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Showing posts with label Special Collections Reading Room. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Special Collections Reading Room. Show all posts

30 March 2017

VFG collection of musical scores at Monash

Have you been looking for repertoire for your ensemble or chamber group? You may find inspiration in a collection of over 1500 scores in the Sir Louis Matheson Library, says Jackie Waylen, the Subject Librarian for Music.


If you play a musical instrument, and have been seeking repertoire that is both excellent and perhaps a little less familiar, be it solo instrumental music, or music for your ensemble or chamber group, then you may wish to delve into the collection of over 1500 scores that were gifted to the Library by the Victorian Flute Guild in 2010. Over 300 of these scores have so far been catalogued, including solos, duets, trios, quartets and quintets. Flute music includes studies and exercises for improving technique, music for chamber groups with flute, and music for flute choir. Some of the scores have been digitised and will soon be available in a new online special collections repository.

Most of the works in the collection were composed in the 19th and 20th centuries. So, quite soon, a flautist and pianist will be able to access the fifth of Andersen's “Five easy pieces,” as it was published in 1894.

Some of the concert repertoire and pedagogical works were composed in the 18th century, but they appear in the collection as later editions. Many of the works are related to teaching. A survey of prominent flute teachers in North America and Europe, undertaken by Molly Barth, and published in The Flutist Quarterly in 2016, revealed that études were an "integral component of their teaching regimen". Of the 26 composers of études cited by these teachers, the Victorian Flute Guild's scores, which have so far been sorted, contain études by 17 of these composers.

The Victorian Flute Guild Collection includes many virtuosic concert pieces for flute and piano, and miniatures that would be suitable for encores. The range of European composers and publishers from the late 19th century is extraordinary, and so a finding aid for all the works is underway. Once the whole collection has been catalogued, performance students and others will certainly have an interesting collection to browse. 


The earliest works in the collection belonged originally to Leslie Barklamb (1905-1993) who, in 1969, founded the Victorian Flute Guild in order "to promote and encourage the learning of the flute, flute playing in all idioms, and to support all forms of music education". To attain this goal, a main aim was "to establish, build up and maintain a library of music of all types". Barklamb's personal library constituted a who's who of composers who both wrote for and played the flute, such as Andersen (1847-1909), Büchner (1825-1912), Doppler (1821-1883), Gariboldi (1833-1905) and Kuhlau (1786-1832). His library also included composers whose works or melodies have since been arranged for flute and piano.

In her centenary tribute to Leslie Barklamb, the current President of the Guild Mary Sheargold, refers to him as the "father of the flute in Australia." Over a teaching career of more than 65 years he taught many flautists who went on to become professional players (including some who had success overseas). Barklamb studied for two years (1917-1919) with John Amadio, an internationally renowned flautist, before learning from Alfred Weston-Pett. After obtaining a Diploma of Music at the Melbourne Conservatorium in 1925, Leslie Barklamb taught flute there (from 1929 to 1974), and he also played in Bernhard Heinze's University Orchestra and Alberto Zelman's Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. From 1958 onward he devoted his career to teaching, following hand problems and his retirement from the MSO. His pupils remember him as being a wonderfully enthusiastic teacher always happy to lend out his flutes and music. 


Amongst the countries represented in the Victorian Flute Guild Collection are Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States. The Ada Booth benefaction has enabled the cataloguing of over 150 of the scores relating to Slavic countries. Australian composers represented range from John Lemmoné (1861-1949, born in Vic.) to, Geoffrey Allen (b. 1927, living in WA., and soon to add a woodwind CD to his existing Iridescent Flute.)

Scores added to the collection since the 1970s tend to include works that have a particular focus on ensemble music, from flute duets to flute choir works; for instance, Kummer's flute trios have been added from Annette Sloan's personal library.

Not all of the music is for flute. Students seeking repertoire for other instruments may be interested to browse the whole range. On the one hand you might retrieve a ricercare from a canon originally composed by Palestrina (1525-1565), but arranged in the 1950s for oboe, clarinet, bassoon and horn; or you might instead find violin music such as the Schubert lied, "Ständchen," arranged for violin and piano by Mischa Elman in 1910.

One can retrieve all the works that have been catalogued to date by entering "Victorian Flute Guild Collection" into Library Search. If "Leslie Barklamb" is added, then all the works that were part of Leslie Barklamb's personal library can be identified. To find trios, for example, enter "Victorian Flute Guild trios" and limit the result to scores. Or you might wish to look for Borodin's "Polovtsian Dances" from Prince Igor, as arranged for piano.

Much of the earliest repertoire is in a fragile condition and needs to be consulted in the Special Collections Reading Room. In the spirit of continuing Leslie Barklamb's and the Victorian Flute Guild's legacy, our Library has first set about digitising the repertoire that is not readily accessible elsewhere, so that performers, teachers and students can enjoy a wider range of solo and chamber music.

Researchers will also be able to look at those rarer works from the 19th century that reveal fascinating insights into the publishing and dissemination of printed music, especially of sheet music for flute.

The Library is also digitising the back covers of these scores. The covers often contain useful information, such as advertisements for other music that would have been available at the time of the publication (see example at left).



