Music Manuscripts: Series 8: Part 1: Gerald Coke Handel: Manuscripts of Individual Works
About this Collection
Introduction; MusicManuscripts from the Great English Collections: Series 8: The Gerald CokeHandel Collection; Parts 1-3
Harvester Microform (now Primary Source Microfilm, animprint of Thomson/Gale) is proud to present this outstanding privatemanuscript collection in our Series MusicManuscripts in Major Private Collections. The collection of Mr. Gerald Cokeis divided into three parts. Part One covers the manuscripts of individualworks, Part Two covers composite volumes and selected Libretti, printed music,non-musical manuscripts, pamphlets and broadsheets and programmes andcatalogues, and Part Three contains the recently acquired ShaftesburyManuscripts and three manuscripts bought while filming was in progress, scoresof Athalia; Messiah; and Judas Maccabaeus, and 2photocopies of LAllegro and Judas Maccabaeus.
This guide gives brief descriptions of each item based onthe typescript catalogue maintained with the collection, and lists eachmanuscript in alphabetical order.
This typescript catalogue is reproduced in full, in itsoriginal order, at the start of Reel One. However, the manuscripts are filmedalphabetically by title first for individual scores, and then for compositevolumes. The Shaftesbury Manuscripts are filmed separately, i.e. out of theirtypescript catalogue order also. These typescript catalogue entries give moredetailed information than is to be found in the guide, and each entry istherefore reproduced as the target before each manuscript of film. These entriesshould be consulted for detailed information about the provenance, copyists,contents and other aspects of the manuscripts.
The Nature of theGuide
The printed guide is intended to help the researcher tolocate all items of interest quickly and easily. It lists the items in filmorder, numbered accordingly, and provides cross-references to works, or partsof works (including arrangements) filmed with the miscellanies, or in theShaftesbury Collection. (Manuscripts 154-215). It should be noted that a numberof pieces have not been firmly identified or attributed, and the listing,cross-references and index of composers are therefore not comprehensive ordefinitive. The format and dates given in the listings are intended to helpdistinguish between rather than conclusively identify manuscripts.Contemporary is applied to manuscripts which are roughly contemporary withthe composition and early performances of the work concerned (i.e.c.1720-1760).
Specific dates are taken from comments and signatures on themanuscripts, and therefore may not identify the precise year in which amanuscript was produced.
Works which are unbound (such a sets of instrumental parts),or which are divided into more than one volume (such as the three parts of Messiah),are generally given additional numbers in brackets to identify the distinctparts or volumes.
An index to composers whose work appears in the compositevolumes in Part Two appears at the end of the guide.
The Shaftesbury Manuscripts still bear their old numbersfrom the Earl of Shaftesburys Library, these taken the form of a capitalletter and number, e.g. E.14. These numbers appear in the actual volumes, andare recorded both in Mr. Cookes catalogue and our guide entries, as an extraaid to identification.
Harvester Microform are indebted to Mr. Gerald Coke, forallowing us to make his unique library available to scholars worldwide and toMr. Winton Dean, for his Introduction. We must also thank Anthony Hicks andProfessor Roger Bray for their expert advice in the preparation of the guide.
Of the important Handel collections now or until recently inprivate hands, Mr. Gerald Cokes is unique in having been formed in moderntimes. It was begun before the war, and is still being enlarged; the mostnotable of many recent acquisitions is the large group of manuscript scoresbelonging to the Earl of Shaftesbury, rediscovered only a few years ago.
The Coke Collection has little autographmaterial--inevitably, since nearly all the autographs of Handels music are inthe British Library or the Fitzwilliam Museum. It does contain two letters fromHandel to his friend and librettist Charles Jennens and one of the two copiesof Handels will; and more than one of the music manuscripts has been found tocarry corrections or additions in the composers hand. The manuscripts, many ofthem written by Handels copyists, are a central feature of the collection.Among them are the earliest surviving copies of the operas Amadigi, ofwhich the autograph is lost, and Teseo, of which only a few autographpages remain. The Teseo copy antedates the first performance of theopera. Several manuscripts contain otherwise unknown or unpublished music,including a group of arias from Agrippina with many variant readingscopied in Venice at the time of the first production early in 1710. Others havecontemporary vocal ornamentation in the arias, an important source for thispractice. There are early keyboard arrangements known to have been made byHandel himself and a number of contemporary instrumental parts, though not asmany as in the Newman Flower Collection at Manchester.
The Shaftesbury Manuscripts, copied by J.C. Smith and hisassociates for Handels friend the fourth Earl of Shaftesbury and dating fromabout 1737 onwards, comprise full scores of nearly all the oratorios, odes andanthems, many operas and cantatas, and a number of instrumental concertos. Theyinclude the only known copy of the complete Act III of Rodrigo (1707)and one early aria not known to exist elsewhere.
Among the non-musical manuscripts are a full account of atour of England in 1728 by a Frenchman, Pierre Jacques Fougeroux, withdescriptions of Handels opera performances in that year, and the substantialcorrespondence between Jennens and the classical scholar Edward Holdsworth, whowas commissioned to collect manuscript music on the continent. Some of thesevolumes passed into Handels hands, and the correspondence contains manyinteresting references to him.
The large collection of printed music includes nearly allfirst and early editions of Handels works. Many are duplicated elsewhere, buta few are unique. Early editions of Messiah are particularly wellrepresented. The printed librettos, an important guide to what was performed,include nearly all first editions of the operas and oratorios and many latereditions for revivals, which are often rarer since fewer were printed. Thereare also many rare pamphlets, programmes, sale catalogues and othermiscellaneous material, which sometimes throw an oblique and unexpected lighton Handels life and work.
The exceptional richness of the collection is a measure ofMr. Cokes flair and assiduity as a collector. The fact that it has always beenopen to serious scholars equally reflects his generosity.