Happy birthday PRS

prsformusiclogoApril 1st, 1914 was a momentous day. On that day the Performing Right Society was born. The PRS exists to collect money for the publication and recording of music in the UK, and to pay the composers and lyricists who write what we listen to and play. Prior to the founding of the Performing Right Society it was often down to a composer’s relationship with his publisher whether he was able to negotiate a decent “cut” of the proceeds. Astute composers such as Haydn could  negotiate hard bargains with their publishers, while others, Sousa for example, were not afraid to complain vociferously to The Times about piracy in the UK. Others however were less fortunate. Samuel Coleridge-Taylor notoriously sold the rights to the hugely popular Hiawatha cycle outright, and died in poverty making very little money from the sheet music sold, or the concerts which would later be staged at the height of “Hiawathamania”. Continue reading

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Thomas Busby: the model for MusiCB3?

Vol 1 of Thomas Busby's Concert Room Anecdotes. 1825.

Thomas Busby’s Concert Room and Orchestra Anecdotes. 1825. © Cambridge University Library

If the composer, writer and musician Thomas Busby had been alive today he would have been in his element delighting in the ability to get online and blog away to his heart’s content – hot competition though for us here at MusiCB3.  What on earth, you may wonder, am I on about? Read on and find out… Continue reading

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Ebooks for music

ebooks@cambridge

ebooks@cambridge

I still remember the days when we advertised ebooks on music subjects at the Pendlebury Library by printing out all the covers on a poster and yes, they did all fit, first on an A4 and later on an A3 sheet of paper. Continue reading

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Tudor Treasures

Title page of Luther's Deudsche Messe vnd Ordnung Gottis Diensts

Title page of Luther’s Deudsche Messe vnd Ordnung Gottis Diensts MR220.d.50.1.

As part of Open Cambridge next week (12-13 September), the University Library will be hosting a Tudor Treasures tour. (It’s currently fully booked, but check the UL’s Facebook page just in case any cancellations occur).

I was asked to look out some of the Music Department’s “Tudor treasures” to complement items displayed by other departments. An early item of printed music is Martin Luther’s Deudsche Messe vnd Ordnung Gottis Diensts, published by Michael Lotter in Wittenberg in 1526. This first edition sets out Luther’s views on how the Mass should be conducted, and also includes chants and hymns. Continue reading

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Meet….Diana Wood

Members of Cambridge Wind Band. Diana Wood is second from the right. Thanks to Cambridge Wind Band. Copyright Helen Alderton.

Members of Cambridge Wind Band. Diana Wood is second from the right.
Thanks to Cambridge Wind Band.
Copyright Helen Alderton.

MusiCB3: What has your road to librarianship been?

It was a short and uneventful, if rather serendipitous one. I’d just finished a music degree and PGCE, and knew I didn’t want to teach, but beyond that had no idea what I was going to do next. I happened to be in the UL looking up books for an assignment, and checked the job pages completely on a whim. I saw the Pendlebury was advertising for a
temporary assistant and went for it, thinking it could at least delay the decision-making a bit longer, and ended up absolutely loving it! I then remained working fulltime in libraries while earning my librarianship masters part-time through Aberystwyth University, which I
finally completed this April. Continue reading

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Black fingers, or, Hans keller unboxed…

Sorting the Hans Keller archive.   Photo © Alison Garnham

Sorting the Hans Keller archive.
Photo © Alison Garnham

Those of you who have read our earlier posts on this most prolific of musicians will know what an extraordinary man Hans Keller was. For the last few weeks I have been (and still am) engaged on a task fascinating and frustrating in equal measure: a preliminary sort of the unsorted material in his archive (what in posh language is called a Scoping Study) so that we can see What Needs To Be Done ande How Long It Might Take. I thought you might like to join me for a moment on my journey of discovery. Continue reading

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A talent for light music

A kiss in spring. Recently acquired score and parts with annotations by Constant Lambert.Copyright Sarah Chapman

A kiss in spring.
Recently acquired score and parts with annotations by Constant Lambert.
Copyright Cambridge University Library

The UL recently acquired two slightly unusual items: a copy of the song “You were there” from Noel Coward‘s musical Tonight at 8.30, signed by Coward and his leading lady, Gertrude Lawrence; and music for the ballet that enlivened the play A kiss in Spring, composed by Herbert Griffiths, and heavily annotated by Constant Lambert, who helped to arrange the work. Kiss in Spring seems to have been a fairly turgid work, its audience saved from a lingering death by boredom thanks to the choreography of Frederick Ashton, the work of Griffiths and Lambert, and the dancing of a young Alicia Markova. So why this interest in the lighter side of the British musical tradition? Continue reading

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