Tag Archives: Music

“An evocative poet”: the pianist Solomon Cutner

Solomon Cutner, or Solomon as he became known, made his professional debut at the age of eight playing Tchaikovsky’s First Concerto at Queen’s Hall, London.  From then until his early teens he was to be considered one of the most celebrated child prodigies of his era.

Solomon was born in the East End of London in 1902, the seventh child of Jewish parents of Polish and German extraction. Since both of his parents loved music and there was a piano in the home, Solomon, as he noted in an interview years later, “could have been barely five when I first started strumming on the piano and having lessons.  For hours and hours I would practice upon the old instrument which we had at home and forget all about games and toys…. It was the strangest assortment of trifles that my fingers, as rigid as the keys themselves, would delightedly ramble through, ranging from a Beethoven minuet and snatches of 1812 to the popular tunes of the day.” [MS 430 A4254/4/1]

Solomon as a child performer [MS430 A4254/3]

Solomon as a child performer [MS430 A4254/3]

Solomon’s parents were introduced to Mathilde Verne, who had set up a music school in London in 1909, by a member of the Jewish Aid Society.  And it was a bursary from the Jewish Aid Society that supported Solomon’s lessons with Verne.  He moved into her house and undertook a punishing schedule of eight to nine hours a day practice and of numerous concerts.  At the age of nine Solomon performed with the Queen’s Hall Orchestra under the conductor Henry Wood.  Wood was to write to Mathilde Verne that “I have never met such a talent as Solomon’s at the age of 9. His phrasing and rhythmic grip seemed to me quite remarkable.” [Henry Wood to Mathilde Verne, 25 June 1912 MS 430 A4254/4/1].  By the he age of 12 Solomon was playing six Prom concerts and the following year he played 15 concerts with Henry Wood.

Solomon left Verne when his contract expired and, on the advice of Henry Wood, retreated from performance and immersed himself in study.  He returned to performance in early 1920s, first in London and Paris followed by a short tour of Germany.  He made his New York debut in 1926 and performed at the World Fair there in 1939, premiering the Piano Concerto in B-flat by Arthur Bliss.

Solomon's American debut [MS 430 A4254/3]

Solomon’s American debut [MS 430 A4254/3]

During the Second World War Solomon performed for allied troops in Europe.  In the post-war period he undertook extensive concert tours across the world.

Performing in Australia

Performing in Australia [MS 430 A4254/3]

Solomon embarked on a parallel career as a recording artist from 1929 when he signed to Columbia. He subsequently signed to EMI, focusing on the works of Beethoven and on recording the entire sequence of Beethoven’s piano sonatas.  Solomon was part way through the Beethoven recording when in 1956 he suffered a stroke that paralysed his right arm. This effectively ended his performance career.

Solomon was awarded a CBE in 1946. He died, in London, in 1988 aged 85. He is remembered for his superb technique and his playing as an adult was acclaimed for its clarity and overall poetic feel.  He was described as “one of the few contemporary pianists who is master of the subtleties of Chopin”. [MS 430 A4254/1/206]  William Mann called him “an evocative poet”.  For John Cromer, “while Solomon played … the inanimate piano came alive with a new meaning of sound and patterned harmonies.  The three-legged monster with shining white and black teeth became the living bearer of a thousand messages, soft and sweet, tender and poignant.” [MS 430 A4254/1]

Letter from Solomon to his sister [MS 430 A4254/1/39]

Letter from Solomon to his sister Ettie [MS 430 A4254/1/39]

The recently acquired collection of papers relating to Solomon at Southampton contains extensive correspondence from him, predominately to his sister Ettie.  These letters relate to his concert tours in the 1940s and 1950s across North and South America, Europe, Japan, Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand and Tasmania.  They attest both to the rigors of life on tour and to his appreciation of homely comforts such as tea and toast in his hotel room.  The collection further contains photographs of Solomon from a young man to an adult; programmes from concerts all across the world; and volumes of press cuttings mainly of reviews of his performances.  This material provides a glimpse into the world of the person Harold Schonberg of the New York Times called “that most civilized of pianists” and who his family remember as a devoted son and brother.

University balls and dances

With the academic year having come to an end and the celebration of summer balls having recently passed, we look back at a selection of the balls and dances which populated the University calendar in the decade following the University’s receipt of its royal charter.

