07 December 2011

Manchester: musical metropolis

Photograph of the Brodsky Quartet, L to R Simon Speelman, Carl Fuchs,
Adolph Brodsky and Charles Rawdon Briggs (RNCM Archives ref AB/3/3)

A new exhibition is now on display at the RNCM as part of Archives Awareness Campaign 2011. 'Manchester: musical metropolis' celebrates the rich musical heritage of Manchester and the contribution made to the city’s culture and community by musicians who emigrated here from continental Europe in the mid to late 1800s. In particular there was a strong German community in the city whose cultural influence was felt in orchestras and ensembles, musical clubs and societies.

Programme for concert at the Schiller Anstalt,
a German club in Manchester, 1904
(RNCM Archives ref CF/3/1)
This distinctive musical life is revealed through photographs, programmes, letters and musical scores spanning the 1840s to the 1930s, chosen from the papers of Sir Charles Hallé, Carl Fuchs, Adolph Brodsky, Hans Richter and Simon Speelman.

The exhibition coincides with a concert on 16 December by the RNCM Symphony Orchestra, featuring Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto in D major, Op 35.  Brodsky's annotated copy of the score for the piano part of this concerto is on display, along with the orchestral score of Die Walkure, presented to Hans Richter by Wagner.  The concert also includes Elgar's Symphony No 1 in A flat major.  This work was first performed in Manchester in 1908, conducted by its dedicatee Hans Richter.

The exhibition is a collaboration between the RNCM Archives, the Hallé Concerts Society Archives and the Henry Watson Music Library, and can be found on the lower concourse at the RNCM, outside the concert hall. 

Catalogues of the papers of Adolph Brodsky and Carl Fuchs are available to search online here.  There is also a list of items from the Henry Watson Music Library, currently held on loan at the RNCM.  If you would like to use these archives, please contact the College Archivist and Records Manager, E archives@rncm.ac.uk  

Catalogues of the papers of Sir Charles Hallé, Hans Richter and Simon Speelman are available to search here.  If you would like to use these archives, please contact the Hallé's Archivist, E archive@halle.co.uk

16 November 2011

Henry Watson Music Library

During the closure of Manchester Central Library, selected items from the Henry Watson Music Library, relating to the history of music in Manchester, are available to researchers at the RNCM Archives.

The collection spans the late 18th to the late 20th centuries and includes programmes of musical societies, concert halls, orchestras, choirs and festivals, including the Ancoats Brotherhood, the Halle Concerts Society, the Manchester Gentlemen's Concerts and the Schiller Anstalt, to name but a few.  There are also minutes, annual reports, lists of members and subscribers, correspondence, press cuttings, accounts and scrapbooks. 

Many important names from Manchester's musical past crop up in the collection.  Letters received by the German cellist Carl Fuchs sit alongside manuscript volumes compiled by Sir Charles Halle, recording his work as a music teacher, pianist and conductor, and press cuttings about Hans Richter's appointment and resignation as conductor of the Halle Orchestra.  Family historians will also find this an unexpected source of information about musical ancestors from the greater Manchester area.

A list of the collection has now been compiled and you can find this on the RNCM Archives webpages.  To view items from the collection, contact the College Archivist and Records Manager, T 0161 907 5211 or E archives@rncm.ac.uk.

You can find out more about the Henry Watson Music Library by visiting Manchester City Council Libraries webpages, or contacting henrywatsonmusiclibrary@manchester.gov.uk.

09 November 2011

Celebrating Brodsky

To mark the second Manchester International Violin Competition, an exhibition based on the papers of Adolph Brodsky, the Russian violinist and principal of the Royal Manchester College of Music, is now on display at the RNCM until 5 December.

Photograph of Brodsky, circa 1920s
(RNCM Archive ref AB/183)

Brodsky’s musical career as a performer and teacher is revealed through letters, photographs, programmes and other treasures from the archives, spanning the 1860s to the 1920s. The history of the College, and of music in Manchester, would not be the same without Brodsky’s influence and commitment.

Highlights from the exhibition include:
  • Brodsky's annotated copy of the piano part of Tchaikovsky's violin concerto, op. 35, which he was the first to perform in public in December 1881.
  • A photograph of the orchestra of the Royal Manchester College of Music, conducted by Brodsky, circa 1898.
  • The programme for the first concert given by the Brodsky Quartet, accompanied by Brahms, at the Gewandhaus in Leipzig, February 1884.

The competition runs from 26 November to 3 December at the RNCM and features a violin making marathon during which four of the country's finest violin makers will make a copy of the RNCM's 'Brodsky' Guadagnini violin.  For tickets to the concerto final on 3 December, go to http://www.rncm.ac.uk/.  Admission to all other competition events is free.  For further information about the competition, contact mivc@rncm.ac.uk or visit www.rncm.ac.uk/mivc.

