Music Manuscripts: Series 2: Part 1: St. Michael’s College, Tenbury: Unpublished English and Continental Mss. before 1650
About this Collection
Introduction: Music Manuscripts from the Great EnglishCollections: Series 2: The Music Collection of St. Michael's College, Tenbury:Parts 1-5
Harvester Microform (now Primary Source Microfilm, animprint of Thomson/Gale) are proud to continue their publication of musicmanuscript collections with Series Two, which presents the magnificentcollection of St. Michaels College, Tenbury.
The collection of St. Michels College, Tenbury, now housedat the Bodleian Library, was gathered by the great 19th century collector, theRev. Sir Frederick Ouseley. It has been divided into five parts. Part Oneconsists of English and Continental music manuscripts before 1650, Part Two ofEnglish music manuscripts, 1650-1800, Parts Three and Four of Continental musicmanuscripts of the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, and Part Five containsEnglish music manuscripts of the 19th century.
The Catalogue of Manuscripts in the Library of St.Michaels College, compiled by E.H. Fellowes and first published in 1934,has been reproduced in full on the first reel, with the relevant sections ofthe catalogue appearing again on subsequent reels. It has been completelyrevised and is itself a major new contribution to music scholarship.
Under the watchful eye of Roger Bray we must againacknowledge the care and attention of Mavis Thomas at all stages in thepreparation of this Listing and Guide.
The manuscript collection of St. Michaels College, Tenburywas almost entirely the achievement of one man, the founder of St. Michaels,the Rev. Professor Sir Frederick Gore Ouseley, Bart. Ouseley is himself a majorfigure in Victorian music, as composer, bibliophile, scholar, and practicalmusician. He was Professor of Music at Oxford from 1855 until his death in1889, and founded St. Michaels College in 1854 as a collegiate societymaintaining a regular chapel choir, in the hope that the standards of churchmusic would be improved and restored following the decline which musicians suchas S.S. Wesley had done much to identify. The collection of manuscripts whichOuseley managed to acquire, and which he placed in the library, reflects notonly his own musical taste, but also the continuing interest which Englishmusicians showed for the music of previous generations, particularly churchmusic, a notable feature also of Dean Aldrichs library at Christ Church,Oxford, which dates from the beginning of the previous century. In each casethe later musicians were interested to transcribe and study the earlier music, thoughit does seem that the habit common in Aldrichs time of arranging and adaptingmusic had become much less noticeable by the time of Ouseley. Certainly thesecollectors served their generation (and ours) very well by preserving largenumbers of manuscripts.
The collection is in three main parts: English music of the16th, 17th, and 18th centuries, especially church music; Continental music(mainly Italian) of (mainly) the 18th century; and music of Ouseleys own time,including much by him.
There are some extremely important manuscripts in the firstgroup, notably the Batten organ-book (MS 791), several sets of part-books madein England by Catholic recusants in the late Tudor and early Stuart periods(e.g. MSS 341-344, 354-358, 389 for predominantly English music, some of itfrom the mid-16th century, and MSS 349-353, 359-363, 369-373, 374-378 and379-384 for Continental motets, though music by Byrd seems to have been a
Manuscripts of particular note in the Italian group includea large number of Paisiello operas, and also operas, oratorios, and churchmusic by many of the leading Italian composers of the 18th century includingAlessandro Scarlatti, J.C. Bach, Hasse, Cimarosa, Pergolesi, Marcello, Perez,and Jommelli. The presence of such works in this collection (as in othercollections ranging from Aldrichs, mentioned above, to those of latercollectors now housed in the British Library or the Royal College of Music), isa clear indication of the continuing influence of Italian music and theubiquity of manuscripts from the Italian manuscript-copying-houses.
Music of the Victorian period is represented by a largecollection of Ouseleys own works, and of his transcriptions of earlier music,a task undertaken partly out of sheer interest, but partly as an aid to thepreparation of the lectures which he gave as Professor at Oxford. There arealso important sources for Crotch (his oratorios The Captivity of Judahand Palestine) and various others such as Vincent Novello, S.S. Wesley,Stainer, Prout, and Sterndale Bennett.
The Tenbury collection includes autograph material byArnold, Boyce, Blow, Croft, Cooke, Burney, P. Hayes, Simpson, Travers, and S.Wesley, and possibly Purcell, in addition to autograph annotations by Handel inthe copy of Myessiah. Amongst the Continental manuscripts are autographsby Pachelbel, Dumont, Galuppi, Contumacci, possibly Pergolesi and Colonna, andseveral sources copied by Abbe Santini. In the 19th century group we findautographs by Bishop, Spofforth, Prout, Pratt, Stainer, Jebb, and of courseOuseley himself.
Most of the Tenbury manuscripts are now housed at theBodleian Library, Oxford.
I should like to acknowledge the advice and wisdom of theHonorary Librarian of St. Michaels, Dr. Watkins Shaw, in the selection ofmanuscripts to be filmed. Thanks are due once again to Rosalie Warburton forkeeping the Lancaster end of the operation working smoothly. This Guide islargely the work of Mavis Thomas of the Harvester office whose work I alsoacknowledge with warm appreciation.
Roger Bray, Lancaster