The First Great Virtuoso of the Viola – An exhibition on Lionel Tertis

 

photo of Lionel Tertis

Lionel Tertis, c.1903

Currently on display in the Jerwood Library are highlights from the large collection relating to the renowned viola virtuoso Lionel Tertis (1876-1975), collected by his biographer John White, and now held in the library archives. Throughout his long career Lionel Tertis worked tirelessly towards raising the status of the viola to a solo recital instrument on a par with the violin and cello. To this end he inspired and performed many new works for the instrument, was a prolific arranger of works originally written for other instruments and even produced his own design for the Tertis-model viola, in pursuit of a stronger, more sonorous tone. The Tertis-White collection comprises Tertis’ manuscript arrangements and annotated copies of music he owned, along with photographs, correspondence, concert programmes and other memorabilia. It was the life’s work of the much-respected violist John White whose definitive biography of Tertis was published in 2006: Lionel Tertis: The First Great Virtuoso of the Viola. 

photo of John White

John White, Tertis’ biographer. ©Melanie Strover

 

TERTIS AND TRINITY LABAN

Trinity Laban’s Faculty of Music (then Trinity College of Music) played a formative role in the development of Lionel Tertis’ career. He studied piano, harmony and violin at the college on an ad hoc basis between 1892 and 1894. On leaving the school Bradbury Turner, principal at the time, wrote to congratulate Tertis with the words ‘Remember, study is unending’.[1] Much later, at a dinner given in his honour in 1962, Tertis spoke of the ‘benefit and musical enthusiasm’ he had received during his studentship at TCM.[2] In 1966 the college awarded him an Honorary Fellowship and, after his death in 1975 his widow Lillian Tertis donated an important collection of Tertis’ scores to the college library, including many of his manuscript arrangements. Now, with the accession of John White’s archive – generously donated by his widow Carol –Trinity Laban holds the largest collection of Lionel Tertis material publically available anywhere.

Lionel Tertis also has a living connection with Trinity Laban through the professors of viola Roger Chase and Rivka Golani. It was Rivka who made the premiere recording of Tertis’ arrangement of Elgar’s Cello Concerto, the CD of which can be found in the Jerwood library here.

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Professor Roger Chase playing Tertis’ 1717 Montagnana Viola. ©Todd Rosenberg Photography 2010

And it is Roger Chase who can be seen in the photo above playing Tertis’ 1717 Montagnana viola. Moreover, Roger’s teacher Bernard Shore, Tertis’ student and friend, would occasionally take him to Tertis’ house for lessons with Tertis himself. This 17 1/8” viola is the instrument that Tertis used at the height of his career and helped provide the inspiration for his later development of the Tertis-model viola, seeking to find something of the deep sonority of the Montagnana but in a form more manageable for smaller hands.

LIFE

When Tertis began his career he had to work hard in order to overcome public prejudice against the viola as a solo instrument. In his autobiography, Tertis mentions overhearing someone remarking to their neighbour at one of his first solo concerts: ‘I believe a viola is a peculiarly-shaped brass instrument’, such was the lowly status of the instrument at the time. He goes on to implore the ever-increasing number of violinists choosing to take up the viola: ‘strive to enlarge the library of solo viola music, by fair means or foul. Cajole your composer friends to write for it, raid the repertory of the violin, cello or any other instrument, and arrange and transcribe works from their literature suitable for your viola’ – advice that Tertis himself followed throughout his life with the single-minded dedication that was reportedly so characteristic of him.[3] Representing this dedication to enlarging the viola repertoire with arrangements, on display in the exhibition is the original manuscript in Tertis’ hand of his arrangement of Delius’ Violin Sonata no. 2, pictured below.