Student social events have formed part of the University’s calendar since the early days of the institution. Looking at a student handbook from 1906 one can find a number of social functions listed for the session, including a series of soirées, a joint musical evening by the Choral Society, and a garden party. By the time the institution received its royal charter in 1952, becoming a full-fledged University, balls and dances had become a prominent feature of the student social scene.

Programmes for the Union Ball, 1939 [MS 310/78] and 1959 [MS 310/23]

Programmes for the Union Ball, 1939 [MS 310/78] and 1959 [MS 310/23]

One of the key events to mark the beginning of the academic year was the Freshers’ Dance. Specifically aimed at first year students, the dance was intended to provide a sample of University entertainment. However, as with many of the student dances held during the 1950s, the venue for the ball was the old Refectory (forming part of what is now Garden Court, Building 40). The venue proved inadequate, with the student newspaper the Wessex News noting that it was “not designed to accommodate two hundred and fifty whirling couples”. The result was often an overcrowded, hot and noisy event, with the behaviour of certain seniors leading to the annual dance becoming commonly known as “the cattle market”.  The late 1950s and early 1960s was a period of major expansion for the University and by the time of the 1960-1 session the Union was ready to move into the whole of the West Building, providing sufficient space for dances and live performances.

Next on the calendar was the Halloween Ball in October. Established by the Scottish and Old Time Dancing Society, the dance incorporated traditional Scottish music and was host to a selection of witches, devils, bats and similar nocturnal creatures. In 1956 an unexpected guest made an appearance: “Quite in keeping with the general atmosphere of diabolism was the sudden and unexpected entry of Kelly [the Engineering faculty’s mascot] surrounded by hooded engineers, bless their little cotton socks, furiously exploding Bangers.” [Wessex News, 6 November 1956, Univ. Coll. per LF 789.9]

Kelly the skeleton, the Engineering faculty’s mascot, was a regular guest at student balls and dances [MS 1/7/291/22]

Kelly the skeleton, the Engineering faculty’s mascot, was a regular guest at student balls and dances [MS 1/7/291/22]

A range of faculty and society balls populated the calendar throughout the decade. A description of the Interstellar Ball held by the Science Faculty in January 1957 reads:

“In front of the West Building stood a rocket ready for take-off, and inside the theme was carefully repeated with star-studded portholes, martian television sets, a flying saucer and various galaxies, not to mention a rather static mobile.” [Wessex News, 29 January 1957, Univ. Coll. per LF 789.9]

One of the most prominent social events on the University calendar was the Engineers’ Ball held in the late autumn. By the 1950s the ball had established itself as a tradition and was widely considered one of the most memorable events of the year. A great deal of effort went into planning and organising each ball. The refectory was decorated with gadgets and other mechanical wonders, bringing welcome relief from the “tedium” of its natural decor. Each year the venue was decorated to a particular theme, including the “Festival of Britain” in 1951, the “Brussels Exhibition” in 1958, and “Underwater” in 1959.

Photograph of students setting up the Engineers’ Ball, c. 1952 [MS 310/34]

Photograph of students setting up the Engineers’ Ball, c. 1952 [MS 310/34]

A review of the 1957 Engineers’ Ball in the Wessex News reads:

“No one who has not seen the Refectory when the Engineers have finished with it could believe that such a transformation of this monstrosity was possible. This year visitors found themselves in a fairground cum circus, with the usual appendages including, strangely enough, a Big Wheel. A large cage divided the bar in the annexe from the dancing room, an excellent idea, since it was mostly monopolised by the jivers who are always a nuisance to civilised dancers.” [Wessex News, 10 December 1957, Univ. Coll. per LF 789.9]

The Engineers’ Ball was considered more glamourous even than the Union Ball (though it lacked the gloss of officialdom that the latter possessed) with the same reviewer writing:

“The Engineers set themselves a very high standard, which they manage miraculously, year after year, to live up to. One can never judge an Engineers’ Ball by comparing it to other Union dances because they are not in the same class…” [Wessex News, 10 December 1957, Univ. Coll. per LF 789.9]

The popularity of the event meant that tickets were made available in order of precedence, as follows: Ball Helpers, engineering finalists, a limited number of other engineers, members of the Union, and even members of the University staff.

The spring brought two key events to the Union calendar: Rag day and the Union dinner and ball. Rag day was traditionally held on Shrove Tuesday and consisted of a variety of activities aimed at raising money for charity. It was seen as an occasion for “fun and high spirits” as well as being a means of bringing “pleasure, help and happiness to others”. Central to Rag day was the Rag procession which paraded through the city with all manner of floats accompanied by students in fancy dress. The day’s events culminated in the Rag ball which generally took place in the Guildhall in the city centre.

