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SACRED HARMONIC SOCIETY.
PUBLISHED BY THE SOCIETY, AT THEIR OFFICE,
PRINTED BY W. MITCHELL, 39, CHARING CROSS.
NINE years have elapsed since a Catalogue of the Library of the SACRED HARMONIC SOCIETY was presented to the Members, and seven years have passed away since a Supplement to that Catalogue was issued. During the latter period the acquisitions of the Library were neither few nor unimportant, and a desire was felt by many Members that a knowledge of them should be communicated in the form of a second Supplement to the Catalogue. Upon careful consideration, however, it was deemed more advisable that an entirely new Catalogue, embracing the whole contents of the Library, should be compiled.
In placing such Catalogue before the Members, it will not, perhaps, be thought superfluous that it should be preceded by a few remarks on some of the principal contents of the Library, as well as on other musical libraries.
Whilst the students in other Arts and Sciences, or particular branches of Learning, have generally enjoyed the advantages derivable from libraries attached to some public institution relating especially to each,—such, for instance, as the Divinity collections in the Library of Sion College and that of Dr. Williams, the Law Libraries of the Inns of Court, the Library of Oriental History and Literature of the East India Company, and others of a like kind,—the musical student has had to seek his knowledge, more particularly concerning the history of his art, in widely scattered and scantily furnished repositories.
It is true, indeed, that in the magnificent Library of the British Museum, and in the Bodleian Library at Oxford, there are very many volumes of music and works relating to it, and
that their numbers are, at least as regards English publications, . being annually increased by means of the copy privilege possessed by those institutions; but such works are in both establishments mingled with the general library, and must be sought for in the general catalogue, a circumstance greatly diminishing, and, in some cases, almost destructive of, their usefulness.* The Library of Christ Church College, Oxford, possesses the valuable collections of ancient music bequeathed to it by Dean Aldrich and Professor Goodson, which, it is believed, are kept separated from the general library, but these collections are (as can be seen by reference to the manuscript catalogues of them in the Society's Library) limited in character, and no means have ever been taken to extend them. These observations are also applicable to the collections in the Music School at Oxford, and to those in the Libraries of some of the Cathedrals.
The same system prevails in the Public Libraries of the Continent as in those of England; the musical works not being kept apart from those on other subjects. The only exception is in the Imperial Library at Vienna, where a collection of 9,000 musical works contained in 13,000 volumes is said to be kept quite distinct from the general library.
The students of the different continental Conservatories of Music have, usually, it is believed, the advantages of good libraries. The Library of the Conservatoire de Musique at Paris contains about 13,000 volumes; the collection being peculiarly rich in operas, and works of a kindred nature, but deficient in other departments. It includes an extraordinary assemblage of libretti of operas and musical pieces, bound in 5,000 volumes.
Whilst such is the state of music in libraries in general, and when the comparative destitution of the English musical student in respect of library provision is considered, it must be obvious
* At the British Museum there is a separate catalogue of Music; but musical literature is confined to the general catalogue.
that a library expressly devoted to the reception of music and works connected therewith, established on a comprehensive basis, so as to embrace all classes of music and musical literature, capable of almost indefinite extension, and placed under such regulations as to render it as generally accessible as is consistent with a proper regard for its preservation, is a possession of which a musical society may justly feel proud. Whether the library of the Sacred Harmonic Society is of such a character or not will be best judged of by a perusal of the following catalogue.
In drawing attention to some of the most prominent and interesting objects in the Society's Library, the extensive assemblage of early musical works printed from type, comprising church music, madrigals, songs, and other vocal and instrumental compositions, many of uncommon rarity, calls for particular notice. The Madrigals include a nearly perfect series of the productions of that brilliant constellation of talented men, the English madrigal writers who flourished during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and many of the works of the most eminent foreign masters. The Ecclesiastical music comprises the Sarum Missal of 1527, and that of Ratisbon of 1518; the Offertories, Hymns, Motetts, Masses, and other productions of Palestrina, Orlando di Lasso, Adrian Willaert, and many other eminent composers of the Italian and Flemish schools; the Cantiones of Tallis and Byrd; the Musica Deo Sacra of Thomas Tomkins; the very rare and curious sheet published by Matthew Locke, containing his Communion Service, with the Kyrie set ten different times; both editions of Edward Lowe's Directions for performance of Cathedral Service; several metrical Psalters; and numerous other valuable and interesting works. The most notable of the typeprinted works of this class, however, is Barnard's Selected Church Music, of which the Society has the good fortune to possess eight of the ten vocal parts. This important work (the first collection. of English Cathedral Music ever published) appeared in 1641,