The original manuscript of Tertis' Viola arrangement of Delius' 2nd Violin Sonata

Excerpt from the original manuscript of Tertis’ Viola arrangement of Delius’ 2nd Violin Sonata

Tertis was a prolific letter writer and on display are a selection of some of the more well-known correspondents from the large collection of letters in the archive. There’s a letter from Edward Elgar discussing and expressing his approval for the viola arrangement Tertis had made of the composer’s much-loved Cello Concerto; a letter from William Walton expressing his thoughts on Tertis’ retirement; an invitation to dinner from British Prime Minister Edward Heath; a note from Ralph Vaughan-Williams apologising for being too old and deaf to conduct a piece for Tertis; a letter from famous pedagogue Nadia Boulanger and a note from Fritz Kreisler, warmly expressing his friendship.

A particular highlight of the collection, and representative of the important role Tertis played in inspiring new repertoire for the instrument, is his copy of the score of Walton’s Viola Concerto, complete with his markings and a note of thanks to Tertis from the composer: ‘[…]for all you’ve done for this work’. The piece was written for Tertis in 1929 at the suggestion of Sir Thomas Beecham, and although Tertis was to become a strong advocate and regular performer of the piece, his initial reception of it was decidedly lukewarm. In fact, it was actually Paul Hindemith who gave the premiere. As Tertis writes in his autobiography:

One work of which I did not give the first performance was Walton’s masterly concerto. With shame and contrition I admit that when the composer offered me the first performance I declined it. I was unwell at the time; but what is also true is that I had not learnt to appreciate Walton’s style. The innovations in his musical language, which now seem so logical and so truly in the main-stream of music, then struck me as far-fetched. It took me time to realise what a tower of strength in the literature of the viola is this concerto.[4]

Many other British composers also wrote pieces especially for Tertis, among them John McEwen, Arnold Bax, Benjamin Dale, York Bowen, Frank Bridge and Harry Farjeon, Vaughan Williams and Arthur Bliss,[5] all of which are represented in the archive.

 

TERTIS-MODEL VIOLA

Tertis also spent much of his life thinking about the ideal shape and size of the viola. If it were built in proportion to the violin or cello it would be too large to play under the chin, yet this smaller size means a compromise in sonority. Tertis’ tone was big, beautiful and powerful and he insisted on playing an especially large viola to help achieve this. In particular it helped produce his desired rich and resonant C-string sound, bordering on the quality of a cello. He had no time for small, nasal sounds from small violas. Seeking to solve this problem for the viola in general, Tertis began a collaboration with the violin and viola maker Arthur Richardson, aiming to develop an instrument large enough to produce a strong, sonorous tone, yet not so unwieldy that it was too difficult to handle. He entered this quest for the perfect size and sound with the kind of single-minded enthusiasm that characterised much of his life, sending plans to makers all over the world and leading to the production of hundreds of instruments built to the specifications he originally developed with Richardson.[6] On display in the exhibition are a selection of plans, diagrams, photographs and correspondence all relating to his famous Tertis-Model Viola.

Although some violas made to the Tertis pattern are still in professional use, in many ways the Tertis-Model has been relegated to an interesting historical development. Many of today’s players get a great sound from violas of various shapes and sizes, giving the player a degree of choice unthinkable in Tertis’ time. Nevertheless, the effort Tertis put into his model has created a huge amount of interest in the whole question of viola size and shape, and has led to the opening up of many new paths of development for the instrument.[7] It is just one of the many ways that Lionel Tertis has left a deep and lasting legacy in the history and development of the modern viola.

 


 

[1] White, John. Lionel Tertis: The First Great Virtuoso of the Viola. (Suffolk: Boydell Press, 2006), 3

[2] Quoted in: White. Lionel Tertis, 264

[3] Tertis, Lionel. My Viola and I. (London: Kahn & Averill, 1991), 161

[4] Ibid., 36

[5] Watson Forbes, ‘Tertis, Lionel’ in Grove Music OnlineOxford Music Online, <http://www.oxfordmusiconline.com/subscriber/article/grove/music/27716&gt; (accessed January 23, 2017)

