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)