This is not the title of a song or a line of lyrics I have found. No, this is a very personal response of mine to my new home town. I have been living and working here for over two months now, and I’m continuously impressed what a musical city Cambridge is.
Obviously, there are the many libraries catering for many different music and research needs; I won’t go into details about the University Library’s Music Collection or indeed the Pendlebury Library of Music – as my work place, and somewhat at the centre of this blog, they are part of my daily explorations.
Of course, there are the less obvious places – to an outsider – where music is collected, catalogued and performed. Two previous posts have already alerted readers of this blog to the musical treasures which can be found outside my work place: at Peterhouse (see https://musicb3.wordpress.com/2010/10/14/the-peterhouse-partbooks-music-at-cambridge-in-the-early-seventeenth-century/) and at the Fitzwilliam Museum (see https://musicb3.wordpress.com/2010/09/21/aylesford-mss-in-the-fitzwilliam/).
Of course, even though I’m a librarian and music researcher I do realise that for most people music comes alive in performance spaces, such as the West Road Concert Hall, which calls itself – rightly so – ‘one of Cambridge’s premiere music venues’; some of the colleges provide a smaller, more intimate space for chamber music, such as Pembroke’s Old Library hosting the Sir Arthur Bliss Song Series.
Some of the performing of music is, of course, well-documented in concert programme notes, and a previous post of this blog highlighted some of the Cambridge University Music Society’s past activities; one can of course use their web page to find out about this society’s current musical performances. There are so many more ensembles and places where music can be experienced, that me mentioning here the Cambridge Philharmonic Society is just to mirror a university music-making body with a non-university one.Arguably the most-famous musical ensemble from Cambridge, known throughout the world, is the King’s College Choir: how many choirs have a yearly programme spot which is broadcast to many countries? If you need a sonic refresher, before the choir’s Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols, broadcast on 24th December 2010, 3pm, please go to http://www.bbc.co.uk/music/artists/67af7195-bcc0-413e-969b-b26f8a41d5ff. I especially like their tradition of commissioning a new carol each year. This year the Finnish composer Einojuhani Rautavaara has composed a work for this occassion, called Christmas Carol.
But instead of name dropping further places and institutions where music is important, let me hark back to something which might surprise the uninitiated. Three facts about the University Library’s music provisions which you might not have come across yet:
1. The UL’s Manuscript Department houses almost all of the musical manuscripts, and indeed the Sassoon Project blog features at least one post dealing with musical treasures: see http://www.lib.cam.ac.uk/deptserv/manuscripts/sassoonblog/?cat=69
2. The UL’s Music Department does not have a comprehensive collection of recordings. However, the Pendlebury Library of Music (just across West Road) has a substantial collection. Search http://depfacoz-newton.lib.cam.ac.uk/ to find the available recordings there. And what’s more: anyone who is a member of the University Library can register at the Pendlebury Library and borrow CDs and DVDs for 1 day.
3. Does your work place have a choir? If so, is it as tuneful and impressive as the University Library’s Choir? I have joined this choir, and if you want to hear us performing in the entrance hall of our work place your next chances are a Carol Concert on Tuesday 14 December and Friday 17 December both at 12pm.