30 November 2010

Royal Connections

In light of the recent Royal engagement (and to distract us from all the snow), this week’s featured item from the Archives is a letter written by Jean Pike, Lady-in-Waiting to HRH The Princess of Wales.  The letter, from the Carroll collection, is addressed to Ida Carroll, Principal of the Northern School of Music between 1956 and 1972 and Dean of Management of the Royal Northern College of Music from 1972 until her retirement in 1976.

Ida Carroll has been described as a staunch royalist, and this letter thanks her for sending a letter and book to ‘Prince William and Prince Henry’. It could reasonably be surmised that the book Ida sent to the princes was one of her father’s (Walter Carroll) famous piano lessons for children, such as Scenes at a Farm or Sea Idylls perhaps. These books were first published at the beginning of the twentieth century yet remain popular today with children and piano teachers alike.  Prince William would have turned 7 on 21 June 1989 while Prince Harry would be nearing his 5th birthday (on 15 September) - both were thus the right sort of age to benefit from the lessons contained within Carroll's books. 

From Carroll/IGC/3, copyright The Ida Carroll Trust

The full text of the letter reads:

'2nd August 1989

Dear Mrs Carroll,

The Princess of Wales has asked me to thank you for your letter together with the book for Prince William and Prince Henry.

Her Royal Highness was most touched by your kind thought and has asked me to send you her sincerest thanks and best wishes.

Yours sincerely,
Jean Pike

Mrs Max Pike’

For further information about the Carroll collection or any other aspect of the RNCM Archives, please see the links on the right hand side.

11 November 2010

We Will Remember Them

The following image is a touching one taken from the Elizabeth Harwood collection.  Elizabeth drew this picture celebrating the end of World War Two when she was approximately 7 years old.  Note the numerous 'V' for victory signs at the top of the picture. 

From EH/12, RNCM Archives.  Copyright Julian Royle.

Elizabeth Harwood was an internationally renowned soprano who studied at the Royal Manchester College of Music between 1956 and 1960.  Further information about her life and the collection of papers held by the RNCM Archives can be found by clicking the link to the Archives Catalogue on the right hand side. 

14 October 2010

Exciting new acquisition

The signatures and musical sketches of such eminent musicians and composers as Dvořák, Saint-Saëns, Grieg, Brahms and Rachmaninoff are just some of the wonderful features of an autograph book recently donated to the RNCM Archives. The book belonged to Carl Fuchs, the Royal Manchester College of Music’s first Professor of Cello (a post he held between 1893 and 1942) and eminent member of the Brodsky Quartet.

The autograph book forms part of a very generous donation by Carl Fuchs’s granddaughter, Tessa. Other material in the collection includes photographs, scrapbooks and a beautiful silk cover for Carl’s cello which was made by his wife.

This collection is a welcome addition to the existing Carl Fuchs material held by the Archives and will prove invaluable for historians and musicians alike.

                                                      Carl Fuchs, Cellist (1865-1951)

Signature of Antonin Dvořák dated 1891

Signature of Camille Saint-Saëns dated 1901

28 June 2010

This is the week that...

... Walter Carroll was born (4th July 1869).

Walter Carroll's birth certificate (Ref: Add-Carroll/12)

                                    Walter Carroll, aged about 17 (Ref: Carroll/Family/2)              Walter Carroll, taken about 1900 (Ref: Carroll/Family/2)

Walter Carroll, prominent Manchester music educationalist and composer of the still popular music for children, was born 4th July 1869. The sixth child and only son of Richard (b.1829), an upholsterer, and Fanny W. (b. 1832), he worked hard to escape his humble beginnings and was the first person to gain the DMus by examination at the Victoria University of Manchester, taking further degrees at Durham University.

He held several posts at the University of Manchester and at the Royal Manchester College of Music, delivering the first lecture on the opening of the latter institution in 1893. He became the first Professor in the Art and Practice of Teaching at the RNCM, resigning in 1918 to become Manchester's first Music Adviser.