[6]  White. Lionel Tertis, 160

[7] Ibid., 169

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James’ Choice: Antonio de Almeida’s score of Iannis Xenakis’ Metastasis

a photograph of Antonio de Almeida's copy of Xenakis' Metastasis

Antonio de Almeida’s markings on Xenakis’ Metastasis

This month the library item I’ve decided to highlight is the score for Iannis Xenakis’ (1922-2001) Metastasis from the printed music collection of the conductor Antonio de Almeida (1928-1997), complete with his performance markings. There are a number of reasons for my choice. As well as being a landmark piece of twentieth-century modernism, it’s a visually-striking score on account of its size and intricacy. Moreover, Antonio de Almeida’s pencil markings are a fascinating insight into the practical considerations required for performing a piece like this. It’s also an excellent example of Xenakis’ unique approach to composition, and one with a very explicit connection to his work as an architect.

score

Written in 1953-4, and premiered at the Donaueschingen Festival in 1955, Metastasis is Xenakis’ first major work after the completion of his studies with Olivier Messiaen. In this piece, Xenakis lays down the foundation for many of the approaches and attitudes to music composition that were to occupy him for the rest of his career. The work combines an idiosyncratic system for controlling pitch material and an approach to sound best described when he says ‘the sonorities of the orchestra are building materials, like brick, stone and wood […] The subtle structures of orchestral sound masses represent a reality that promises much’.[1] In this piece, each orchestral player has a separate part, and Xenakis combines, on the one hand, the continuous evolution of enormous glissando structures and, on the other, the discontinuous permutation of pitches.

 ‘I was interested in two things in those years. One: I wanted to write a kind of dodecaphonic music with the help of computation – a music whose macroform emerges from a few basic principles. In Metastasis I made computations based on the permutations of intervals, with the help of the axiomatic approach known in mathematics.

Two: I was interested in the continuous changes of chords. […] How to make that change a continuous one? So long as one remains in the same scale, the only solution is a glissando. […] That was the basic idea.’[2]

 

Metastasis is also the first work in which Xenakis’ compositional planning for the piece involved using a two-dimensional projection. Here, time is on the x-axis and pitch on the y-axis, and ruled straight-line paths are bent into curved surfaces.

Composition sketch for Xenakis metastasis showing the basis for the hyperbolic paraboloids of the Philips Pavillion

Image scanned from Bálint András Varga, Conversations with Iannis Xenakis, (London: Faber and Faber, 1996), 74

Xenakis also employed this technique in later compositions (such as Stratégie and Syrmos), but it’s particularly fascinating how it was also translated directly into his work as an architect. The connection is immediately obvious with how these curves built from multiple straight-line paths (hyperbolic paraboloids) were incorporated into the distinctive shape of his design for the Philips Pavilion for the 1958 Brussels Exposition Universelle, built during his time working in the office of Le Corbusier. Incidentally, the pavillion had another connection to musical modernism in that it formed the setting for performances of Edgard Varèse’s Poème électronique.[3]

expo again

Image by Wouter Hagens, accessed from http://www.archdaily.com/157658/ad-classics-expo-58-philips-pavilion-le-corbusier-and-iannis-xenakis, licensed under Creative Commons CC BY-SA 3.0

The score on display was plucked from the personal printed music library of Antonio de Almeida, housed in the Jerwood Library’s special collections. Consisting of 5,456 volumes, including scores acquired by him from the collections of Charles Munch and Pierre Monteux, it’s a wide-ranging collection, reflecting his own diverse musical interests. Alongside the Xenakis score, the collection ranges from other leading lights of twentieth-century modernism, via more mainstream orchestral repertoire of the 19th and 18th century, to composers such as Carlos Chavez, André Grétry, Howard Hanson, Hans Pfitzner and Henri Serpette. Not to mention works by Offenbach and Boccherini, in whom de Almeida had a particular interest. Described by Grove as ‘a conductor of elegance and fastidious detail’, he was also awarded the French Ordre des Arts et des Lettres and the Légion d’Honneur.[4]

 


 

[1] Iannis Xenakis quoted in Peter Hoffmann, ‘Xenakis, Iannis’ in Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online <http://www.oxfordmusiconline.com/subscriber/article/grove/music/30654&gt; (Accessed August 25th, 2016)

[2] Iannis Xenakis quoted in Bálint András Varga, Conversations with Iannis Xenakis, (London: Faber and Faber, 1996), 72.

