A musical year book

The Year's Music 1899 L409.d.24.

The Year’s Music 1899 L409.d.24.

I’ve always had a bit of a fondness for almanacs, yearbooks and old travel guides. What would probably have seemed at the time fairly uninteresting becomes something quite different when you’re viewing it over a hundred years later. Yearbooks and trade gazettes are great examples of time capsules displaying the interests and preoccupations of the period of which they were a reflection.

Recently some music literature in need of a new home arrived at the Pendlebury, one of the goodies included The year’s music 1899 (a partial run of the annual journal (1896-1898) could already be found at the UL, classmark L409.d.24). So, what was happening in 1899? Who were the famous names? What should you buy for the musician who has everything? You may be surprised…

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Child’s Play

Attending a librarians’ training event at the University of Cambridge, I was interested to see a Special Collections LibGuide – one on Children’s Literature in Cambridge libraries. It made me wonder what  might be in the Pendlebury Library of Music aimed at children.  Granted,  the foremost purpose  of the library is to support the Undergraduate teaching of the Music Tripos at the University, I nevertheless managed to find a few items…
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The Stanley Sadie Archive

Stanley Sadie with Charles Cudworth

Stanley Sadie with Charles Cudworth

The archive of the musicologist and music critic, Stanley John Sadie (1930-2005) was donated to Cambridge University Library in 2013 by Sadie’s widow and is an important addition to the Library’s existing music collections which include several archives of eminent British composers, musicians and musicologists.  A project to catalogue the collection is now underway and it is anticipated that the Stanley Sadie Archive will be made accessible to researchers by the summer of 2017. Continue reading

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To celebrate, to commemorate: 2017 anniversaries from ballet to jazz via a rocket.

Portrait of Monteverdi by Bernardo Strozzi

Portrait of Claudio Monteverdi (1567 – 1643) by Bernardo Strozzi

But first, may I on behalf of us all here at MusiCB3 wish all our readers a safe, happy and fulfilling 2017.  We will be here each week as always with a few words to delight and divert, exploring the extraordinary riches we have tucked away in unexpected corners of this magnificent building. Now then, to business: I know you cannot wait to see who/what I have chosen from the many, many musical anniversaries which fall this year. Continue reading

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To celebrate, to commemorate: 2016

Here we are with our annual recap to commemorate a selection of relevant musicians who passed away in 2016, and some listening suggestions to remember them by.

2016 has been a sad year, marked by the loss of important figures of the contemporary music scene, not only linked to the classical or jazz world. Among them for example – just in the UK – how can we not remember David Bowie (died at 69 on 10th January), Keith Emerson and Greg Lake, members of the band Emerson, Lake & Palmer (died on 10th March and 7th December respectively) and George Michael, who sadly died on Christmas Day? All the items mentioned below can be found at the Pendlebury Library of Music. Continue reading

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Odd bedfellows

I came across a thread on a Facebook group recently which threw up a fascinating story quite unexpectedly. One of the members of the group was looking for alternative settings of hymns and canticles to unexpected tunes. One of my particular favourites was a setting of O Jesus I have promised to the theme tune of  The Muppet Show (I have a very vague recollection of singing this at secondary school!), and apparently there’s a setting of the Te Deum to When the foeman bares his steel from The Pirates of Penzance (try it and see). I’m sure that MusiCB3 regulars can come up with lots of other suggestions.

I mentioned that some years ago, I had used the tune of On Ilkley Moor baht ‘at for While Shepherds Watched. It had proved to be surprisingly popular both with the choir and the congregation. I’ve known On Ilkley Moor since I was a small child. My grandfather, who could be rather gruesome, used to sing it with great relish, especially the more grisly sections; and I was confident that it was a well established Yorkshire folk-song. The truth however turned out to be rather different….

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Hans Keller, Haydn and Marion Scott

Joseph Haydn by Thomas Hardy, 1791

Joseph Haydn by Thomas Hardy, 1791

Bear with me, gentle reader – there is a connection…somewhere…

I have just spent most of a day reassembling the jigsaw of the manuscript of Hans Keller‘s book The Great Haydn Quartets [M668.c.95.53] – no easy task when one’s knowledge of the works is but the dimmest of glimmers when compared to Keller’s laser-like beam of intensity (OK, OK, I do actually know my fair share and love and admire them intensely). Gradually, rather like the opening of Op.76 no.4, the sun came out and we now have (nearly) all the pages in (nearly) the right order [pace Eric Morecambe].  Continue reading

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