It is his music for children, however, written originally for his daughters Elsa and Ida, which is Carroll's claim to enduring fame. After Scenes at a Farm, published by Forsyth Brothers Ltd in 1912, came all the other sets over a period of forty one years. These included The Countryside (1912), Sea Idylls (1914), Forest Fantasies (1916), Water Sprites (1923), and River and Rainbow (1933). The uniqueness of Carroll's brilliant idea was to fire the child's imagination by uniting what he called the Sister Arts: by simultaneously stimulating the child visually and poetically as well as musically.

22 June 2010

Tuesday Titbit

Adolf Brodsky

AB/700 Postcard depicitng the Brodsky Quartet; Dr Adolph Brodsky, Rawdon Briggs, Simon Speelman and Carl Fuch

Adolf Brodsky, a former Principal of the Royal Manchester College of Music for 34 Years was also a noted performer. Brodsky was born in 1851 in Taganrog on the Sea of Azov, he played the violin from the age of five and was later a pupil of Hellmesberger at the Vienna Conservatoire.

Brodsky had a varied career as a teacher at the Leipzig Conservatoire between 1883-1891 and he also established the Brodsky Quartet during this period. In 1891 Brodsky became a soloist and concert master at the New York Symphony Orchestra. Brodsky was invited to teach at the Royal Manchester College of Music and lead the Halle Orchestra by Sir Charles Halle, who died shortly after Brodsky’s arrival in 1895. Brodsky was invited to become prinicpal of the Royal Manchester College of Music after the death of  Sir Charles Halle.

The above picture is a postcard depicting the Brodsky Quartet which included Adolph Brodsky, Rawdon Briggs, Simon Speelman and Carl Fuchs. The Postcard which is dated 28th December 1909, was sent to Brodsky at the Hotel National in Moscow from Simon Speelmen a fellow member of the Quartet.

21 June 2010

This is the week of...

... the 20th Anniversary of Elizabeth Harwood's death (22nd June 1990)

                                                 (Ref: EH/7/2/2)                                                                                                            (Ref: EH/7/2/1)

(Ref: EH/7/2/1)

Elizabeth Harwood was born on 27 May 1938, and studied at the Royal Manchester College of Music between 1956 and 1960. Her first opera appearance away from College was for the Buxton Opera Group in 1957 as Michaela in Passion Flower, an adaptation of Carmen.

Elizabeth married Julian A.C. Royle in 1966 and they had one son, Nicholas. The family lived at Fryerning, Ingatestone, Essex, where a plaque is dedicated to Elizabeth Harwood in the parish church following her death on June 22 1990.

In tribute, The Musical Times wrote, "Elizabeth Harwood's lovely, warm voice, with its effortless production and evenness throughout a remarkable range, was matched by her level-headed approach to the world of opera and the generous nature of her personality." Janet Baker, fellow opera singer, paid her this tribute: "Elizabeth was the most beloved of my colleagues, a beautiful person in every way. Her art lit up the stage."

The Elizabeth Harwood Memorial Award for Singers is given every year by the Royal Northern College of Music. Set up in Elizabeth’s name, the prize helps aspiring singers become established upon the stage, or continue their studies. The competition's rules require the singer to present a 15 to 20 minute programme which must include a Mozart item, Elisabeth’s particular love and speciality. Past winners, like other RNCM alumni, now appear on many operatic, concert and oratorio stages around the world.

08 June 2010

Tuesday Titbit

Alan Rawsthorne

                                                       AR/2/3 'The Pip' Journal written by Alan and Barbara Rawsthorne in April 1917

Alan Rawsthorne was born in 1905 in Haslingdon, Lancashire. A former pupil of the Royal Manchester School of Music, Rawsthorne was noted for his writing and compositions which included the chamber cantata A Canticle of Man (1952), Concerto for ten instruments, written for Cheltenham in 1961 and the Ballade written for John Ogdon and two works for youth orchestra (Overture for Farnham and Theme, Variations and Finale) in 1967.

The RNCM holds a large number of the Rawsthorne family papers. The above photograph is of a quarterly journal called ‘The Pip’ which was written by Alan and his sister Barbara in April 1917, when he was twelve years old. The journal includes poetry, prose, topical and imaginative writings. The journal demonstrates that Rawthorne had an active and imaginative mind from a young age.

07 June 2010

This is the week that...

