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