The Phillip John Greenwood collection

We frequently receive donations, and maybe unsurprisingly sometimes we receive offers of CDs. Miraculously, whereas a previous donation had a strong collection focus on jazz (see my post The Julian Andrews Collection) the newly-acquired Phillip John Greenwood Collection comprises almost exclusively what can be broadly labelled classical or art music; more specifically, a great chunk of this collection is opera recordings and orchestral music.

Free Trade Hall, Manchester ; photographed and copyright by Smabs Sputzer []

Free Trade Hall, Manchester ; photographed and copyright by Smabs Sputzer []

But first a couple of words about the collector: Phillip John Greenwood (1945-2012). He worked as a University Administrator, initially at the Financial Board at the Old Schools, then in the Law Faculty and finally at CIMR (Cambridge Institute for Medical Research) at Addenbrookes. Like a number of enthusiastic collectors, Greenwood didn’t play an instrument, but had a real passion for listening to music live and on LPs and CDs (sadly, we cannot add LPs to our stock any more). He first went to hear the Hallé at the Free Trade Hall in Manchester in 1958. The 13 year old Greenwood was hooked. As Anne, his wife, told me ‘He loved to see Sir John Barbirolli conduct and after the concerts would go “back stage” to meet him. He has autographs from many artists including Jacqueline Du Pré, Janet Baker and Paul Tortelier.’

The Greenwoods have had season tickets for AAM and the Britten Sinfonia for many years. Until a few years ago, Mr Greenwood also went to concerts at Kettle’s Yard. Since 1980, when they moved here, the Greenwoods have had a connection to Cambridge, but would sometimes venture to London to catch performances at Covent Garden and the ENO.

Greenwood’s wide-ranging taste is reflected in a lot of stage works which are a little obscure – Richard Strauss’ Der Bürger als Edelmann (scores: @ UL M260.b.200.9 ; CD: @ Pen CD.C.751), Franco Alfano’s Cyrano de Bergerac (@ Pen: CD.C.750 @ UL: M260.b.90.727) or Jake Heggie’s Dead man walking (@ Pen: CD.C.737 ; @ UL: score on order).

Cover of dacapo CD: Vagn Holmboe, String Quartets Vol. VI, 8.224128 (C) by dacapo

Cover of dacapo CD: Vagn Holmboe, String Quartets Vol. VI, 8.224128 (C) by dacapo

Apart from the nearly 200 opera CDs, another interesting part of Greenwood’s collection is the many orchestral CDs (most of which we have not managed to catalogue yet). Especially in these instrumental works, we can also see a love for Scandinavia, and a further illustration of his having included non-mainstream composers in his collection. For Vagn Holmboe (1909-1996) we will soon have many more recordings than scores at the Pendlebury Library: five CDs alone of recorded string quartets with five further CDs of orchestral music (which nicely complement a release of all his symphonies – CD.M.873 – which we bought in March 2010). Apart from Denmark, Finland is also represented: Einar Englund’s Symphony No. 1 “War” and Violin Concerto (to be catalogued) and Kalevi Aho’s Symphony No. 9 and Cello Concerto (to be catalogued) will probably be new discoveries for most of us. Harald Sæverud’s Symphony No. 8 and Cello Concerto and Hugo Alfvén‘s Symphony No. 4 (both to be catalogued) cover Norwegian and Swedish composers’ music.

However, at least one CD has already fulfilled a reader request: we received the request from a student for Dallapiccola’s Variazioni per orchestra on Friday (and I couldn’t check that day as I was working at the UL); on Monday I found CD.M.1038, and the reader managed to pick it up on Tuesday! We hope to have further surprises like this, and if you have a recommendation for a DVD or CD for the Pendlebury Library, please use .

Whereas we have catalogued all the opera recordings, I reckon that we are less than half-way through cataloguing the collection as a whole. However, following our general collection development policy we did not even take the 400-500 LPs (which Mrs Greenwood gave to the Arthur Rank Charity Shop). We are very grateful for having received this donation of CDs and will update you on further progress when we reach another cataloguing milestone. Until then you can do a search on Newton and find all the CDs we have catalogued so far:*&limitTo=none&recCount=25&searchType=1&

[Thanks to Anne Greenwood for providing the biographical information.]


About Clemens Gresser

Between August 2010 and September 2021 I worked as a librarian at the University of Cambridge (Cambridge, UK); the last six years of that time I was at the Faculty of Divinity Library. Between August 2010 and November 2013 I was the Deputy Head of Music at Cambridge University Library and at the Pendlebury Library of Music. Between December 2013 and September 2015 I was the Librarian at the Marshall Library of Economics. Since September 2021 I have been the Heythrop Librarian at the London Jesuit Centre.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to The Phillip John Greenwood collection

  1. Pingback: How many Rings in the Pendlebury? | MusiCB3 Blog

  2. Pingback: CD highlights from the Greenwood Collection | MusiCB3 Blog

  3. Pingback: To celebrate, to commemorate: 2016 | MusiCB3 Blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.