... Hans Sitt, of the Brodsky Quartet, wrote to his friend, Anna Brodsky (7th June 1917)

Letter from Hans Sitt to Anna Brodsky (ref: AB/647)

Hans Sitt (21st September 1850 – 10 March 1922) was a German violinist, teacher, and composer. During his lifetime, he was regarded as one of the foremost teachers of violin. He held the position of Professor of Violin at the Leipzig Conservatory from 1883, and authored several important studies for that instrument, some of which are still used.

He became known to Adolph and Anna Brodsky after Brodsky’s move in 1883 to the Leipzig Conservatory, where he formed his own string quartet. The Brodsky Quartet allowed Sitt to perform alongside Brodsky, Hugo Becker and Julius Klengel.

In the letter, Hans and his wife, Else, express their disappointment in Anna Brodsky’s inability to visit them in Leipzig.

01 June 2010

Tuesday Titbit

Carline Crampton

                                              CC/3 Programme is a part of the Carline Crampton Collection  

Carline Crampton was a former violin and viola student of the Royal Manchester College of Music. She attended the college between1923 and 1929 and studied under Dr Brodsky. She left the college in 1929 after obtaining a Teaching Diploma. Crampton joined the Newent Orchestra and later became the conductor of the orchestra from 1948 until her retirement in 1992.

Carline Crampton amassed a collection of programmes from a number of local concerts, mostly of chamber music, which she had attended in the Manchester area between 1872 and 1946. The above picture is of a programme from a concert on the 16th October 1922, featuring the Flonzaley String Quartet at the Edward Isaacs Subscription/International Chamber Concerts held at Holdsworth Hall in Manchester.

24 May 2010

This is the week that...

... Elizabeth Harwood was born (27th May 1938)

English Opera Group production of Acis and Galatea at
the Aldeburgh Festival, 1966. Elizabeth as Galatea (Ref: EH/7/1/1)

                          Elizabeth Harwood, 1964 (Ref: EH/7/2/1)                     Elizabeth Harwood (Ref: EH/7/2/1)

Elizabeth Harwood was born on 27 May 1938, and studied at the Royal Manchester College of Music between 1956 and 1960. Her first opera appearance away from College was for the Buxton Opera Group in 1957 as Michaela in Passion Flower, an adaptation of Carmen.

 She enjoyed over two decades as an operatic singer, working with conductors such as Colin Davis and Herbert von Karajan. It was under von Karajan that she became the first English soprano to perform at the Salzburg Festival in The Marriage of Figaro, a role which she would reprise in many subsequent festivals. Elizabeth's last operatic performance was for The Buxton Festival in La Colombe, 1983.   

Elizabeth married Julian A.C. Royle in 1966 and they had one son, Nicholas. The family lived at Fryerning, Ingatestone, Essex, where a plaque is dedicated to Elizabeth Harwood in the parish church following her death on June 22 1990.

18 May 2010

Tuesday Titbit

Frank Wright

FW/3/8 Copy of an article from the 'British Mouthpiece' regarding Frank Wright
conducting the Massed Bands of the Boys' Brigade at the Royal Albert Hall in 1965.

Frank Wright, MBE was very influential in the Brass Band Movement. Wright was born in Australia and was originally a noted Cornet player, after becoming the Australian Cornet Champion, he became a conductor and adjudicator of both the Australian Championships in 1932 and New Zealand in 1933.He came to England in 1934, officiating at the Crystal Palace Championship and conducted the St Hilda’s professional band.

He was appointed as Music Director to London County Council’s Parks Department in 1935 and later in 1945 he was appointed Professor of Brass and Military Band Scoring at the Guildhall School of Music and also became an examiner for the GSM diploma in Brand Band Conducting. Wright continued to officiate at many competitions including the National Brass Band Championships, the Kerkrade World Music Festival (now the World Music Festival) and also conducted at gala performances.

The above picture is of the Brass Band newspaper the ‘British Mouthpiece’, which has published a photograph and a small article about Frank Wright conducting the Massed Bands of the Boys' Brigade concert at the Royal Albert Hall in 1965. The Newspaper article is a part of the Frank Wright collection at the RNCM archive.

17 May 2010

This is the week that...

