The first of this year’s series of Rare Books and Music Lectures was presented by Dr Loukia Drosopoulou, the academic specialist who is working on the cataloguing of the Music historical collections in the JISC funded project in Cardiff. Her lecture title – ’18th and 19th Century Music Collections at Cardiff’, was subtitled: ‘Travelling Collections’, and this was a major strand in her talk, relating the complex and compelling historical story of the provenance of these collections, and their journey from printer, publisher or family owner, to the public and university libraries which have held these music scores and manuscripts for the last two centuries and more.
The lecture covered the range of collections held, arising from ownership by the Mackworth family in the 18th century, the Aylward collection started in the 19th century, and the BBC collection formed in the 20th century, but all of them including materials going back several centuries, from across Britain and the Continent.
An outline of the complicated printing and publishing history was illustrated by images from a range of the scores whose minor differences all added to the difficulties of clearly identifying specific dates of publication, publishing houses, composers names, and a host of more intricate details which make chronicling the history of these source documents so challenging.
The lecture was concluded by reference to one of the composers included in the collection, not so famous now but important in his day, Boccherini; a recorded piece of his 18th century music was played, and was a high point in the presentation, allowing all who attended to gain an impression of the musical treasures which are contained in Cardiff’s large and impressive historical music collections.