[3] Peter Hoffmann, ‘Xenakis, Iannis’ in Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online <http://www.oxfordmusiconline.com/subscriber/article/grove/music/30654&gt; (Accessed August 25th, 2016)

[4] Noël Goodwin, ‘Almeida, Antonio (Jacques) de’ in Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online <http://www.oxfordmusiconline.com/subscriber/article/grove/music/00643&gt; (Accessed August 23rd, 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.

Item of the Month: Stanley Black’s film music for “The Young Ones” starring Cliff Richard

20160805_114218This summer’s Item of the Month features items from our Stanley Black archive relating to his music for the Cliff Richard film The Young Ones for which he wrote the music.

A pianist, conductor, composer and arranger, Stanley Black was known primarily for his many film music scores, his jazz and popular music arrangements and his work for the BBC as conductor and presenter of light music programmes. This collection comprises hundreds of autograph manuscript scores as well as ephemeral material including concert programmes, correspondence, contracts and photographs. The majority of the scores are listed separately on the library’s online catalogue – to browse a list of them, choose Stanley Black collection from the source option.

His filmography includes:

It Always Rains on Sunday (1948)
Too Many Crooks (1958)
Make Mine a Million (1959)
Jack the Ripper (1959)
The Battle of the Sexes (1959)
Hand in Hand (1960)
The Flesh and the Fiends (1960)
Sands of the Desert (1960)
The Siege of Sidney Street (1960)
House of Mystery (1961)
The Day the Earth Caught Fire (1961)
Valentino (1977)

The image above shows a close up of part of the score for reel “5M1” of The Young Ones. The scores give a fascinating glimpse of the working practices involved in producing film music: notice the penciled-in remark concerning the violin solo – possibly made by an arranger or sound engineer.

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.

Performing Special Collections: Jerwood Library Catch and Glee Club

Last Friday, after closing up, we transformed the library from a quiet research space into a lively performance venue. This was the culmination of our first ever CoLab venture where we devised, led and hosted a project based on music in our special collections.

CoLab

Jerwood Library Catch and Glee Club: (L-R) Anna Chan, Bryony Purdue, Hannah Lee, Emily Harwood, Andrew Woodmansey, Peter Knapp

The idea for the project came about a few years ago when special collections librarian Emma Greenwood curated an exhibition about our unusual and extensive collection of catches and glees. Hoping to generate more interest in the repertoire through the CoLab festival, she then approached vocal professor Peter Knapp who kindly agreed to act as co-mentor. Together, they created a project which would not only see some of these little-known works performed but also encourage students to research and present the material themselves – all vital skills for the 21st-century musician. Sessions would be split between research in the library mentored by Emma and rehearsals mentored by Peter.

Basildon Catch for three ladies - Copy

One of the works performed by the Jerwood Library Catch and Glee Club: John Basildon’s Catch for Three Ladies from The Ladies Collection of Catches, Glees, Canzonets, Madrigals, &c. [c.1800]

The six singers who signed up for the project now had a real challenge on their hands: in just two weeks they had to go from having barely heard of catches and glees to choosing repertoire, researching its context, learning the music, and presenting the final performance. And all this while reading from out-of-print early editions with their unfamiliar notation, clefs and typography. Needless to say, everyone rose to the challenge and the end result was a fantastic success. Our audience clearly enjoyed the performance and the students agreed it had been a valuable experience. So, we’d like to say a huge thank you to all involved: singers Andrew Woodmansey, Bryony Purdue, Dominic Eatwell, Emily Harwood, Hannah Lee and Anna Chan, and mentors Peter Knapp and Emma Greenwood.

Now, what about CoLab 2017? If there are any Trinity Laban professors out there interested in working with library staff and collections on a similar project, do get in touch. We’d love to hear your ideas!

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!