The exhibition can be found on the lower concourse at the RNCM, outside the concert hall. The catalogue for the Adolph Brodsky papers is available to search online here. If you would like to use the archive, please contact the College Archivist and Records Manager, E archives@rncm.ac.uk

03 October 2011

The Proud Bassoon

Concert programme,
Melos Ensemble, 1966

The latest accession to the RNCM archives, the papers of Bill Waterhouse (1931-2007), arrived in early September.  Mary Ann Davison has written in an earlier post about his contribution to the Collection of Historic Musical Instruments at the RNCM. 

After studying at the Royal College of Music, his long career as a professional bassoonist began with the Covent Garden Opera orchestra in 1953.  He joined the Royal Manchester College of Music (one of the RNCM's predecessors) in 1966 as professor of bassoon.

His extensive collection of concert programmes gives us an insight into the range of musical performances that he gave and the repertoire that he played, from the mid 1940s into the early 2000s.  There are large numbers of programmes for the London Symphony Orchestra (from 1958), the BBC Symphony Orchestra (from 1964) and the Melos Ensemble (from 1959), including
Concert programme, BBC
Symphony Orchestra, 1972/73
performances and tours overseas. He also performed as a soloist and gave master classes, lecture-recitals and workshops in many different countries. 

Letters from his friends and fellow musicians include the Dutch pianist Caecilia Andriessen; Canadian bassoonist and founder of the International Double Reed Society Gerald Corey; American composer and violinist Stanley Weiner; and the Swiss conductor Francis Travis.

The material received so far is only part of a larger collection and a small reflection of the work of a fine bassoonist.  We are grateful to Elisabeth Waterhouse, Bill's wife, for her kind donation.

18 August 2011

Latest additions to the Carl Fuchs papers

Photograph of the orchestra at Ruhleben camp for British
prisoners of war, July 1916 [RNCM Archive Ref CF/2/10]
A further donation of material relating to the German cellist Carl Fuchs has been made to the RNCM Archives by his granddaughter Tessa.  This photograph was one of the more unexpected items found as I catalogued the collection.  It was sent to Fuchs by the cellist WR Cooper, who is on the far right of the second row.  Fuchs was interned briefly at Ruhleben after the outbreak of the First World War.  Although he had settled in Manchester in 1888, he and his family were on holiday at his parents' home in Jugenheim in summer 1914.  The camp was housed in the racecourse at Ruhleben.  In his autobiography, Fuchs recalled living in a hayloft and dining in the grandstand.  Music formed a part of the life of the camp from its early days.

Postcard of Schloss Heiligenberg, Jugenheim
[RNCM Archives ref CF/1/41]
The Fuchs papers have been received in several instalments and a single, unified online catalogue has now been created.  This can be viewed here, by a quick search on 'CF' in the RefNo box.  The latest additions include correspondence, scrapbooks, concert programmes and cuttings, and a collection of annotated musical scores.  Fuchs has added programmes and cuttings to each score, allowing us to see when and where he performed each piece. 

Concert programme, Giessen Concert Society,
14 October 1917 [RNCM Archives Ref CF/4/22]

This programme, found in the score for David Popper's 'Mazurka I - For Bernhard Cossmann', op. 11 no. 3, shows how Fuchs was allowed to perform in Germany during the war.  After being released from Ruhleben in early 1915, he returned to live in Jugenheim.  He joined the orchestra of the Darmstadt Opera and also played in the Frankfurt Museum Orchestra.  He was given permission to return to his family in England in March 1919.

01 July 2011

That Day We Sang

Vocal exercises for children, by Walter Carroll
(RNCM Archive ref Carroll/WC/8)
To celebrate the opening of That Day We Sang, Victoria Wood’s new production for the Manchester International Festival, an exhibition based on the Walter and Ida Carroll papers held in the RNCM Archives will take place at the RNCM during July and August.  The Carroll collection was used during the research for the musical.

The exhibition pieces together the story of Manchester Elementary Schools’ Choir and its collaboration with the Hallé Orchestra in 1929, by looking at Walter Carroll’s contribution to the musical life of Manchester.

Carroll is best known as a composer of piano music for children.  He held several teaching posts at the University of Manchester and the Royal Manchester College of Music, before becoming Music Adviser for the City of Manchester Education Committee.  Until his retirement in 1934, he devoted his career to the reform of music teaching in Manchester schools. 

One of Carroll’s achievements was to create a successful school children’s choir, which famously performed with the Hallé Orchestra at the Free Trade Hall on 4 March 1929.  Taking this event as her inspiration, Victoria Wood's new musical tells two stories: that of the children of 1929, eagerly gearing up for their big day, and moving forward to 1969, that of Tubby and Enid, who, now somewhat older, are trying to reconnect with who they were then, and who they could be now. 