Route of the Rag procession, 1948 [MS 310/31]

Route of the Rag procession, 1948 [MS 310/31]

Rag day induced a particular atmosphere which some have described as “riotous”. This, on occasion, led to inexcusable acts of hooliganism which threatened the very existence of the Rag. Detailing the revival of Rag in 1948 after a lapse of many years, an article in the Wessex News notes that: “Over enthusiasm on the part of the students had caused the police to intervene in no uncertain manner, and the Rag machinery fell into disuse.” [Wessex News, 16 October 1951, Univ. Coll. per LF 789.9] A similar situation occurred in 1959 leading to the abolishing of the Rag for a number of years. While it was proposed that new University Arts Festival could act as a replacement, the Rag was reinstated again in 1963.

The Students’ Union held its own dinner and ball around the same time as the Rag (with an oversight in 1957 leading to the two events clashing). The event, regularly criticised as elitist, consisted of a dinner with speeches and toasts followed by a ball at the Guildhall. Looking at a programme for the Union Ball from 1939 one can find various ballroom dances listed, including quickstep, waltz, foxtrot, tango, etc., with the evening ending with a toast to “The King”. Fast-forwarding to 1959 we find both an orchestra, with traditional ballroom dances listed, alongside a jazz-band.

Photograph of students at the Union Ball, 1959 [MS 310/23]

Photograph of students at the Union Ball, 1959 [MS 310/23]

By the late 1950s, jazz had established itself as an integral part of the student social scene with nearly all dances and socials featuring jazz groups, either as support or as the main attraction. While balls remain a standard of the University calendar, options for live music at the University broadened in subsequent decades as live jazz and rock became an integral part of many student’s lives.

Today, the Freshers’ Ball, Graduation Ball and Engineering Ball remain some of the most prominent social events of the University year.

Jazz Club at the University of Southampton

To mark International Jazz Day which takes place on Sunday, 30th April we have decided to take a brief look at the early days of the Southampton University Jazz Club.

Image from a photo feature on ‘Jazz Club’ written by Jerry Palmer with photographs by Bernard Bailey from Wessex News, 10 October 1961

Image from a photo feature on ‘Jazz Club’ written by Jerry Palmer with photographs by Bernard Bailey from Wessex News, 10 October 1961 [Univ. Coll. per LF 789.9]

Live music has formed a part of the University’s life since the early decades of the 20th century. This initially consisted of concerts and performances by musical societies such as the Choral and Orchestral Society. By the 1950s Southampton had become a fully-fledged university – receiving its royal charter on 29 April 1952 – marking the beginning of a golden era of live music, particularly in the form of jazz and rock.

A short history of British Jazz
Jazz as a genre of music began life among African-American communities during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Amalgamating African and European music sensibilities, early jazz drew on a range of influences. Throughout its history it has continually evolved, giving rise to many distinctive styles. A difficult genre to define, it is most broadly recognised for its use of musical improvisation, contrasting rhythms, and syncopated notes.

‘Music hath Charms, A Survey of a jazz club with comments from poets’, Goblio, 1955 [Univ. Coll. per LF 789.9]

‘Music hath Charms, A Survey of a jazz club with comments from poets’, Goblio, 1955 [Univ. Coll. per LF 789.9]

Prior to the 1930s, the influence of jazz in Britain remained limited. However, the arrival of American jazz musicians such as Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington meant that British musicians, as well as the British public, were becoming increasingly jazz-aware. By the 1940s all kinds of jazz and jazz-flavoured dance music flourished in London nightclub while the latter part of the decade saw the jazz scene divide into two distinct movements: modern and traditional. Modern jazz in Britain was influenced by American bebop, a new style characterised by a fast tempo together with complex harmony and rhythms. A movement in the opposite direction was revivalism, which sought to re-engage with traditional Dixieland and Ragtime styles. Both styles remained popular throughout the 1950s, a decade which saw the popularity of British jazz continue to flourish, particularly across university campuses.

Southampton University Jazz Club
Formed in 1955, the Southampton University Jazz Club (S.U.J.C.) quickly established itself as the University’s biggest student society. This was largely thanks to weekly live sessions with local and visiting bands. Performances were affordable and provided different styles for different tastes, with traditional New Orleans Jazz performed in the Refectory and Modern Jazz in the Terrace Room.

