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HomeSearchGetRecordMacnaghten Concerts (1963-75)

Collection Description

Collection Title
Macnaghten Concerts (1963-75)
Unique Identifier
A collection of 11 programmes and wordbooks for performances given by the Macnaghten Concerts, in association with the Arts Council of Great Britain, at various venues in London between 1963 and 1975, held as individual items, including a prospectus/souvenir brochure for the Italian Contemporary Music Festival of March 1975.

According to notes provided in a number of the programmes: 'The Macnaghten Concerts is the oldest existing English organization for contemporary music. It was founded … in December 1931 by three girl students: Iris Lemare (conductor), Elisabeth Lutyens (composer) and Anne Macnaghten (violinist), with the principal aim of promoting contemporary English composers of all schools by presenting concerts in which their music is prominent'.

All programmes contain brief historical and descriptive notes and, where appropriate, incorporate wordbooks. The majority also provide at least some information regarding the Patrons and/or organizers of the series.

Where no other venue is cited below, the performances took place in the Great Drawing Room of the Arts Council of Great Britain, 4 St. James's Square, Westminster.

1. Concerts
18 January 1963, Hammer Theatre, 113 Wardour Street: A Programme of Films with Outstanding Musical Scores (with notes by Leslie Winters including the timings for each piece).

15 February 1963: Wilfred Brown (tenor), Jennifer Ward Clarke (cello), John Williams (guitar) and Ian Lake and Thomas Walsh (piano), including the first performances of Colin Brumby, Nocturne and Toccata (for guitar) and Thomas Walsh, Concert Piece for Piano. The concert also included the first London performances of Stephen Dodgson, Four Poems of John Clarke (voice and guitar) and Richard [Rodney] Bennett, Tom O'Bedlam's Song (voice and cello). There are programme notes by Leslie Winters and a brief handwritten comment on the piece by Dodgson.

25 October 1963, Mahatma Gandhi Hall, 41 Fitzroy Square: Benjamin Britten 50th Birthday Concert, including the first performance of pieces by Richard Rodney Bennett, Nicholas Maw and Malcolm Williamson, commissioned by the Macnaghten Concerts and collectively titled 'Reflections on a Theme of Benjamin Britten'. The concert also included the first London performance of Britten, Psalm 150. The performance was given by the Melos Ensemble - Richard Adeney (flute), Ronald Waller (bassoon), Neill Sanders (horn), Cecil Aronowitz (viola) and Osian Ellis (harp) - with Peter Pears (tenor) and Benjamin Britten (piano), the London Bach Society, boys from Ealing Grammar School (conducted by Paul Steinitz with Philip Ledger, organ) and the Finchley Children's Music Group (conducted by John Andrewes with Rosalind Bevan, piano). There are programme notes by Colin Mason and introductory notes outlining the relationship between Britten and the Macnaghten Concerts.

15 November 1963: Kenneth Bowen (tenor), Paul Collins (violin) and Colin Tilney and Charles Mallett (piano), including the first public performance of David Lyon, God's Grandeur (tenor and piano) (with notes by Craig Lewis).

13 December 1963: Derek Simpson (cello) and Fiona Cameron (piano) with the Portia Wind Ensemble - Mary Ryan (flute), Mary Murdoch (oboe), Thea King (clarinet), Deirdre Dundas-Grant (bassoon), Valerie Smith (horn) and Alan Lumsden (trombone) - including: the first performance of Richard Stoker, Wind Quintet; the first public performances of Michael Nyman, Divertimento for wind trio and Brian Dennis, Homage to T. S. Elliot for cello and piano; and the first London performance of Gordon Crosse, Canto for Wind Sextet (with notes by Craig Lewis and a brief handwritten annotation on the piece by Stoker).

25 October 1965, Friends' House: The Macnaghten Chamber Orchestra, incorporating the Virtuoso Ensemble, conducted by Jacques-Louis Monod, with Susan Bradshaw (piano) and Alvar Lidell (reciter), including the first London performance of Gordon Crosse, Symphonies for chamber orchestra (with notes by Anthony Payne with an additional sheet of words).

