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HomeSearchGetRecordHumphrey Searle Collection (1936-58)

Collection Description

Collection Title
Humphrey Searle Collection (1936-58)
Unique Identifier
Add. 71832
A collection of handbills and programmes for concerts including music by the English composer Humphrey Searle (1915-82), given at various venues in the United Kingdom, Germany and Switzerland between 1936 and 1958, arranged in a largely chronologically order as the first of three volumes of concert programmes within the Humphrey Searle Collection.

This volume also includes four programmes/programme fragments, for which no venue can be identified.

Items are listed here alphabetically by venue, divided as follows:
1. London venues
2. Other venues in the United Kingdom
3. German venues
4. Unknown venues

1. London venues
- Academy Hall, 163 Oxford Street
2 March [1948]: Institute of Contemporary Arts 2nd Concert of Contemporary Chamber Music, given by Frederick Grinke (violin), Watson Forbes (viola), Alec Whittaker (oboe), Frederick Thurston (clarinet) and John Alexandra (bassoon). All of the works presented in this concert were being performed for the first time, including Searle, Quartet for Violin, Viola, Clarinet and Bassoon, op. 12.

- Broadcasting House, Concert Hall
17 May [1949]: London Contemporary Music Centre, including the first performances of the following works: Wilfrid Mellers, Two Motets in Diem Pacis, for chorus and brass; Constant Lambert, Trois Pièces Nègres sur les Touches Blanches, for piano duet; and Searle, Gold Coast Costumes (Poem by Edith Sitwell), for Speakers, Male Chorus, Chamber Orchestra, Two Pianos and Percussion.

- Chelsea Town Hall
13 May 1947: Leighton Lucas Orchestra with Frederick Thurston, conducted by Lucas (with historical and descriptive notes).

- French Church, Leicester Place, Leicester Square
12 July 1956: Concert Spirituel given by the Tension Music Club as part of the Soho Fair 1956, with the Dorian Singers, the Elizabethan Singers, the London Bach Society and the Morley College Choir, and Alan Harverson (organ) (with historical and descriptive notes).

- Kensington, Town Hall
31 May [1949]: London Symphony Orchestra chamber ensemble.

- M.M. Club, 14 Argyll Street
25 February 1940: An Informal Concert of Chamber Music by Humphrey Searle, given by John McKenna (tenor), Daphne Blackwall (harpsichord/piano), Trude Huttenbach (violin) and Otto Huttenbach (cello) with the Macnaghten Quartet (double-sided handbill).

- Morley College: Holst Room
27 November 1954: Morley College Concert given by the Wind Ensemble (directed by Peter Racine Fricker), Madrigal Choir (directed by John Gardner) and the String Orchestra, directed by Peter Racine Fricker and Humphrey Searle (single-sided programme).

- Odeon Cinema, Leicester Square
18 November 1958: Antarctic Crossing (premiere), with music composed by Humphrey Searle.

- Palace Theatre
16 November 1952: London Symphony Orchestra with Edith Sitwell and Dylan Thomas (speakers) and Gordon Watson (piano), conducted by Robert Irving and Humphrey Searle, including the first performance of Searle, The Shadow of Cain (with words, historical and analytical programme notes by Richard Gorer, a list of the orchestral ensemble and a photograph of Searle). This document also includes 'A Note on The Shadow of Cain' by the author of the poem, Edith Sitwell.

- Queen Mary Hall
4 May 1946: Ninth Experimental Rehearsal of new orchestral works, presented by the Committee for the Promotion of New Music and given by a section of the London International Orchestra, conducted by Walter Goehr (Invitation with programme).

- Queensbury Place, South Kensington
21 February 1958: Heure Musicale given by Margaret Kitchen (piano) and Amaryllis Fleming (cello) and entitled Musiciens Anglais et Francais d'Aujourd'hui, including the first performance of Searle, Suite, op. 29.