Entry for the Jazz Club from the Students’ Union Handbook, 1958-59 [Univ. Coll. per LF 789.8U6]

Entry for the Jazz Club from the Students’ Union Handbook, 1958-59 [Univ. Coll. per LF 789.8U6]

At the same time, the University was producing a number of its own jazz bands, including Group One, an eight piece band who won the Southern Semi-Finals of the International University Jazz Festival competition in 1960, and the Dudley Hyams Quintet and Apex Jazzmen, who took first and second place in the Regional Semi-Finals at Bristol in 1962.

‘SUJC plays Home and Away’, recordings of the Southampton University

‘SUJC plays Home and Away’, recordings of the Southampton University
Jazz Club, 1960 [MS 224/25 A870]. The record contains performances
by the University jazz bands Group One and Apex Jazzmen.

Concerning the impact of the Jazz Club, a report by the President of the Students’ Union from 1960-1 reads:

“Many societies suffered undeservedly from bad attendance. No one knows the reason for this, but one explanation might be the extraordinary success of the Friday night Jazz Club. Easily the most popular activity with an average of five hundred a week ‘dancing’ around the Refectory and adjoining rooms. Nearly eight hundred sat down in the Refectory for the semi-finals of the Inter-University Jazz Competition in February. The three Southampton bands – Group One, Epic and Apex – competed against bands from Imperial College, Queen Mary, Reading and Oxford. Taking last turn, Group One played themselves brilliantly into first place.” [Report of the Proceedings of the University, 1960-61 Univ. Coll. LF 786.4]

By the early 1960s, jazz had established itself as an integral part of the student social scene with nearly all dances and socials featuring jazz groups, either as support or as the main attraction. The programme for the first University of Southampton Arts Festival in 1961 lists a series of jazz performances alongside a lecture on the place of jazz among the arts.

Today’s University Jazz scene
While the British jazz scene continued to develop and innovate throughout the 1960s, and beyond, there was a significant decline in the popularity of jazz at the University by the middle part of the decade. However, this did not mark the end of the vibrant music scene which continued into the 1960s and 1970s with a range of big names in rock performing at Southampton.

The 1970s also saw a major development in live music at the University with the construction of the Turner Sims Concert Hall. Since opening it has acted as a venue for concerts by an array of professional musicians as well as for masterclasses and teaching activities. Performances cover a range of musical genres, including classical, folk and jazz. Upcoming jazz performances include Courtney Pine and Omar. In the 80’s Pine was one of the first black British jazz artists to make a serious mark on the jazz scene. For further details and to find out about other upcoming performances, visit the Turner Sims website.

There are now a wide range of jazz and other music orientated groups and events at the University. Learn more about these on the Arts at University of Southampton website.

For more information on the history of music and the arts at the University be sure to check out our online exhibition.

Exploring Arts in the Archive

A reminder that next week, on Wednesday, 14 December, Special Collections will be hosting an open afternoon focusing on music, theatre and the visual arts, allowing visitors the opportunity to view material from the collections and meet the curators.

The afternoon will conclude with a talk by Eloise Rose from the John Hansard Gallery.

John Hansard Gallery

John Hansard Gallery

This event will mark the exciting range of arts related activities taking place at the University and across the city, including: the launch of the new Arts at University of Southampton website; the coming of British Art Show 8 to the John Hansard Gallery and Southampton City Art Gallery; and the opening of Studio 144, Southampton’s new arts complex in Guildhall Square.

Space is limited. To reserve a place, please go to:
https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/exploring-arts-in-the-archives-tickets-29214641780

Programme:

1615-1715: Opportunity to view resources from the Special Collections: Archives and Manuscripts reading room, Level 4, Hartley Library

1730-1800: Talk by Eloise Rose: Library Conference Room, Level 4, Hartley Library

Turner Sims Concert Hall

Turner Sims Concert Hall

We will also be launching our ‘Arts in the Archives’ online exhibition which will draw on material from the archives to look at some of the key developments in the history the arts at the University.

Programme for the Nuffield Theatre

Programme for the Nuffield Theatre

To view further samples of images from the exhibition, visit our Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/hartleyspecialcolls/

Update on exhibitions and events

This week’s blog post looks at current and upcoming events taking place in Special Collections.