That Day We Sang will feature a new Manchester Children’s Choir formed especially for the occasion, and the Hallé Youth Orchestra.  It runs from 6 to 17 July at the Opera House in Manchester.  For tickets visit http://www.mif.co.uk/

The exhibition can be found on the lower concourse at the RNCM, outside the concert hall.  The catalogue for the Walter and Ida Carroll papers is available to search online here.  If you would like to use the archive, please contact the College Archivist and Records Manager, E archives@rncm.ac.uk

20 May 2011

Grieg in Manchester

Nina and Edvard Grieg, dated 1906
(RNCM Archive ref AB/211)
Manchester Camerata will be performing two concerts in the RNCM Concert Hall this weekend, 21 -22 May. Linked by the music of Beethoven, the concerts feature students from the RNCM's conducting courses. On Saturday, the programme includes Two Elegiac Melodies Op 34, by Edvard Grieg.  Grieg and his wife Nina became friends of Adolph Brodsky and his wife Anna after meeting in Leipzig in the 1880s.

As the second Principal of the Royal Manchester College of Music, Brodsky's papers are held in the RNCM Archives. Correspondence between the friends dates from 1890 and continues with Anna's sister Olga even after the deaths of the Brodskys in 1929. The letters are in German except for those written by Nina during the First World War, which are in English. There are about thirty letters from Edvard to Adolph and about a hundred from Nina to Anna.

When Grieg visited Manchester in November 1897, he stayed with the Brodskys.  One of his letters to Anna gives a flavour of their relationship:
"We arrive on Wednesday 24th [November] at 2.30 and will go direct to 41 Acomb Street. And may I ask straight away, Frau Brodsky, if I can have at 4 o’clock a beefsteak (underdone!). I know this is impudent, and you see for yourself that you should have let us stay in a hotel. But before a concert you must not be offended if I am very strict about my food. It is absolutely necessary. The concert is at 7.30 and I must rest beforehand. And there is one more thing you must permit: Bechsteins are sending a pianino; will you please have it put into my room… As soon as I arrive I intend to exercise my fingers a little in my room, so I should be grateful for a fairly warm room. And now I will leave you in peace!" (RNCM Archive ref. AB/587)
The online catalogue for the Brodsky papers can be searched here

28 April 2011

For the Royal Wedding...

To mark the special day (and no, not just the fact it's an extra Bank Holiday...), here are some extracts from the RNCM Archives which can be related to the forthcoming Royal Wedding. 

Title page of the second fanfare

First few bars of the second fanfare
Above is an extract from the score of Bax's 'Royal Wedding fanfare no. 2', written to celebrate Princess Elizabeth's marriage to Philip Mountbatten on 20 November 1947.  Note, however, that on the cover of this particular copy, the date 1948 has been written.  This particular copy of the score can be found in the Philip Jones Brass Ensemble collection in the Archives (ref. PJBE/10/Bax). 

The next item is a copy of the title page and extract from Thomas Pitfield's 'Dance of the Wedding Guests', arranged for one piano, four hands (ref. TP/4/1/1).  One hopes there will be rather more smiles on display at William and Catherine's wedding reception on Friday evening than there are on the cover page of this work!

Title page for Pitfield's 'Dance of the Wedding Guests'

First page from Pitfield's 'Dance of the Wedding Guests'

20 April 2011

Easter Greetings from Modest Tchaikovsky

This postcard was sent by Modest Il'yich Tchaikovsky (the composer, Pyotr's, brother) to Adolph Brodsky, second Principal of the Royal Manchester College of Music.  The image on the front is of The Catacombs in Rome, and it is dated 13/26 April 1908 (the two dates are due to the Russians' use of the Julian calendar until the Revolution - 13th April is the Julian date while 26 April the Gregorian one). 

The translation of the postcard is as follows:
'Easter greeting.  Christ is risen!  Dear friends of mine!  During your two-day stay with me, I have become as attached to you as though we had lived inseparably for two years!  One of these days I will send the photographs.  M Tchaikovsky'. 

Front of Tchaikovsky's Easter postcard to Brodsky, ref. AB/691

Back of Tchaikovsky's postcard to Brodsky, ref. AB/691

14 April 2011

RNCM Collection of Historic Musical Instruments: Remembering William Waterhouse

William 'Bill' Waterhouse
Leaflet advertising the Catalogue of the RNCM Collection of Historic Musical Instruments

This Saturday, 16 April 2011, a special concert will be taking place at the Wigmore Hall in London. "The proud bassoon" is a memorial concert for William Waterhouse.