- R.B.A. Galleries, Suffolk Street, Pall Mall
24 April 1951: London Contemporary Music Centre concert no. 5 (29th season), including the first London performances of: Iain Hamilton, Three Nocturnes for Clarinet and Piano; A. Schoenberg, Fantasia for Violin and Piano op. 47; and Denis Apivor, Concertante for Clarinet, Pianoforte and Percussion.

- Royal Albert Hall
6 November [1946]: Festival of Music: a tribute to British composers and musicians, given by the London Symphony Orchestra with members of the Goldsmiths' Choral Union, including Constant Lambert and R. Vaughan Williams conducting their own works (with historical and descriptive notes by Stephen Williams).
11 September 1947: Henry Wood Promenade Concert (43rd season), given by the BBC Symphony Orchestra, with Mewton-Wood (piano), conducted by Sir Adrian Boult (with historical and descriptive notes by Hubert Foss).
24 January [1947]: London Symphony Orchestra with Colin Horsley (piano), conducted by Charles Hambourg, including the first concert performance of Searle, Piano Concerto in D minor (with historical and descriptive notes and a list of the orchestral ensemble, 2 copies).
14 August 1956: Henry Wood Promenade Concert (62nd season), given by the BBC Symphony Orchestra, with Clive Lythgoe (piano), conducted by Sir Malcolm Sargent and John Hollingsworth, including the first public performance in London of Searle, Concerto No. 2 for Pianoforte and Orchestra (with historical and descriptive notes by Scott Goddard and a list of the orchestral ensemble). Bound into the programme are a number of newspaper cuttings offering reviews of the Searle work.

- Royal College of Music
4 February 1944: 2nd Experimental Rehearsal of new orchestral works, presented by the Committee for the Promotion of New Music and given by Gareth Morris (flute) and Franz Osborn (piano), with the London Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Constant Lambert (Invitation and programme including a list of the Committee members and a statement regarding the aims of the organization).

- Royal Festival Hall
21 and 22 November 1958: Hoffnung Interplanetary Music Festival 1958, being 'an extravagant evening of symphonic caricature devised by Gerard Hoffnung, aided and abetted by John Amis, Malcolm Arnold, Ernest Bean, Colin Graham, Ian Hunter, Lawrence Leonard, David McBain, Humphrey Searle and Eric Thompson, with Dame Edith Evans, the Hoffnung Festival Opera Company and Chorus, the Hoffnung (alias Morley College) Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Norman del Mar, the Band and Trumpeters of the Royal Military School of Music and the Dolmetsch Ensemble' (with biographical, historical and descriptive notes and caricatures of the performers and composers). The concert included world premieres of pieces by Francis Baines, Joseph Horovitz, Elizabeth Poston, Francis Chagrin, Malcolm Arnold, Matyas Seiber, P. Racince Fricker and Bruno Heinz Jaja. Also, the first British performance of a piece by Copland.

- Royal Opera House, Covent Garden
1, 5 and 13 March 1956 and 1 June 1956: Sadler's Wells Ballet, including Searle, Noctambules.

- St. James's Church, Piccadilly
9 June [1956]: Tension Music Club, given by the Elizabethan Singers with Alan Harverson (organ) (with historical and descriptive notes).