Archive Senses
We’re happy to announce that Archives Senses, the current exhibition in the Hartley Library’s Level 4 Gallery, will continue for an extended run. The exhibition looks at Archives as a part of the wide-ranging conversation around materiality, and emphasises the continuing importance of the archive object — not just as a less accessible alternative to the digital object as sometimes perceived, but as a critical resource that runs alongside and underpins the digital.

Wellington papers - iron gall ink corrosion to paper

Wellington papers – iron gall ink corrosion to paper

The exhibition represents the material nature of archives through themed sets of images of such things as envelopes and containers, folds and creases, marks and annotations, the nature of ink and paper — and the space and the labour of the archive. There are also some rather unexpected archive objects.

Ceiling ducting for air-conditioning

Ceiling ducting for air-conditioning

WSA Professor Jussi Parikka has written an introductory wall text:

archive-senses-introductory-text

If you have not yet had a chance to visit be sure to drop by. For more images from the exhibition please visit the Level 4 Gallery blog at:
https://level4gallery.wordpress.com/current-exhibition/archive-senses/


Exploring Arts in the Archives
Special Collections will be continuing its current run of Explore Your Archives events on Wednesday, 14 December 2016, with an open afternoon focusing on music, theatre and the visual arts. The afternoon will provide an opportunity to view material from the collections and meet the curators. It will also include a talk by Eloise Rose from the John Hansard Gallery.

arts-archives

Space is limited. To reserve a place please go to:
https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/exploring-arts-in-the-archives-tickets-29214641780

Visitors at the Exploring the Wellington Archive event

Visitors at the Exploring the Wellington Archive event

We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who attended our previous sessions. It’s been great meeting you all and we hope to see you in Archives again soon!


Reopening of the Special Collections Gallery
Due to the on-going building project taking place in the Hartley Library, the Special Collection Gallery has been closed since May 2016. We are glad to announce that the Gallery will be reopening in the New Year!

Special Collections Gallery, Level 4 of the Hartley Library

Special Collections Gallery, Level 4 of the Hartley Library

Details of forthcoming exhibitions and events will be posted in due course. Be sure to keep an eye on the blog and check our Events calendar and Facebook page for further updates and announcements.

Upcoming Explore Your Archive events


Following the success of our recent Exploring the Wellington Archive event, Special Collections will be hosting two more open afternoons as part of our current series of Explore Your Archive drop-in sessions.

cook_pstd_3321

Exploring health and welfare resource in the Special Collections
On Wednesday 16 November 2016, Special Collections will be hosting an open afternoon focusing on health and welfare, allowing visitors the opportunity to view material from the collections and meet the curators.

The afternoon will include a talk by Dr Brenda Phillips discussing her research on the Royal Victoria Hospital at Netley.

Space is limited. To reserve a place, please go to:
https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/exploring-health-and-welfare-resources-in-the-special-collections-tickets-29018256386

Programme:
1600-1715: Opportunity to view resources from the Special Collections: Archives and Manuscripts reading room, Level 4, Hartley Library

1730-1800: Talk by Dr Brenda Phillips: Library Conference Room, Level 4, Hartley Library


ms310_61_1_a4023_art-studio

Exploring Arts in the Archives
On Wednesday, 14 December 2016, Special Collections will be hosting an open afternoon focusing on music, theatre and the visual arts, allowing visitors the opportunity to view material from the collections and meet the curators.

The afternoon will conclude with a talk by Eloise Rose from the John Hansard Gallery.

This event will mark the exciting range of arts related activities taking place at the University and across the city, including: the launch of the new Arts at University of Southampton website; the coming of British Art Show 8 to the John Hansard Gallery and Southampton City Art Gallery; and the opening of Studio 144, Southampton’s new arts complex in Guildhall Square.

Space is limited. To reserve a place, please go to:
https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/exploring-arts-in-the-archives-tickets-29214641780

Programme:
1615-1715: Opportunity to view resources from the Special Collections: Archives and Manuscripts reading room, Level 4, Hartley Library

1730-1800: Talk by Eloise Rose: Library Conference Room, Level 4, Hartley Library

During the same week we will be launching our ‘Arts in the Archives’ online exhibition which will draw on material from the archives to look at some of the key developments in the history the arts at the University.

To view samples of images from the exhibition, visit our Facebook page at:
https://www.facebook.com/hartleyspecialcolls/

Arts in the Archives

Starting next week we will be posting images from our upcoming online exhibition titled ‘Arts in the Archives’ on our Facebook page.

