Imágenes de página

but, from its being printed in separate parts only, many of which have, from various causes, been lost or destroyed, it has resulted that, for a very great number of years, no such thing as a perfect set has been known to exist. For a considerable part of a century, eight vocal parts in the Library of Hereford Cathedral formed the largest number of the parts remaining in any one place, the Library of Lichfield Cathedral coming next with a set of seven parts, and some other churches and private persons possessing an odd part or two. In January last, however, the eight parts now in the Society's Library (which contain amongst them the two parts deficient at Hereford) were acquired by purchase, thereby placing this Library, as regards the possession of this work, in the same enviable position as that of Hereford. The acquisition of these parts becomes of higher interest from the fact that the Society also possesses seven manuscript volumes (containing as many separate vocal parts) of the collections used by Barnard in the compilation of his printed work. The type-printed music of an early date likewise includes the Psyche of Matthew Locke, several of Purcell's dramatic compositions, some of the operas of Lully and contemporary French composers, as well as other productions for the theatre. The greater portion of the numerous collections of songs published during the Commonwealth and the subsequent period, until the reign of George I., by John Playford and his contemporaries and successors, as well as some curious sets of old French songs, are also to be found in this collection. Music for that once popular but now obsolete instrument, the lute (amongst which may be particularly pointed out the Booke of Tabliture, published by William Barley at London in 1596; the Nobiltà di Roma of Gasparo Fiorini, published at Venice in 1573; and the Lautten Buch of Wolf Heckel, printed at Strasbourg in 1562, which exemplify the different kinds of tabliture for the instrument in use in England, Italy, and Germany), and for other instruments also fallen into desuetude, possessing an

interest not only for the musical antiquary, but for all who are desirous of tracing the progressive course of instrumental composition, will likewise be met with here. For the many other interesting features of this part of the collection the reader must be referred to the Catalogue itself. In one point of view, the collection of type-printed music-produced in different countries, and at various times, during a period of upwards of three hundred years, and including specimens of the beautiful types used by the Italian, Flemish, and English printers in the sixteenth century, the bold but less finished English, and the rough Italian types of the succeeding age, the rude German printing of the last century, and the most recent productions of our own times,presents a feature of great interest, affording, as it does, abundant illustrations of the rise, progress, perfection, decadence and renovation of the art of musical typography; a subject which, it is believed, has been but imperfectly, if at all, treated on by the typographical historians.

Concerning the engraved music in the Library it will suffice to say, that, in the several classes into which the contents of the Library is divided, it embraces all or nearly all the great standard classical works appertaining to each, besides many others of lesser importance but yet of great interest. Amongst the specimens of early music engraving may be remarked, the Parthenia of Byrd, Bull and Gibbons, the Fantasies of Orlando Gibbons, the Psalmes of Dr. Child, and the Organ pieces of Frescobaldi.

The manuscripts in the Library are principally unpublished compositions, several of which derive additional interest from being in their composers' autographs. An opera by Haydn, and works of various descriptions by Henry Purcell, Drs. Blow, Croft, Greene, Boyce, and Arne; Durante, Clari, and Geminiani, may be especially pointed to amongst these. The collection of music formerly belonging to Dr. Benjamin Cooke, containing the whole of his own compositions, many in various stages of completion,

forms a prominent feature of the manuscript department.


large portion of the manuscripts consists of ecclesiastical music, amongst which is an illuminated antiphonary of remarkably neat execution. A small but valuable collection of autograph letters of eminent composers, &c., is another object of interest in this department.

The large assemblage of works gathered together under the title of "Musical Literature " may, perhaps, be regarded as the specialty of the Society's Library. It is a remarkable fact that musicians in general, although sedulously seeking to attain to great knowledge of the practice of their art, have manifested considerable indifference as to its history, and this indifference has so completely pervaded all classes of them, that even those who have formed musical libraries of greater or lesser extent, have rarely been found to possess much in the nature of musical literature beyond two or three treatises and one of the histories of Hawkins or Burney. Yet it is surely not of small consequence that musicians should seek to obtain a just appreciation of their art by acquiring some knowledge, beyond that afforded by those works, of its progress! Between eighty and ninety years have elapsed since the histories of Hawkins and Burney were given to the world, and since their publication no general history of music has appeared; yet, in the interval, what vast advances have been made in the art! Modern orchestral composition has been introduced and perfected; operatic music has undergone a total change; choral performance has attained a height of excellence never before reached; and skilled performers in nearly every branch of the art now reckon by hundreds (perhaps thousands), where, at the time in question, they only counted by scores.

To collect and bring together such stores of information as will show the progress made and making in the science and practice of music, and enable us to form a due estimate of its present state by affording the means of comparison with that of

past times, and which, whilst supplying as far as possible the place of any general history, may likewise serve as materials for the future historian, seems peculiarly the province of a musical sodality possessing such a collection of music as is owned by this Society. The Musical Literature in the Society's Library consists of-Treatises and other works on the theory and practice of the art, including nearly every important work, ancient or modern, on the subject: Works relating to the history of music, or the lives of its professors and others directly or indirectly connected with its practice: Lyric and other poetry, including a large collection of the word books issued for performances at the provincial and other festivals, concerts, &c.: Works, showing the state of Cathedral and other choirs, and the condition of Church music at different periods: Works on the Drama, Theatres, &c., illustrating the state of dramatic music: with others of a more miscellaneous character, but all tending to enlighten us as to the progress of music.

In the following Catalogue, the contents of each of the three divisions of the Library-Printed Music, Manuscripts and Musical Literature-have been classed in such a manner as was thought most likely to facilitate the researches of the majority of students; whilst a general Alphabetical Index to every work in the collection has been compiled, for the service of those who prefer such a means of reference.

May, 1862.






1st. THAT the Library be considered as established for the purpose of reference only.

2nd. That Members of the Society, on giving notice at one of the weekly meetings, be allowed at the following meeting, or previously, as may be arranged between them and the Librarian, to refer to any particular work in the Library; but not to take it away without leave of the Committee, upon a written application made for that purpose through the Librarian, and for a limited time only, to be then named.

3rd. That such works as may be lent from the Library may at any time be called in by the Librarian.

4th. That Members shall be answerable for any loss or damage that may be sustained by their using any work belonging to the Library.

« AnteriorContinuar »