Nowel Nowel

Illustration from A Christmas Carol. S727.d.84.2

Illustration from A Christmas Carol. S727.d.84.2

A few weeks ago I was trying to sort out the blogging rota. As the MusiCB3 bloggers headed off for their Christmas breaks I was left with the Yuletide blog that will take us into the New Year. I thought I knew exactly what I was going to blog about – something festive, perhaps traditional Christmas music in East Anglia? You’d think it would be easy – after all there were plenty of collections of traditional folksongs dating from Victorian times into the twentieth century, but to my growing frustration I discovered that most of the collections came from the west of England. There seemed to be nothing from the east…

And then purely by chance I found J.A. Fuller-Maitland’s English carols of the fifteenth century. These aren’t just any carols, they are one of the earliest and best sources of English carols, and (it gets better) they are from a manuscript in Trinity College, Cambridge (O.3.58). The roll was copied in the first half of the fifteenth century, and comes almost certainly from Norfolk. I had found my East Anglian Christmas. Continue reading

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Writing about music: tips and suggestions in Holoman’s book

Are you writing a paper and don’t know how to quote a symphony by Brahms? Have you doubts on how to cite a direction for dynamic nuance? Should it be Arlequin from “Carnaval” or “Arlequin” from Carnaval? Rachmaninov, Rachmaninoff or Rakhmaninov? Lyons or Lyon?


These are just a few of the questions that students bump into when they start writing papers, but no panic! Come and visit the Pendlebury Library to consult the just published third edition of Writing about music: a style sheet by D. Kern Holoman (Pen Rb.816.19B.H), a revised and handy-format book conceived, in the wake of The Chicago Manual of Style, for authors, students, editors and anyone who deals with music on a daily basis.

(Rule of thumb for students: if you have been given precise instructions by your Faculty or Department, follow them, even if they conflict with what is suggested in this book. In some cases more than one option is possible, but it’s important you choose the option you have been recommended!) Continue reading

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At the event: Charles Ives study day @ the Guildhall School of Music

Ives scores from the Booth Collection at the University Library. Cambridge University Library

Ives scores from the Booth Collection at the University Library.
© Cambridge University Library

“Understanding Charles Ives’s music is no easy task. Its diversity is unrivaled, ranging from band marches to avant-garde experiments and from Victorian church anthems to some of the most complex orchestral music ever written.” So begins Peter Burkholder’s 1986 seminal study of the composer: Charles Ives: the ideas behind the music [M557.c.95.250]. Indeed so! However, gentle reader, take heart and read on…

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Marking time, pushing paper

This marks my fourth foray into blogging for MusiCB3, and will be the second post where I haven’t been given a topic to write about. My first thought was to check whether there were any exciting anniversaries to mark around this time. For example, nearly 200 years ago to the day, on the 27th November 1814, Winkel demonstrated his newly-invented ‘cronometer’ in Amsterdam (an example is held at the Gemeentemuseum in The Hague). And tomorrow, we can commemorate 90 years since the death of Puccini, who was in the middle of writing Turandot when he suffered a heart attack.

Comet LandingBut there’s not much I can say about either of these particular anniversaries that relates particularly to the collections here in the Pendlebury or the UL. Maybe one of the composers’ archives holds their metronome? [A colleague says no metronome, but one archive does have a flute…!] So my thoughts turned to recent music news and articles. Firstly there was the “eerie music” coming from Comet 67P , and the inevitable parallels being drawn in the Twittersphere with the Clangers. However, the only way I can really relate this to the collections is that a certain colleague used to live next door to the Postgate’s old home (I’m not sure this really counts)!

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Reverting to Type. . .

Spine of Deryck Cooke, The Language of Music, OUP, 1959 (UL classmark: MR824.c.95.6)

On reflection, it isn’t really surprising that so many of the items forming the Deryck Cooke Archive are undated and even unidentified. Not only was Cooke’s death in October 1976 sudden and unexpected, but his workload in those last years can fairly be described as Herculean – with writing, lecturing, and work on his ‘performing version’ of Mahler’s Tenth Symphony all continuing alongside a full-time job as BBC Music Presentation Editor. Small wonder, then, that much of Cooke’s Nachlass looks like the accumulating papers of a man whose concentration upon present tasks left no time at all for the labelling and categorising of things he’d completed. Continue reading

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From the stacks: Locke’s “Melothesia”

Matthew Locke

Matthew Locke

Whilst we were preparing our tribute to Chris Hogwood last month, I looked out our copy of Matthew Locke’s Melothesia [MR340.c.65.1] as Chris had prepared a modern edition for OUP, published in 1987 [M340.a.95.532.5], and was immediately captivated. So I thought it would be a pleasant diversion to look in a little more depth at this extraordinary publication for this particular episode of “From the stacks”. Continue reading

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To celebrate, to commemorate: Marion Scott and Ivor Gurney

Breast pin formerly owned by the composer from the Marion Scott Haydn collection.

Breast pin formerly owned by the composer from the Marion Scott Haydn collection.

A few days ago I was leading a “Behind the scenes” tour of the UL Music Department. I’ve done quite a lot of these over the last 5 years or so, and I’ve now got a fund of interesting stories to tell interspersed with all the statistics and backlog gazing. One of the stories concerns Marion Scott. Scott, musicologist and violinist, bequeathed us the Marion Scott Haydn collection – MRS. 1, the first of our “named” collections (collections that were donated by a specific person or group).

During the Second World War, Marion Scott left London and moved to Bridgwater, Somerset. While staying there she was visited by the local evacuation officer in search of a spare room to house a child. He was stunned to discover that one of the rooms belonged to “Dr. Haydn”, not an émigré Austrian, but the room housing Scott’s extensive collection of Haydn memorabilia; all of which is now housed here at the University Library. Continue reading

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