... Nina Grieg celebrates the Russian Revolution (17th May 1917)

(Ref: AB/861)

Nina Grieg was a Danish-Norwegian lyric soprano. She was the first cousin of composer Edvard Grieg and they married 11th June, 1867 in Copenhagen. The couple often performed concerts together in Europe and Edvard considered her the best performer of his songs. After the death of her husband in 1907, she moved to Denmark where she died on 9 December 1935.

Anna Brodsky was the wife of the Russian violinist Adolph Brodsky . The daughter of a Russian nobleman who owned estates in southern Russia, Anna married at Sevastopol in 1882, and accompanied her husband to the United States in 1891, eventually settling with him in Manchester, England.

In this letter, dated 17th May 1917, Nina rejoices with Anna at the Russian Revolution and wishes that Edvard were alive to see it, but is glad he does not see all the suffering. She looks forward to peace and a happy life in art and science, and declares “music must be international.”

11 May 2010

Tuesday Titbit

Philip Newman

Telegram to Philip Newman from Queen Elisabeth of the Belgians,
27 July 1956 (ref PN/14) 

Philip Newman was a renowned violinist who was born in Manchester in 1904. He was a pupil of the Royal Manchester College of Music and later became a noted soloist and teacher to Queen Elisabeth of the Belgians, a patron of the arts and an accomplished violinist.

The above telegram is from Queen Elisabeth of the Belgians, sent to Philip Newman on 27th July 1956. Newman amongst other noted musicians such as Casals, Stravinsky and Schweitzer, were intimates of Queen Elisabeth and were all involved in the founding of the Symphonicum Europaea in 1964. Queen Elisabeth attended most of Newman’s concerts and gifted him a gold mounted bow by François Tourte, one of the worlds finest bow makers.

10 May 2010

This is the week that...

... Philip Newman was born (12th May 1904)

      Pearl and Philip Newman as children (Ref: PN/200)                                                       Philip Newman as a child (Ref: PN/201)

Philip Newman as a young man (Ref: PN/213)

Philip Newman was born in Manchester on May 12 1904, the son of Harris Newman, cantor of Manchester's Great Synagogue. Newman became a pupil of Adolph Brodsky at the Royal Manchester College of Music, entering the College in 1917 aged 13 and leaving in 1920 without taking a diploma.

In 1924 Brodsky advised Newman to attend the Brussels Conservatoire to study with Albert Zimmel, Ysaÿe's first assistant. After just one year, he won the "Premier Prix de Violon" with maximum marks and distinction, playing the very difficult Violin Concerto in F sharp minor Op. 23 by H. W. Ernst. During his time in Brussels he also studied with the violinists Henri van Hecke and Cesar Thomson.

Newman spent the years 1928 to 1932 in Berlin studying with Willy Hess who was by then Germany's foremost violinist, and had been a pupil of the great Joseph Joachim. Here he learned a style different to that of the Belgian school of which he was by now a fine exponent.

Newman's first major recital took place in his hometown of Manchester in the mid 1920s, for which his father had hired the Free Trade Hall. However his first big concert was in Ostend where he performed the Beethoven Violin Concerto. For some unaccountable reason his official British debut with orchestra did not take place until 1935, again in the Manchester Free Trade Hall. In 1937 Philip Newman began his long service as a judge of the Concours Musical International Reine Elizabeth which had replaced the Ysaÿe Violin Competition. For many years Newman was also a member of the panel of judges at the Tchaikovsky Violin Competition in Moscow where he represented the British Council.

Also in 1937 Philip Newman commenced his long association with Queen Elizabeth of the Belgians, becoming her personal professor of the violin. The Queen had for many years devoted much of her time to the violin and had performed privately with many distinguished musicians, she herself was a great patron of the arts and an accomplished violinist.

In 1942 Newman took refuge in Portugal and finally arrived in Lisbon where he became the first non-national Professor of the violin at the National Academy of Music. During his long stay in that city he organised and promoted concerts for charity including many for the International Red Cross.

In 1950 he left Portugal to tour England, Belgium, Italy, Spain and Germany, receiving excellent reviews from both critics and fellow musicians.

On his return to Europe, he joined his old friend Casals to play at the opening of the Prades Festival. The Festival of Pollensa, which Newman founded in 1962, became the major activity of his remaining years. A galaxy of artists appeared with him during the September Festival events.