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1 December 2016

Writing in books: Marginalia in the Rare Books Collection

When you are reading for study or pleasure, do you underline words, highlight parts of the text or draw asterisks next to important lines? Do you write notes to yourself in the margin to clarify what you’ve just read or to remind yourself of an idea that the passage has brought up? If you are using an ebook or reading an article online, do you use the annotate tool to highlight passages or to create notes? Perhaps you annotate as a way of replying to the author or to question, approve, or refute his or her viewpoint.  If you do any of these things, you may not have realised it, but you have been engaging in the scholarly process of creating marginalia.  By Lauren Buchanan



Recently, a conference on marginalia - Marginal Notes: Social Reading and the Literal Margins - was held at the State Library of Victoria in conjunction with Monash University and University of Otago’s Centres for the Book. It included a masterclass where participants could bring and discuss examples encountered in their work or study, learn about different kinds of annotation, and consider the underlying meaning and significance of the practice. Attending the conference led me to consider the examples of marginal notes I have seen in the Rare Books Collection at Monash and pick out just a few favourites to share. These items are available for you to view in the Special Collections Reading Room at Sir Louis Matheson Library, Clayton. (Note: The library is currently closed, reopening on 30 January 2017.)

Marginalia is generally produced as part of the reading and studying process (Jackson, 2001) and can also serve a communicative function (Fajkovic & Björneborn, 2014). Annotations to the text can act as an imaginary conversation between the reader and the author, as well as initiating an ongoing conversation between subsequent readers of the marginalia. Once they have been written, “marginalia become physical artefacts, whose function is a constant and inseparable part of both the text and the physical book” (Fajkovic & Björneborn, 2014, p. 914).

In the realm of marginalia, there are many different kinds of markings. From an innocuous pencil underline of a keyword to the vertical line next to a paragraph indicating its importance; from an exclamatory “No!” scrawled by an outraged reader to an earnestly written argument debunking the author’s viewpoint in the margin of the page. Stars, asterisks, curly brackets, scribbles, doodles, sketches, even the elegant outline of a hand with a finger or fingers pointing to specific parts of the text, known as a manicule, are all marks of marginalia.

Decoding handwritten annotations

The first image is an example from one of our manuscripts, probably written in France during the eighteenth century. A professional scribe was employed to transcribe Jean de la Fontaine’s Transformation metallique, trois anciens tractez en rithme francoise (Paris: Guillaume Gillard, 1561) and an extract of Le roman de la rose by Jean de Meung (c.1240). The manuscript’s owner has interacted with the text by underlining important passages, inserting a curly bracket to emphasise another passage, writing extensive notes in the margins, and also excising large passages by crossing them out. The reader has also drawn a manicule in the left-hand margin, a name that comes from the Latin maniculum, meaning "little hand”. Manicules originated in the scribal tradition of the medieval and Renaissance period and functioned as punctuation marks to signal corrections or notes. They were later used as a printer’s typographical symbol to mark notes and also act as a means of signifying noteworthy passages and in advertising displays (Houston, 177).

The next item that caught my eye is an edition of Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s Du contrat social, ou, Principes du droit politique (Strasbourg: De l'Impr. de la Société typographique, 1791). Our edition has an ownership inscription on the front cover that reads, “A. Lewis Parkes” and contains a number of handwritten annotations. Unlike the previous example, in which marginalia accompanies the text throughout, the Rousseau edition has only been annotated on the front and preliminary papers and the endpapers. This particular example also highlights one of the problems inherent in decoding handwritten annotations. Sometimes, the handwriting is extremely difficult to read and its meaning and significance remains opaque. Interpreting marginalia can often prove a tantalising but frustrating and difficult task!

 The last two examples of marginalia are both connected to the author Jonathon Swift. This image is from a pamphlet with a rather interesting lineage. Swift’s pamphlet, The Presbyterians Plea of Merit (1733), attacked the Whig government for their intention to remove the Test Act for dissenters. We hold the anonymously printed reply to Swift’s pamphlet, entitled, A Vindication of the Protestant dissenters (Dublin, Powell: 1733), which contains handwritten notes penned by Jonathon Swift himself as he read the attack upon his work. Unfortunately, some notes were cropped in the binding process but we can immediately see some of his reactions in the margins, including his rebuttals of certain points. These comments were later reworked as part of Swift’s ironic reply, Reasons for repealing the Sacramental Test & c. in favour of the Catholics (1732).

The final example shows an anonymous commentator’s interaction with another of Swift’s pamphlets, The management of the four last years vindicated….(London: J Morphew, 1714). It was written by Swift as a reply to Charles Povey's An inquiry into the miscarriages of the four last years reign (London: Robinson, c.1714). As you can see, the commentator has drawn a manicule, signalling the importance of the passage. There are also underlinings, vertical lines to emphasise a paragraph, comments written next to the printed text, as well as copious notes at the foot of each page. Like previous examples, the handwriting here is difficult to decipher, rendering the task of interpretation problematic. However, for a student or researcher interested in either Swift or the historical period, grappling with difficult marginalia may provide a rich reward.

Studying marginalia can provide a deeper insight into an author and his or her readers as well give a greater appreciation of the wider context in which they wrote. Marginal notes and annotations help make an item unique and offer a glimpse into the lived experience of the book itself. They raise questions of provenance, use, and appreciation. In the digital landscape, we may question whether the process of creating marginalia will continue and what this means for the study of marginalia. We would love to see you in the Special Collections Reading Room deciphering these works or puzzling over other books with accompanying marginalia.



References

Fajkovic, M., & Björneborn, L. (2014). Marginalia as message: Affordances for reader-to-reader communication. Journal of Documentation, 70(5), 902–926. doi:10.1108/jd-07-2013-0096 

Houston, K. (2013). Shady characters: the secret life of punctuation, symbols, & other typographical marks. New York: W.W. Norton & Company.


Jackson, Heather J. (2001).  Marginalia: readers writing in books. New Haven: Yale University Press.






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