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HomeSearchGetRecordCollection of programmes: Henry Wood (1898-1944)

Collection Description

Collection Title
Collection of programmes: Henry Wood (1898-1944)
Unique Identifier
A collection of programmes for concerts conducted by Sir Henry Wood given at various venues in England between 1898 and 1944, held loosely and divided into 2 parcels as listed below.

Parcel 1
A collection of prospectuses with programmes for the London Promenade Concerts given in 1911 and from 1934 to 1944 (seasons 17 and 40-50) at the Queen's Hall (1911 and 1934–40) and Royal Albert Hall, London (1941–44), with a miscellaneous selection of programmes for 5 performances given by Henry Wood at venues in Manchester, Southport and London between 1937 and 1941.

1. Promenade Concerts
12 August–21 October 1911; 11 August–6 October 1934; 10 August–5 October 1935; 8 August–3 October 1936; 7 August–2 October 1937; 6 August–1 October 1938 (2 copies); 12 August–7 October 1939 (3 copies); 10 August–5 October 1940 ('Sir Henry Wood's 46th and Farewell Seaosn', 3 copies); 12 July–23 August 1941 (5 copies); 25 July–22 August 1942 (5 copies); 19 June–21 August 1943 (4 copies); and 10 June–12 August 1944 (2 copies).

Performances were given each night, except Sunday and, from 1929, were presented by the BBC. Each season included a large number of concerts devoted to the music of a single composer. Each concert included at least one vocal or instrumental soloist (listed in the prospectuses) and there were a significant number of first performances.

The 1911 season of performances was given by the Queen's Hall Orchestra. From 1934 to 1940, the concerts were given by the BBC Symphony Orchestra led by Charles Woodhouse (1934 and 1935), Marie Wilson (1936) and Paul Beard (1937–39), with Berkeley Mason (organ/accompanist). From 1941, two orchestras were typically listed for each season, being the London Symphony Orchestra led by George Stratton (1940, 1941, 1944), the London Philharmonic Orchestra led by Jean Pougnet (1942–44) and the BBC Symphony Orchestra led by Paul Beard (1942–44).

All concerts were given under the direction of Sir Henry Wood, with Basil Cameron and Sir Adrian Boult listed as 'associate conductors' from 1941 and 1942 respectively.

From 1938 onwards many of the documents include handwritten annotations which record changes to the printed programmes. Those to the prospectuses for 1939 record that the series came to an enforced close on 1 September 1939. Those for 1940 initially appear to suggest that this season was similarly curtailed (ending on 7 September) but markings for the remaining concerts would suggest otherwise. Documents for the seasons 1941–43 carry a range of numerical annotations which would appear to provide detailed information regarding the timings of certain works, the number of people attending each concert, and the financial takings for the season. This information is also provided on separate sheets for the 1941 and 1942 seasons. Annotations to the prospectus for 1942 record which portions of the concert were broadcast, and indicate whether this was heard on the Home or Overseas service.

The prospectus for 1938 begins with an essay by Rosa Newmarch entitled 'Sir Henry J. Wood’s Jubilee Year' whilst that for 1943 includes an essay by C.B. Rees entitled 'The Forty-Ninth Chapter of a Great Story'. Held with the prospectus for 1940 is an individual programme (with historical and analytical notes) for a Brahms concert given with Ida Haendel (violin) on 20 August 1940.

2. Miscellaneous performances
16 November 1937 [Southport]: Southport Orchestral Society 51st season no. 1, with Clifford Curzon (piano) and Sir Henry Wood (guest conductor) (with historical and descriptive notes by F.W. Dickerson, a photograph of Wood, lists of the committee members and Subscribers to the concert and a list of the orchestral ensemble).

12 November 1939, Paramount Theatre, Oxford Street, Manchester: Hallé Concert Society 82nd season no. 4, given by the Hallé Orchestra, including Walton, Suite No. 2 'Façade', conducted by the composer (with historical and analytical notes by Mr Alfred Barker, projected timings for each work, a list of the committee members of the Society and a list of the orchestral ensemble). Also held is a prospectus for the 83rd season of concerts, given between 20 October 1940 and 16 March 1941 at the Odeon Theatre, Oxford Street, Manchester under the direction of Malcolm Sargent, Sir Henry Wood, Basil Cameron and Leslie Heward. This document includes a full set of programmes, a statement regarding tickets and a detailed record of the vocal and instrumental soloists engaged.

10 February 1940, Queen's Hall, Langham Place: London Symphony Orchestra 34th season, including Vaughan Williams, Serenade to Music (arranged for orchestra, first performance) (with introductory, historical and analytical notes and a list of the orchestral ensemble).

5 October and 2 November 1941, Royal Albert Hall: Harold Holt Sunday Concerts given by the London Philharmonic Orchestra with Ida Haendel (violin, 5 October) and Pouishnoff (piano, 2 November) (with historical and analytical notes by Edwin Evans). There is a handwritten annotation on the front of the first of these documents which reads: 'Henry told H.H. to alter the title to H. H. Sunday Concerts'.

This parcel also includes a document entitled 'The Story of Wagner's "Parsifal" with Notes on the Poem, and the Music by Richard Northcott, as performed at the London Coliseum with an augmented orchestra conducted by Sir Henry J. Wood [1913]'. This includes historical and analytical notes on the work (with musical examples) and illustrations of 'Tableaux from Wagner's "Parsifal", specially designed by Byam Shaw'. There is also a reproduction of the last portrait of Wagner and photographs of Henry Wood and of the theatre at Bayreuth.

Parcel 2 (1898 and 1938)
24 November 1898, Windsor Castle: royal command performance give by Mr Robert Newman's Queens Hall Orchestra, being a concert of nineteenth-century orchestral repertory, the majority of it by Wagner (with a complete list of the orchestral ensemble). This document includes Special Notes providing the orchestra with reminders regarding protocol and a list of possible encores.

5 October 1938, Royal Albert Hall: Henry Wood Jubilee Concert, including R. Vaughan Williams, New Ode for 16 Solo Singers and Orchestra (written for the occasion) and Rachmaninoff, Piano Concerto no. 2 (played by the composer). The programme cites the involvement of the following performers: Isobel Baillie, Stiles-Allen, Elsie Suddaby and Eva Turner (soprano), Margaret Balfour, Muriel Brunskill, Astra Desmond and Mary Jarred (alto), Parry Jones, Heddle Nash, Frank Titterton and Walter Widdop (tenor) and Norman Allin, Keith Falkner, Roy Henderson and Harold Williams (baritone/bass) the BBC Symphony Orchestra (led by Paul Beard), London Symphony Orchestra (led by W.H. Reed and George Stratton), London Philharmonic Orchestra (led by David McCallum) and the Queen's Hall Orchestra (led by George Stratton), the BBC Choral Society and the Philharmonic Choir and Dr Stanley Marchant, Arnold Greir and Berkeley Mason (organ). In addition to the words for the vocal pieces, this document includes photographs of Henry Wood, Ralph Vaughan Williams and all of the principal performers. There is also a list of the committee members and Patrons for the concert. Held with this document are two different handbills for the performance. The first is single sided and contains only the programme. The second is double sided and also provides detailed information regarding the performers.
Date range of collection
1898 - 1944
Accumulation Dates
Suggested Audience
Not Specific

Location Details

British Library
The British Library St Pancras ,96 Euston Road London NW1 2DB
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Associated Collection(s)
Cardif University (Prifysgol Caerdydd)Royal College of Music LondonMuseums, Libraries and Archives Council