- Wigmore Hall
16 September 1943: Walter Goehr and Concert Ensemble, led by Maria Lidka, with Norman Lumsden (bass), presented by Musical Culture Limited (with historical and analytical notes, 2 copies).
26 April 1944: 8th Boosey and Hawkes Concerts (3rd season), given by the Boyd Neel String Orchestra (conducted by Boyd Neel), with Peter Pears (tenor) and Dennis Brain (horn), including the first performance of Humphrey Searle, Ostinato for String Orchestra and the first English performance of Honegger, Symphony of Strings (double-sided programme with historical and analytical notes). This collection also includes a single document providing outline programmes for the performances given on 26 and 29 March and 26 April 1944 as part of this series, some of which were given at the Royal Adelphi Theatre.
15 February 1946: Third Edward Clark Concert, featuring Emelie Hooke (vocal) and Kendall Taylor (piano), with the London Orchestral Players and Boyd Neel String Orchestra, conducted by Edward Clark (with historical and analytical notes by Julian Herbage and a list of the orchestral players).
4 February 1947: London Contemporary Music Centre concert no.3, given by Sophie Wyss (soprano), Norman Franklin (piano) and the Blech String Quartet, including the first performance of Arnold Cooke, Two Soldier Songs, and Willi Burkhard, Six Songs by Christian Morgenstern.
7 January and 31 March 1948: Lunch Hour Concerts (single document, with a list of the 'Artists in Present Series' provided on the reverse).
24 January and 14 and 28 February [1958]: Friday Concerts by the Virtuoso Ensemble of London (single document). Each performance included a 'world premiere', presenting works by Humphrey Searle, Peter Racine Fricker and Gordon Jacob respectively.

2. Provincial venues
- Cardiff, Cardiff College of Music and Drama: Examination Hall
3 November 1955: Concert of Contemporary Music, presented by Aberystwyth Music Club and given by students of the Cardiff College of Music and Drama, under the direction of Alun Hoddinott (single-sided programme with brief notes).

- Cambridge, King's College, University of Cambridge
5 May 1955: Concert of British Chamber Music, given for the delegates of the Conference of the Conseil Internationale des Compositeurs by Emelie Hooke (soprano), Herbert Downes (violin) and Margaret Kitchin and Wilfrid Parry (piano), including the first English performance of Searle, Three Songs to words by Jocelyn Brooke (with words).

- Cheltenham, Town Hall
8 July [1951]: Boyd Neel Orchestra (conducted by Neel), including the first performance of Philip Sainton, Serenade Fantastique for Oboe and Strings (Leon Goossens, oboe) and the first English performance of Searle, Poem for Twenty-two Strings.
11-22 July 1955: with the Melos Ensemble, Peter Katin (piano) and the Hallé Orchestra (prospectus).
Both documents relating to the Annual Cheltenham Festival of British Contemporary Music (nos. 7 and 11) and both programmes include biographical, historical and descriptive notes, with photographs).

- Gowerton, Tabernacle
31 May 1956: Alun Hoddinott and Students, presented by the Tabernacle Ladies' Guild and given by Avril Herbert (soprano), Robin North (piano), Ivor Bosanko (trumpet and piano) and Frank Kellerher (clarinet), conducted by Dr. T. J. James.

- Liverpool, Philharmonic Hall
11 December 1956: Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra Tuesday Subscription Concert, with Clive Lythgoe (piano), conducted by John Pritchard (with historical and analytical notes by A. K. Holland and a list of the orchestral ensemble).
20 October 1958: Musica Viva, presented by the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Society, conducted by John Pritchard and Zubin Mehta, including the first performance of Searle, Symphony No. 2 (with historical and descriptive notes by A. K. Holland and Basil Horsfield).

- Liverpool, Playhouse
12 February 1957: Liverpool Repertory Company presents Favonia, with music by Humphrey Searle, recorded by the Sinfonia of London. The document also includes a Musical Programme, detailing pieces to be played by Ronald Settle and Joan Ovens (pianos) at various stages in the evening.

- Nottingham, Playhouse
5 October 1952: Gala Performance, including a musical setting by Searle of The Owl and the Pussy Cat by Edward Lear (Souvenir Programme).

- Nottingham YMCA Hall
9 November [1953]: Poetry Reading by Valentine Dyall and Daphne Slater, with Ian Wallace (speaker), George Crozier (flute), Freddie Phillips (guitar) and Joy Hall (cello), including an Interlude of Comic Verse set to music by Searle. This performance was presented by the Arts Council of Britain and the programme indicates that it was repeated from 10-13 November at the following venues: Art Gallery, Leicester; Wolfrun Hall, Wolverhampton; The Art Gallery, Birmingham; and The Grammar School, Kettering.