Violins made by University College, Southampton students, c. 1930 [MS 1 Phot/22/2/9]

Violins made by University College, Southampton students, c. 1930 [MS 1 Phot/22/2/9]

The online exhibition, set to go live in December, will draw on material from the Archives to look at some of the key developments in the history the arts at the University, focusing specifically on music, theatre and the visual arts. It will also highlight a number of pieces of artwork that tie in with the history of the University and the development of its Archive and manuscript collections.

The exhibition will mark the exciting range of arts related activities taking place at the University and across the city over the coming months, including: the launch of the new Arts at University of Southampton website; the coming of British Art Show 8 to the John Hansard Gallery and Southampton City Art Gallery; and the opening of Studio 144, Southampton’s new arts complex in Guildhall Square.

Along with the online exhibition, Special Collections will be hosting an open afternoon in early December inviting visitors to view a range of arts related material from the manuscript and printed collections. More details are to follow!

Level 4 Gallery, Hartley Library

Level 4 Gallery, Hartley Library

To tie in with the themes of British Art Show 8, the Level 4 Gallery in the Hartley Library will be hosting an exhibition titled ‘Archive Senses’, opening on 6 October. Further details will be posted on the Level 4 Gallery blog.

To follow us on Facebook and view images from the upcoming online exhibition visit:
https://www.facebook.com/hartleyspecialcolls/

To view our other online exhibitions and for details of our upcoming events visit:
http://www.southampton.ac.uk/archives/exhibitions/index.page

For more information on British Art Show 8 visit:
http://britishartshow8.com/

For more information on Arts at the University of Southampton visit:
http://www.southampton.ac.uk/uni-life/arts.page

Wellington and Waterloo: June 2015 Events

As the bicentenary of the Battle of Waterloo approaches, we are happy to announce a number of activities taking place in June to mark the occasion.

Wellington and Waterloo MOOC – from Monday 8 June
Wellington and the Battle of Waterloo MOOC
We would be delighted if you could join us to discover more about the Duke of Wellington and the Battle of Waterloo on a free Massive Online Open Course (MOOC) from 8 June.

Over three weeks, the course will cover events from the French Revolution to the decisive battle that finally defeated Napoleon, the significance of the conflict, the ways in which it changed Europe forever and how the battle and its heroes have been commemorated. Chris Woolgar and Karen Robson will use the Wellington Archive at the University of Southampton to provide an insight into these momentous events from the early nineteenth century.

To enrol go to: https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/wellington-and-waterloo/


Waterloo Day Events – Thursday 18 June
Waterloo Day
There will be a special event at the Hartley Library, University of Southampton, on the afternoon of 18 June, Waterloo Day. Visitors are invited to meet the curators of the current Special Collections exhibition on Wellington and Waterloo. There will also be a lecture on Wellington and the writing of the Waterloo Despatch by Professor Chris Woolgar. Tea and cake will follow.

To sign up for this free event, please use EventBrite.


Battle of Waterloo, 200th Anniversary Concert – Saturday 13 June
Waterloo Concert
Students from the Music Department come together at the end of the academic year to celebrate the Battle of Waterloo. The programme will include the overture to Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro, the first movement of the Eroica symphony, and Beethoven’s Wellington Victory. It will also feature David Owen Norris performing The Siege of Badajoz by Samuel Wesley, and tenor soloist Peter James Bridgwood.

Free admission with donations in aid of the Friends of St. Michael’s.

For more information go to:
http://www.southampton.ac.uk/music/news/events/2015/06/200th-anniversary-of-the-battle-of-waterloo.page

Tour of the exhibition ‘Music hath Charms’: the musical life of the University

To mark the final week of the current exhibition in the Special Collections Gallery, we take a brief tour of the gallery and explore the musical life of the University!

On entering the gallery, the first case introduces us to music as an academic discipline, and includes a score for “Sleep, my little one!” by George Leake, who became the first Professor of Music in 1920 and saw the department given faculty status in 1924. Across from this we find a score commemorating the battle of Waterloo, which not only represents the select range of special collections relating to music held by the University, but also ties in with one of the University’s most prominent manuscript collections, the Wellington Papers! A selection of other material in the case reflects student engagement with music, including photographs of master classes for music students using the Turner Sims Concert Hall.

