Cambridge Professors of Music: Maurice Greene

Portrait of Maurice Greene by Francis Hayman

I promised – possibly rashly – in my previous post on our current little exhibition about the early Professors of Music here in Cambridge that I would write a little more about Maurice Greene. So here goes: in a nutshell, Greene succeeded Thomas Tudway as Professor in 1730 and remained in the post until his death in 1755. Perhaps, in Cambridge, he is best-remembered for being the composer whose music was performed at the grand opening of the new Senate House in 1730. But there is, of course, more to his story than that… Continue reading

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Concerts, tea, and Postman Pat

I started my work placement at the Pendlebury Library of Music on Monday 6th March, coming from Witchford Village College. I was quite excited to find out about the library and what sort of tasks I would be set as the two weeks unfolded.

Music Scores at the Pendlebury Library

Music Scores at the Pendlebury Library

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Musical mutts

Relaxing to Debussy
Copyright Margaret Jones

As one of the world’s largest dog-shows, Crufts, swings into action at the NEC Birmingham, this music librarian / dog lover thought it was about time to have a look at the relationship between dogs and music. I’ve owned dogs for most of my life, and coming from a music loving family, the dogs all grew up with music.

Their responses were rather different – Regis, the German Shepherd, hated Wagner – a quick burst of Tannhauser, and he would exit the room with a glower at the offending pianist (usually me), Ben, the English Springer, would howl along to Non piu andrai from The Marriage of Figaro, while a later English Springer, Alfie, heaved a contented sigh whenever I played his favourite work – Debussy’s First Arabesque, his companion, Dylan Yorkie-Cross, was not a fan of classical music, but loved Easy Listening with a particular penchant for Cole Porter.

This led to an interesting conversation when the dogs spent time in kennels. The kennels played Radio 2 to the dogs (good for Dills, less so for Alfie), while the cattery side had Radio 3 only. Continue reading

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Darts, ruins, and a cimbalom

Very occasionally being a music librarian can take you to the most unexpected places. I’ve recently returned from a trip to Basel prompted by a production of a new ballet, Robin Hood, choreographed by British choreographer Richard Wherlock, the Director and Chief Choreographer of Ballett Basel. So, what was the connection with my usual life at the UL? Music for the ballet was primarily by British composers, and included two, whose archives we hold here – William Alwyn and Sir Arthur Bliss. London in the 1960s, John Barry and Arthur Bliss, dartboards and the Kray Twins…I had to find out what it was about.

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Cambridge Professors of Music, 1684 – 1821

Academic dress at Cambridge: DMus, third from left.

Academic dress for Scarlet Days at Cambridge: DMus, third from left.

This week, we are launching an exhibition covering the first five Professors of Music here in Cambridge, so a little background seemed in order.

The first Bachelor of Music degree in Cambridge was awarded to Henry Abyngdon in 1463, but it would be over 200 years later before the creation of the first Professor of Music in 1684. A grace and favour appointment, it brought with it no obligation for teaching, research or even residence in the City and certainly no formal documentation setting out the role and purpose of the post, neither did it carry any payment or endowment. The early professors were practising musicians and composers based primarily in London at, for example, the Chapel Royal or as Master of the King’s Musick, although some were also organists at Cambridge colleges. Their only official duty was to compose an Ode for the Installation of a Chancellor. Not until as late as 1875 did the Senate take the radical step of requiring that in exchange for an annual stipend of £200, the Professor should be required to give at least four lectures in music during the course of an academic year. Continue reading

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New CDs at the Pendlebury

This week on MusiCB3, we have a glimpse of a few of the new CDs available to borrow at the Pendlebury Library. Since the CDs at the Pendlebury are not browsable, as most of the books and scores are, it seems only fair to give them their five minutes of fame on here!

Here are a few of the most recent arrivals:

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Golf and flying opera singers: some distractions

The trouble with working in a library, I find, is that my ‘to read’ list grows too fast to ever get to the end of. Especially since at the moment I am studying (very slowly) for an MA, and so any books I read that are not to do with that naturally fill me with guilt (though not really) and the knowledge that I should be studying (I normally manage to overcome this feeling). At least if I write down the titles that sound interesting I can find these distractions again when I want them, I reason to myself…

With so many books passing under my nose on their way to the shelves, it becomes a very varied list, and includes things I would never have looked for otherwise. Books with bizarre titles or interesting covers (I am a very shallow person) often make it onto the list for no other reason. And so the list gets longer… Below are a few of the things that I hope to get around to reading one of these days:

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