Newman's last concert took place on 4th September 1966 at the Festival and the last piece of music he ever played was at the request of a journalist the same evening. It was the Recitative and Scherzo Caprice by Kreisler. A tour of the Soviet Union was planned but Newman died of a heart attack in his hotel room in Majorca on 23 November 1966, one year to the day after his beloved friend Queen Elisabeth. Ironically, he was that very evening to have taken part in a television broadcast to mark the anniversary of her death.

Throughout his career Newman received many honours and awards. In Belgium, he was an Officer of the Order of the Crown. Portugal awarded him its highest honour, Knight Commander of St. James of the Sword, and for his work during the war years the Order of St. John together with the Order of Christ. He was also awarded the Ysaÿe and the Queen Elizabeth of the Belgians medals and later decorated with the Order of Merit and the Order of Leopold. Yet another distinction was a commissioned oil painting which now hangs in the National Gallery, Lisbon. A bust of Newman by his friend Dr. Alfonso Jaume, made in 1966 shortly after his death, now stands at the entrance to the Festival cloisters in Majorca. There is also a plaster cast of his hand together with a death mask on exhibition at the Festival entrance and a street near by has been named after him. The sign reads ‘Philip Newman adopted son.’

27 April 2010

Tuesday Titbit

Elizabeth Harwood

                                          Italian Exercise book EH12/5/1

Elizabeth Harwood, the noted English soprano, studied at the Royal Manchester College of Music between 1956 and 1960. The RNCM has a large collection of programmes and cuttings relating to Elizabeth Harwood’s career which were collected by her father and later by her husband: the collection also includes some of Elizabeth’s personal papers.

The above picture shows Elizabeth’s Italian exercise book from her studies at the college in 1956, when she was eighteen years old. Her knowledge of Italian would have been useful throughout her career as an opera singer.

26 April 2010

This is the week that...

... Alan Rawsthorne was born (2nd May 1905).

Lock of Alan's first hair (Ref: AR/6/6)

                    Barbara and baby Alan (Ref: AR/5)                     Alan, aged 2 years (Ref: AR/5)

Alan Rawsthorne was born May 2nd 1905 in Haslingden, Lancashire. After initial studies in dentistry and architecture, he entered the Royal Manchester College of Music in 1925, where he was a pupil of the pianist Frank Merrick and the cellist Carl Fuchs. He left in 1929 with diplomas in performance and teaching (the latter with distinction). His piano studies were continued abroad, notably under Egon Petri. On his return to England in 1932 he taught at Dartington Hall School and also composed music for the associated School of Dance Mime.

He married a fellow ex-RMCM student, the violinist Jessie Hinchcliffe, in 1934 and, after moving to London in 1935, first achieved wide recognition at the 1938 ISCM Festival with the Theme and Variations for two violins. At the 1939 festival, in Warsaw, a far more ambitious score, the Symphonic Studies, demonstrated his mastery of orchestral resources, while in the same year the First Piano Concerto confirmed the achievement of "a highly individual language and certain structural predilections"; both were to remain remarkably constant throughout the rest of his career.

Rawsthorne rescored the concerto in 1942, by which time he was doing military service in the Army first in the Royal Artillery and then in the Education Corps; despite this he was able to complete the two contrasted overtures of 1944 and 1945. He was awarded a Fellowship of the RMCM in 1943. With the end of the war, however, he was at last able to devote all his energies to composition, and to be confident of receiving performance: within some five years he had produced four concertos, a symphony, several chamber works and a body of film music, and was thus already among the more prolific instrumental composers of an English generation that included Walton and Tippett. He married the artist Isabel (nee Nicholas, 1912-1992) in 1955, after divorcing Jessie the previous year.

He was made a CBE in 1961, and was awarded honorary doctorates by the universities of Liverpool, Essex and Belfast. He died in Cambridge in 1971.

Barbara Rawsthorne, Alan’s sister, describes their childhood birthdays in Diary of an Edwardian Childhood:
‘The first important event in our yearly calendar was my brother’s birthday which occurred in May. Birthdays were very important... We were allowed to choose the dinner, so the day began with choosing it. We nearly always chose roast chicken and chocolate pudding. Then there were cards and presents delivered by the postman, and others which had been hidden away for weeks in Mother’s wardrobe, always including an “unbirthday present” for the one whose birthday it was not. We didn’t have a conventional birthday party for children, but generally a granny or two and possibly an uncle had appeared by tea-time, and we had a Procession (we were very great on Processions) all around the house from top to bottom, with trumpets and paper hats, finishing in the dining room with a splendid tea, birthday cake and candles!’

