To Moscow!

With the nights drawing in, and Michaelmas term just around the corner, the summer holiday season is definitely coming to an end. However, today on MusiCB3 is a last hurrah for the vacation – I have just returned from an adventure to Moscow, so this week’s post, dear readers, will be a ‘what I did on my holidays’ post…

moscow-5

Saint Basil’s Cathedral

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John Scarborough’s night at the Black Bear Inn

Programme for the Black Bear concert 28 April 1789. Cambridge University Library

Programme for the Black Bear concert 28 April 1789.
© Cambridge University Library

It’s nearly a year since we spent an evening with our friends at the Black Bear Inn here in Cambridge: high time to drop in on them once again. Let’s see what they were up to back in April 1789. A year which they would remember no doubt as only two months later across the Channel, the storming of the Bastille in Paris would take place, marking the start of the Revolution which would change the face of France for ever. Here, William Wilberforce was beginning to raise awareness of the horror of the slave trade. So, time to set all those concerns aside for a while and enjoy some music-making.

 

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In at the death

Laurence Boyce at the English language Wikipedia [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons

The Last Trump for music blogs?
Detail from a mediaeval Doom wall-painting in St. Andrew’s, Chesterton, Cambridge
Laurence Boyce at the English language Wikipedia [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0 ]
via Wikimedia Commons

The other day I came across a classical music blog that was musing on the death of….classical music blogs. The online world has been prophesying the death of blogs for some time, I remember Twitter being hailed as sounding the last trump for blogs. Yet still they manage to survive, partly, I guess, because music blogs are there for different reasons. If some bloggers are perhaps no longer as independent as they once were, there are still plenty of music blogs catering to a diverse range of tastes and needs.

Fan blogs tend to centre more around popular music, and act as a link between bands and their followers. Paul McCartney’s website, for example, has a series of blogs on everything from charities he supports to his latest tour. There’s even a glimpse into life as a publicist on a world tour. Band blogs keep fans up to date on the lives of their favourite artists, and may give them the opportunity to buy tickets or compete in competitions.

More importantly, and perhaps unexpectedly, for some genres, blogging may be, at least initially, the main instrument of musical analysis.

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To celebrate, to commemorate: The Great Fire of London

350 years ago today, the Great Fire broke out in London. Homes burned, livelihoods were destroyed, Londoners fled the fire with their most treasured possessions. The Great Fire of London being a favourite subject for school projects, it is always associated in my mind with scissors and glue and colouring-in, and the image that always comes to mind for me is that of Samuel Pepys burying his cheese; a scene I once enthusiastically illustrated in crayon and felt-tip with bits of orange wool for flames, if I remember rightly. It was not only cheese that people rushed to save, however. Pepys’ diary also lists musical instruments among the things that people chose to rescue from the flames:

River full of lighters and boats taking in goods, and good goods swimming in the water, and only I observed that hardly one lighter or boat in three that had the goods of a house in, but there was a pair of Virginalls in it.

It can’t have been easy getting a virginal into a boat, and it was probably even trickier if you were trying to sail your case of viols to safety. But at least these instruments were portable enough to have a chance of escape. Not so for the poor bells and organs in churches destroyed by the fire.

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New audio visual arrivals at the Pendlebury

It might be the quietest time of year at the Pendlebury over the summer, but there are still plenty of new items arriving for library stock. These include a lot of new books for updated module reading lists, and books for new courses that are beginning in the coming academic year. As well as these, there is also a steady trickle of new audio visual resources being added to the catalogue, some bought and some donated. As these are kept in closed access, new audio visual arrivals can be less obvious than the new books and scores (which are often visible on the dust-jacket display just inside the library), and so it seems only fair that they should have their moment in the spotlight. These are a few of the latest DVDs and CDs we have welcomed into the fold…

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In a child’s mind

Thanks from schoolchildren after an early music workshop.

Thanks from schoolchildren to David and Gill Munrow after an early music workshop.

The BBC over the last few years has tried to get children to become more involved in classical music. November 2014 saw the introduction of Ten Pieces, an initiative aimed initially at children of primary school age. There was a “Ten Pieces” prom in August 2015. With the success of the primary school programme the initiative was expanded in 2015 to include children of secondary school age; and culminated in another Prom (Ten Pieces II) in July 2016.

Among the more unexpected items that we have in the Music Department of the University Library are children’s responses to classical music. Specifically their response to Sir Arthur Bliss‘s Colour Symphony, and to medieval music as performed by David and Gill Munrow.

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The Marion Scott Haydn Collection

Marion Scott

Marion Scott

Some time ago I blogged about Marion Scott, Haydn scholar and friend of Ivor Gurney. As has also been mentioned on this blog before, here at the UL we hold Marion Scott’s Haydn Collection. In fact it was Marion Scott who prompted the creation of our (then) new MRS class. A class that comprises “named” collections, collections that were donated by a specific person or group. Our MRS collections include collections as diverse as those of music enthusiast Frederick Booth, the Union Society of Cambridge University, writer and critic Hans Keller, and the violinist Alfredo Campoli.

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