Score for Beethoven’s Symphony no.9 with annotations by Mahler - MS 22 (M 302.B4): 73-032425

Score for Beethoven’s Symphony no.9 with annotations by Mahler – MS 22 (M 302.B4): 73-032425

Moving on to the second case we are introduced to what is probably the most significant of the music manuscript collections held by the University, the conducting scores of Gustav Mahler. As is noted in the exhibition catalogue, like many conductors of his era, Mahler made alterations to scores in his repertoire, with the scores on display bearing his annotations made in the process of conducting, as with the Beethoven scores, or whilst reworking his own compositions.

Next we move on to one of the real standout features of the exhibition in the form of a series of beautifully shot black and white photographs by John Garfield on display in case three. The case extends along the back wall of the gallery with the photographs showcasing a range of performances at the Turner Sims Concert Hall from the past two decades.

Photograph of the Southampton University Operatic Society’s production of The Mikado, 3-6 February 1960 - MS 1 UNI/7/198/1

Photograph of the Southampton University Operatic Society’s production of The Mikado, 3-6 February 1960 – MS 1 UNI/7/198/1

Case four then draws us into the world of light opera and, in particular, the world of Gilbert and Sullivan! The photographs and pamphlets on display are drawn from performances by three operatic societies, the Choral and Orchestral Society (from the 1930s); the Southampton University Operatic Society (from the 1960s); and the Southampton Operatic Society (from the 1970s and 1980s). Moving around to the opposite side of the case, we find a range of college songs and student song books associated with the University during its previous incarnations as Hartley University College (1902-14) and University College Southampton (1914-52). The songs are primarily light heart compositions reflecting aspects of student life at the University, with a number of transcriptions available in the exhibition catalogue.

The final part of the exhibition focuses on the vibrant music scene at the University from the 1950s to the 1970s, specifically in the form of jazz and rock. Case five, together with an accompanying screen display, provides a series of articles and reviews from a range of student publications covering this golden era of live music.  While the early 1960s saw the Southampton University Jazz Club emerge as the University’s biggest student society, largely thanks to weekly live sessions, both the 1960s and 1970s brought a range of performances by the likes of Manfred Mann, T-Rex, Pink Floyd, Deep Purple, The Velvet Underground, Captain Beefheart and Led Zepplin. A particularly fun feature of this part of the exhibition is the audio recording accompanying the screen display, which provides the opportunity to listen to recordings by the University’s own jazz bands, Group One and Apex Jazzmen, originally recorded in 1960.

The areas covered in the exhibition only provide snapshots of the dynamic musical life of the University. Equally, the exhibition only provides a glimpse of the range of music related resources held by the Special Collections Division which consist not only of music sheets and scores, but also material relating to the history of music, the University’s music societies, acoustics and architecture, and cantorial music.

The exhibition runs until Friday 20 March, with a special opening on Saturday 21 March 12pm-4pm, in conjunction with Beethovathon at the Turner Sims Concert Hall.

Exhibition: ‘Music hath Charms’: the musical life of the University

musichathcharms
Music as an academic subject has formed a part of university life since the early days of the Institution, growing from a small department in the early part of the twentieth century to the international faculty of today. Since the inception of the Hartley Institution in 1862, the University Library Special Collections has acquired a select range of collections relating to music that support research activities: the most significant manuscript collection probably being that of the conducting scores of Gustav Mahler.

Musical activities, particularly in terms of social events and performances, also have been a regular fixture of University life. Groups such as the Southampton Operatic Society and the Choral and Orchestral Society have performed shows at the University for decades, while the Student Union has been the hub of musical entertainment and social events, with many major bands and performers appearing. The construction of the Turner Sims Concert Hall on campus in the 1970s added a further dimension to the musical life of the University, providing a purpose built performance space for professional concerts as well as for teaching.

Drawing on the Special Collections, this exhibition reflects academic study and the social scene, from rock and jazz to classical, from amateur to professional.

The exhibition runs from 16 February to 20 March 2015. There will be a special opening on Saturday 21 March 12pm-4pm, in conjunction with Beethovathon at the Turner Sims Concert Hall.

A private view and drinks reception will take place on Thursday 26 February 5pm-7pm.  All are welcome.

Where to find the Gallery:
The Special Collections Gallery is situated on Level 4 of the Hartley Library, University of Southampton. The Library is on the east side of the University Road, on the University’s Highfield campus.

Opening hours:
During exhibitions the Special Collections Gallery is open to the public Monday to Friday 1000 to 1600. Admission is free. Visitors may be asked for proof of identity by Library Reception staff.