20 April 2010

Tuesday Titbit

Photograph Album (TP/11/2)

Thomas Pitfield was a man of many talents: he was a composer, artist, craftsman and poet. Pitfield was a student and later a professor of the Royal Manchester College of Music. He loved nature and was a vegetarian; as we can see from his photograph album he was also very fond of dogs.
The above picture shows a pencil drawing by Pitfield of a sleeping spaniel and family photographs of his wife, Alice, and their pet spaniels. The photograph album forms part of the Thomas Pitfield collection which is kept at the RNCM Archives.

19 April 2010

This Is The Week That...

Letter from Hallé to Brodsky (ref. AB/492)

...Charles Hallé (first Principal and founder of the Royal Manchester College of Music) wrote to violinist Adolph Brodsky (21 April 1895).

With the departure of Willy Hess, the principal violin professor, Charles Hallé (first Principal and founder of the College) was forced to search for a new teacher and orchestra leader. Impressed with Adolph Brodsky, an outstanding soloist, Hallé suggested him for each position. Throughout his letter, Hallé attempts to subtly persuade Brodsky to join the college. He supposes that Brodsky's journey through Russia is nearing its end and hopes that Brodsky has not forgotten them in Manchester. Hallé also reminds Brodsky that he promised to pay them a visit which would be welcome with timely notice any time up to 7 July. Hallé also asks for biographical details for himself as well as for the local press. Brodsky accepts the positions offered to him, first appearing as leader of Hallé’s orchestra on 22 October 1895. Upon Hallé’s death on the morning of 25 October 1895, shortly before the Manchester season, Brodsky was offered the Principalship, which he accepted and held for a further 34 years.

14 April 2010


Welcome to the first RNCM Archives blog. I hope that readers find the blog useful, informative and interesting... Please do let me know what you think!

This Is The Week That... Tchaikovsky wrote to Adolph Brodsky, second Principal of the Royal Manchester College of Music (15 April 1882). 
  Extract from Tchaikovsky's letter to Brodsky, Archives ref. AB/664

Tchaikovsky addresses Brodsky by his forename and patronymic, Adolph Davidovich. Tchaikovsky is delighted to have heard from Brodsky the previous evening and cannot thank Brodsky enough for his fatherly care of his concerto. Tchaikovsky worries that the unfortunate concerto which inspired Brodsky may hinder Brodsky's career. Tchaikovsky greatly values Brodsky's attitude to his music and his friendship. Tchaikovsky came to Moscow with the intention of staying for only a few days but has already been detained for 3 weeks by proof readings. He is also editing the complete works of Dmitry Stepanovich Bortnyansky for Jurgenson. These are very many, poor in subject matter and monotonous. Although he loves Moscow, he is sad since so many of his friends have disappeared or are so aged and he wants to go off to the country. Tchaikovsky has heard that Brodsky has been invited to play at the Exhibition which Tchaikovsky hopes to see and may also hear Brodsky. Dated 15 Apr [1882].

Staff view
Anna Wright, Librarian of the RNCM, has this to say about the RNCM Archives:
'The development of music education in Manchester; the story of German refugees and internees during World War I; the life of a professional singer; correspondence between composers and performers; the establishment of a conservatoire in the late 19th century; an insight into the lives of performers, composers and educators ……

All of these and much more are to be found in the RNCM Archives. It’s quite hard to single out particular items for mention but a personal favourite is the visitors’ book of the Royal Manchester College of Music with the signatures of so many famous musicians from the late 19th and early 20th centuries who passed through the doors of the College.

I am fortunate in that I can explore the archives in person; through the features on the website and this blog you also have the opportunity to discover the wide variety of items within the collection and find out more about them.'

Sample page from the RMCM Visitors' Book (ref. RMCM/C/7) featuring the signatures of composer Edvard Grieg and his wife Nina, who visited the Royal Manchester College of Music on 25 November 1897.