Christmas dinner in the Anderson Room

Dear readers, I know that it is still just about November, but…Christmas is coming! I have had fun in the last few days finding new, festive exhibits for our food-and-drink-themed exhibition in the Anderson Room, which is up until the New Year. For this post, the last in our Musical Feast series, I’d like to share some of my finds.

Christmas Hamper

A Christmas hamper : Medley overture.

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Michaelmas term at the Pendlebury

We’re well through the first term here at the Pendlebury Library of Music, so now might be a good moment to catch up on some of the new things around.  There have been changes to both room use and services, aiming to make the experience better for all our users.

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Waltzing in autumn

The view from my window. Autumn at the UL.Copyright Sarah Chapman

The view from my window.
Autumn at the UL.
Copyright Sarah Chapman

Looking out of the Aoi Pavilion this morning I was shocked to see how bare the trees looked. Last week they were gloriously autumnal, but despite the mild weather we seem to have moved to winter (at least according to the trees) overnight. But it doesn’t need to be a gloomy time of year…

The end of October marked an important point in the social calendar of Regency times as it was the start of the social season leading up to Christmas. Pride and Prejudice,  published in 1813, opens in September-time; with the ball at Netherfield (when Elizabeth Bennet is confirmed in her worst opinion of Mr. Darcy) taking place around November 26th.

If you’ve ever wondered what Lizzie may have danced to, have a look at Nathaniel Gow’s Lady Matilda Bruce’s reel : to which is added, four favourite tunes as performed at all the fashionable meetings in Autumn 1810 (MR205.a.80.9).

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Dear diary: two days in the life of Hans Keller

Hans Keller diary fragments: beginning of the entry for 15th January 1952, Cambridge University Library

Hans Keller diary fragments: beginning of the entry for 15th January 1952,
© Cambridge University Library.

For this post, gentle readers, I am delighted to hand my pen over to another far more accomplished than I in the written word: Hans Keller. What follows is taken from the only extant pages of a diary for 1952, recently re-emerged in the Hans Keller Archive here at the University Library. In the space of two packed days, we gain an extraordinary insight not only into the breathless amount of ground Keller covers in 48 hours, but a sense of his deep engagement with the musical world at the time. Over to you, Hans.

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A few of my favourite things

Every year at the beginning of term we welcome our new students to the music collections in our libraries by explaining what we have on offer. Over the past years this has involved quite a lot of walking around the Pendlebury and University Library Music Department, especially for our graduate students who get a peek behind-the-scenes right from the start.

Cambridge has so much to offer that we have to be selective and focus on the essentials. But there is so much more out there in the world of freely available online resources.
Here are some of my current favourites:

The RISM online catalogue of musical sources has been extended last May to include the entire contents of A/I, Individual Prints before 1800 and a portion of B/I, Recueils imprimés, XVIe-XVIIe siècles (Printed collections of the 16th-17th centuries), covering the years 1500-1550. Not only is this making my life as a music librarian much more comfortable, I would have absolutely loved this in my student days.

A bit more niche perhaps, but nevertheless worth mentioning, is the Ricordi online numerical catalogue. This online resource covers Ricordi’s main 19th-century published catalogs as well as a portion of the libroni. It isn’t the most intuitive of resources and requires creating a free login but the content makes it worth the effort. A recent review provides some useful tips on getting the most out of this resource.

With my “notated music” collection development hat on, I’m constantly on the lookout for what is available online, both free and on subscription. As far as contemporary music is concerned, the world of music publishing has gone into music hire big time, which basically means it’s not always possible for us to buy, let’s say, the latest full score of the latest opera. Some publishers however do let us have a peek online. Good examples of these online perusal scores can be found with most major music publishers, including Boosey & Hawkes, Faber, Music Sales and Schott.

Fully digitized manuscripts and printed music are a rapidly expanding area and it can be difficult to know where to start. It’s relatively easy when researching known collections at known locations, but otherwise it can be a little bit more complicated. Although not exhaustive, the List of Online Digital Musical Document Libraries could be a good first port of call, as is the Virtual Library of Musicology or Digital Resources for Musicology.

Last, but not least, Europeana has developed the Europeana Music Channel. Although still in test version, this magnificent recourse brings together music, images and sound, all “showcasing western classical music as well as classical music from non-western cultures, traditional, folk and popular music.”

We share our latest selections of our favourites via Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.


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Deo gracias

A cheery Agincourt archer. Wikimedia Commons.

A cheery Agincourt archer.
Wikimedia Commons.

Some years ago I was motoring up from the South of France, trying my best to get to Calais before French lorry drivers blockaded the port. It was a particularly grey and foggy day just around this time of year. As I headed further north, out of the gloom a colourful sign appeared – “Azincourt welcomes its English visitors” read the notice emblazoned on a cartoon cut-out archer, half Disney / half Asterix the Gaul.

I’ve always had a bit of an interest in Agincourt – I’m from Monmouthshire, the birth place of Henry V, many of the Agincourt bowmen were reputedly from the same county; the Agincourt song was one of the first pieces of music I learned to read; and it was only a few days after the anniversary of the battle. So off I drove through a French farmyard in search of the site of Agincourt. Once I got to the fields however I was completely confused, where exactly had the battle taken place? So I stopped my car, got out, and promptly fell over a sign marking the British lines. Purely by accident I’d ended up right on the front line.

You may remember that last Christmas there was a blog post here about the Trinity Carol Roll. Also on the roll, but not relevant to the Christmas post, is the earliest version of the Agincourt song. The roll was probably compiled a few years after the 1415 battle, and with the 600th anniversary due to fall this Sunday, this seemed like an ideal time to explore the song and its after-life. Continue reading

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Meet… Anna Jenkin – Outreach Co-ordinator

Anna Jenkin, Outreach Co-ordinator

Anna Jenkin, Outreach Co-ordinator

The Music Faculty welcomes Anna Jenkin, who has taken up the newly-created post (September 2015) of Outreach Co-ordinator for the Faculty of Architecture & History of Art and the Faculty of Music at the University of Cambridge.  This is the first time an Outreach post at the University of Cambridge has been established to work across disciplines, in this case in the School of Arts and Humanities.

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