William 'Bill' Waterhouse was appointed as a bassoon teacher at the Royal Manchester College of Music in 1966 and continued at the RNCM. For a number of years Bill was involved in advising the College on its Collection of Historic Musical Instruments and became its Acting Honorary Curator. It is thanks to his endeavours that the Collection is displayed for visitors and, more particularly, that we have a complete catalogue of it.

For more information about the Collection visit http://www.rncm.ac.uk/research-mainmenu-52/historic-instrument-collection-mainmenu-150.html.

and for details of the catalogue http://www.rncm.ac.uk/component/content/article/150/318.html.

12 April 2011

Updated guide to the collections now available

An updated guide to the Archive collections of the College is now available to view from our website: please click here for further details.

07 April 2011

19th Century staff lists go online!

Sir Charles Halle, first principal of the Royal Manchester College of Music

I'm pleased to announce that digitised staff lists from 1893-1903 are now available to view online from the RNCM Archives' website: http://rncm.ac.uk/component/content/article/151/822.html.  Such lists give a valuable insight into the early years of the Royal Manchester College of Music and it is hoped they will prove an interesting and useful research resource. 

There are also plans to digitise the staff lists from 1903 onwards: updates will be posted here as this work progresses. 

05 April 2011

More birthday greetings

Born on 5 April 1903, on the occasion of his 79th birthday Thomas Pitfield wrote the following humorous verse:

"Now an untender age is mine
At three score years & ten, plus nine;
How long before the changed position:
Composing, to de-composition?"
Pitfield was a wonderfully talented individual who spent his life creating a large volume of works in music, art, poetry and crafts.  Much of his collection is now housed at the RNCM Archives and further information about this intriguing individual can be found by visiting the online catalogue (do a RefNo search for 'TP'). 
You may also be interested in the cross-curricular educational resource pack which has been produced and is available to download online: http://www.rncm.ac.uk/component/content/article/151/302.html.  Aimed at Key Stages 3-4 there are lessons designed for Art and Design, Citizenship and History, Drama, English and Music. 

01 April 2011

Birthday wishes for Dr Adolph Brodsky

Adolph Brodsky, pictured with his violin (ref. AB/183)
Adolph Brodsky was born at Taganrog, Russia, on 2 April 1851.

He began learning the violin at the age of four, and enjoyed his first public appearance at the age of 8, playing in Odessa. Following this concert he was sent to Vienna where he was entered as a pupil at the Vienna Conservatoire, to study under Hellmesberger. During his time at the Vienna Conservatoire, he played second violin in the Hellmesberger-Popper string quartet.

Brodsky returned to Russia after completing his course at the Conservatoire. He spent some time touring as a soloist, and at the age of 24 was offered the post of assistant professor of the violin at the Moscow Conservatoire, which he accepted.

Adolph married Anna Skadowska in Sebastopol in 1880. The following year he became the first person to play Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto, declared unplayable by Leopold Auer to whom the original dedication was made. Tchaikovsky was extremely grateful to Brodsky for the support shown by him in playing his work, as demonstrated by letters now held in the RNCM Archives.

The Brodsky Quartet was formed in 1883, and originally consisted of Adolph as leader, Ottokar Novacek (a pupil), Hans Sitt and L Grützmacher. Novacek initially played second violin but later became the violist. Hans Becker, another pupil of Brodsky’s, replaced Novacek as second violin, whilst Julius Klengel took the place of Grützmacher. The quartet made its first appearance in Leipzig on 6 Feb 1884.

In 1895 Brodsky became concert master of the Hallé Orchestra and, after the death of Sir Charles Hallé in October 1895, became the second Principal of the Royal Manchester College of Music. He held this post until his death in 1929.

For further information on the Brodsky collection, please visit www.archives.rncm.ac.uk (for the entire collection, do a quick search for the reference 'AB').

Please note, all pictures are copyright RNCM Archives and must not be reproduced without further permission.


The Brodsky Quartet, 1909, featuring Brodsky, Rawdon-Briggs, Speelman and Fuchs (ref. AB/700)

The Guarnerius del Gesu violin which belonged to Adolph Brodsky

Adolph and his wife, Anna (ref. AB/189)

07 January 2011

Henry Watson, 1846-1911 - 'All for love and nothing for reward'

7 January - 21 February 2011

The Henry Watson Music Library & Royal Northern College of Music are marking the centenary of the death of Henry Watson with a free joint exhibition. Using exciting original documents such as letters and photographs from the extensive Henry Watson archive collection this celebrates the life of a man who left a wonderful legacy to the citizens of Manchester. That legacy remains today in the public music library collection which bears his name and the Collection of Historic Musical Instruments at the RNCM.

For further details please contact either archives@rncm.ac.uk or r.edwards@manchester.gov.uk