is check for new enquiries. These come from all over the world, from academic researchers, musicians, family historians, and lay members of the public. Most enquiries involve a trip into the stacks to look at a collection, and a bit of research using the library’s print and online resources. Enquiry work is brilliant: I love helping people with their research and I always learn something new myself in the process.

After replying to any enquiries, I can get on with some of my longer-term projects such as improving our collections information. Cataloguing special collections and archives is time-consuming, but it gives me the chance to really get to know a collection, which in turn helps me to answer enquiries more effectively. Sometimes I will come across something really special that I can digitize on our Flickr page or write a blog post about.

Other ongoing tasks revolve around ensuring the long-term survival of the collections – for instance undertaking preventative conservation measures, drawing up procedures for handling and access, or updating our emergency plans. I also help out with our information skills training programme, taking the opportunity whenever I can to plug the special collections!

What’s something you enjoy about your role?

I find researching and writing about the collections particularly enjoyable. Luckily there are lots of opportunities for this kind of work – through answering enquiries, cataloguing, and especially when preparing exhibitions. I can get so hooked on a topic that it sometimes spills over into my ‘free’ time – like when I spent much of my Christmas holiday writing about the music for the Chester Historical Pageant of 1910…

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

I’m a huge believer in the potential for special collections and archives to ‘sell’ an institution: the more people who engage with the collections, the further our name is spread. So I’m always thinking of ways to reach new audiences – on Flickr, with blog posts, on the website, or with union catalogues such as the Archives Hub. I also work with the marketing and development teams to bring the collections to a wider audience and build up relationships with alumni, donors and other key individuals. Music is a small world so this kind of engagement can really make a big difference to the wider reputation and success of the conservatoire.

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

I love yoga and wild camping, preferably at the same time…

camping pic

Opera for the cello: introducing Landrock and Kummer

A while back we promised that we would tell you more about some exciting finds we made in a donation of cello music. So, here goes…

Kummer l'elegant - Copy

L’élégant : divertimento on Herold’s opera Pré aux Clercs / Friedrich August Kummer, 1797-1879 (London : Wessel & Co., [183-?] )

As well as making lots of useful additions to our stock, we came across three extremely rare examples of early nineteenth-century opera arrangements for cello and piano. The works might not be well known today, but they offer a fascinating insight into contemporary music-making. They were composed with the domestic amateur market in mind, a growing middle-class group of people who could afford music, instruments and trips to the opera, and wanted to be able to recreate their favourite opera tunes in the home.

The first two pieces are arrangements by Friedrich Kummer of Ferdinand Hérold’s comic opera Le Pré aux Clercs. This opera had first been performed in Paris on 15 December 1832 and was considered to be one of the finest of its period. Kummer on the other hand was a little-known German cellist and composer who specialised in writing cello music for the amateur market. These two numbers he arranged from Le Pré aux Clerc – ‘L’élégant’ and the ‘Adagio and Rondoletto’ – were published in London soon after the premiere of the opera, demonstrating the speed with which music was adapted and travelled across Europe at this time. We also have an early edition of Le Pré aux Clerc in the special collections which formed part of Jullien’s Royal Conservatory of Music.

Landrock duo - Copy

Duo pour le piano et violoncelle sur les thêmes de l’opéra d’Auber Le Domino Noir / F. Landrock (Mayence [Mainz] et Anvers : chez les fils de B. Schott, [ca.1839])

The third example is by François Landrock and is an arrangement for cello and piano of Daniel Auber’s comic opera Le Domino Noir. This opera was first performed in Paris on 2 December 1837 and, again, was hugely successful throughout Europe. Landrock was a professor at the Geneva Conservatory and made this arrangement of the main themes of Auber’s opera around 1839. We also hold various full scores, vocal scores, and recordings of Le Domino Noir in the library so you can find out for yourself why it was so popular in the early nineteenth century.

We don’t know of any other copies of these arrangements in UK libraries, so if you would like to have a look for yourself, or would like performance copies made, then please get in touch.