- Oxford, Carfax Assembly Rooms
8 November 1936: Franz Liszt Commemoration Concert, including the first performance of Czardas Macabre and Romance Oubliée arranged for string quartet and piano by Searle (with Searle, piano), conducted by Constant Lambert (with brief descriptive notes and a list of the orchestral ensemble).

- Porthcawl, Nottage School Hall
2 November 1956: Porthcawl and District Music Club, given by artistes from the Cardiff College of Music and Drama.

3. European venues
- Bad Oeynhausen, Kurhaus Concert Hall
18 and 19 February 1945: Buckeburg Symphony Orchestra with guest conductors Gerald Irvin and Humphrey Searle (with brief historical and descriptive notes).

- Basel, Musiksaal
11 February 1949: Basler Kammerorchester concert no. 3, directed by Paul Sacher, including the premiere of G. Francesco Malipiero, Sinfonie Nr. 6 für Streichorchester, and works by Henri Gagnebin, Searle and Albert Moeschinger being performed for the first time in Basel.

- Darmstadt, Stadthalle
31 July 1948: Kammerkonzert III, given as part of the Internationalen zeitgenössischen Musiktag, including the first German performance of Searle, Ballade für Klavier (with biographical notes on Die Komponisten featured both in this concert and in the remainder of the Festival).

Dusseldorf, Die Brüke
27 April 1954: Zeitgenössische Musik, given by Rolf Ermeler (flote) and Maria Ermeler-Lortzing (piano).

- [Hamburg]
12 October 1953: Studioveranstaltungen des Nordwestdeutschen Rundfunks Hamburg Opening Concert, entitled Das Neue Werk im IV. Jahr, given by the Sinfonieorchester des NWDR-Hamburg and the Chor des NWDR-Hamburg, directed by Hermann Scherchen, including the premiere of Searle, Symphonie in einem Satz, op. 23 and pieces by Nikos Skalkottas and Alberto Bruni Tedeschi.
Given (with brief notes).

- Köln, Grossen Sendesaal
20 April 1956:Musik der Zeit concert no.4, given by the Westdeutschen Rundfunk Koln with Ilse Wallenstein (soprano), Clive Lythgoe (piano), Der Züricher Kammersprechchor and Das Kölner Rundfunk-Sinfonie-Orchester, directed by Ernest Bour, including the first German performance of Searle, Zweites Klavierkonzert, op. 27 (with words and brief biographical notes on the composers).

- Oldenburg, Die Brüke, Gartenstrasse 5
4 September 1953: Kammermusikabend von Rolf Ermeler (flute) und Maria Ermeler-Lortzing (piano).

4. Unknown venues/programme fragments.
[May 1947]: two-part concert of music by Lutyens and Searle, presented by the London Contemporary Music Centre and featuring Parry Jones and Norman Allin (vocal), Peter Stadlen (piano), and John Alexandra (bassoon) with the BBC Symphony Orchestra (conducted by Edward Clark), the Boyd Neel Orchestra (conducted by Constant Lambert), the Chamber Ensemble of the French National Orchestra (conducted by Rene Leibowitz), the Women's Chorus and Chamber Orchestra, the Dorian Singers and the Philharmonia Orchestra.
[November/December 1948]: London Symphony Orchestra Ensemble with Liza Fuchsova (piano), Emelie Hooke (soprano) and Margaret Kitchin (piano) (fragment, page 2).
28 September and 5, 14, 22 and 28 October 1955: Bela Bartok (prospectus).
[April 1956]: Searle, Put Away the Flutes (with words, fragment).
Date range of collection
1936 - 1958
Accumulation Dates
Suggested Audience
Not Specific
Associated People or Organisations
Associated Times

Location Details

British Library, Music Collections
96 Euston Road London NW1 2DB
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020 7412 7772
020 7412 7751
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Additional Collection Information

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Collection Owner(s)
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Associated Collection(s)
Cardif University (Prifysgol Caerdydd)Royal College of Music LondonMuseums, Libraries and Archives Council