5 October 1971, The Cockpit [Theatre], Marylebone: New Talent 1971, a programme of works by young composers written for Harrison Birtwistle's composition class at this year's Dartington Summer School, conducted by Birtwistle. The concert featured music by George Brown, John Lewis, Alison Bauld, Erika Fox, James Ingram, Edward Cowie, Michael Eckert and Anne Boyd, performed by George Brown (flute), Janet Knight (oboe), Howard Davidson (clarinet), Robert Codd (bassoon), James Ingram (horn), James Strebing (percussion), Rosalind Ninnes (piano) and Rosemary Ashe (soprano), with John Trigger (speaker) (with notes by Michael Nyman and a brief handwritten annotation providing the instrumentation for the piece by Brown).

21 January 1972, Cecil Sharp House, 2 Regent's Park Road: The Great Learning, paragraph 5, composed for any number of trained and untrained musicians by Cornelius Cardew, on a text by Confucius, given by the Scratch Orchestra, supplemented by groups from Portsmouth Polytechnic Department of Fine Art and Morley College, London, with Brian Dennis, Josephine Nendick, Doreen Price, Howard Skempton and Sue Gittin (vocal) (with notes by Cornelius Cardew). The programme also cites 'Supplementary Compositions' by Greg Bright, Michael Brawner, Dave Jackman, Hugh Shrapnel, Ian Ward, Alan Brett, Chris May and Penny Jordan.

4 February 1972, Hayward Gallery: Steve Reich, Drumming (first performance of the full version outside the USA), given by Steve Reich, Jon Gibson, Steve Chambers, Art Murphy, James Preiss, Russ Hartenberger, Joan Labarbera, Jay Clayton, Judy Sherman, Cornelius Cardew, Gavin Bryars, Christopher Hobbs and Michael Nyman. The programme notes are provided by Reich (including an essay entitled 'Music as a Gradual Process') and there are biographical notes on the various artists.

2. Italian Contemporary Music Festival, March 1975
The prospectus/souvenir brochure for six concerts given at various venues in London, plus an individual programme (including a list of the instrumental ensemble) for the first performance, given on 2 March 1975. In addition to programmes for the concerts (listed below), the brochure includes essays by John C.G. Waterhouse ('Breaking the Ignorance Barrier: A plea for better mutual understanding between the British and Italian musical worlds, spotlighting some common misconceptions (especially ours about them)') and Bernard Rands (on Bruno Maderna). There are also biographical notes on the artists and composers, with photographs. Inserted is the document is a leaflet on Edwin Roxburgh, which includes further biographical notes, a photograph and a list of publications. With the exception of those given on 23 March, all concerts featured the 20th Century Ensemble of London, conducted by Edwin Roxburgh.

2 March 1975, Sadler's Wells Theatre: Homage to Bruno Maderna, with Meriel Dickinson (mezzo-soprano), Sebastian Bell (flute), Graham Salter (oboe) and Jane Manning (soprano).
9 March 1975, Royal College of Music: Harold Lester (harpsichord), David Takeno (violin) and Bertram Turetzky (contrabass).
16 March 1975, St. John's Smith Square: Homage to Luigi Dallapiccola, with Stephen Savage (piano), Ross Pople (cello) and Jane Manning (soprano).
23 March 1975, Old Vic Theatre, Waterloo Road: Music by Monteverdi, Banchieri, Petrassi, Berio and Roger Marsh, performed by the Elysian Wind Quintet and choral scholars of King's College, Cambridge. This performance was given at both 3pm and 7.30pm. The programme for the afternoon concert contains few details and is described as 'A concert for all the family, introduced by Nicholas Parsons'. The programme for the evening indicates the precise works performed and lists the following performers: Stephen Savage (piano), Ross Pople (cello) and Peter Lloyd (flute). The Elysian Wind Quintet: Keith Bragg (flute) Christopher O’ Neal (oboe), Martin Burrell (clarinet), Paul Pritchard (horn) and Richard King (bassoon); Michael Cockerham and Michael Chance (alto), Robert Chilcott and Christopher Chivers (tenor) and Paul Cann and Richard Wistreich (bass).
30 March 1975, Sadler's Well Theatre: Stephen Savage (piano) and Elsie Ross (soprano) with the choruses from the University of York, University of Birmingham, Royal College of Music and Trinity Chamber Choir, Cambridge.
Date range of collection
1963 - 1975
Accumulation Dates
Suggested Audience
Not Specific
Associated People or Organisations

Location Details

British Library
The British Library St Pancras ,96 Euston Road London NW1 2DB
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Collections Overview
For details of other collections held at the same location: See the location record

Additional Collection Information

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