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