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HomeSearchGetRecordMagpie Minstrels/Magpie Madrigal Society (1888-1911)

Collection Description

Collection Title
Magpie Minstrels/Magpie Madrigal Society (1888-1911)
Unique Identifier
A miscellaneous collection of programmes and wordbooks for 23 concerts given by the Magpie Minstrels (later the Magpie Madrigal Society) between 1888 and 1911, arranged chronologically over two bound volumes (1888–1904 and 1906–11) (g.1760).

Also, a Souvenir Brochure regarding the Magpie Madrigal Society, containing a complete set of programmes for the period 1888 to 1911 (g.1760.a).

These were two-part concerts of historical and contemporary vocal repertory (particularly that of Brahms) for both solo and ensemble voices. In the later years, there is a stronger emphasis on more contemporary material, particularly that of British composers, with works by the following being written especially for the Society: C.H.H. Parry (elected President in 1906), C.V. Stanford, C.H. Lloyd, Alan Gray, G. Henschel, R. Vaughan Williams, Eaton Faning, Maude White, Arthur Somervell, J. Blumenthal and G. Holst.

For the first three concerts listed below, the Magpie Minstrels were assisted by the Wandering Minstrels (Amateur Orchestral Society) and a number of orchestral and symphonic works were included in the programmes. Instrumental solos also appear in some later concerts and the names of these performers are listed below.

All programmes provide the names of both vocal and instrumental soloists and include a complete list of the choral and, where appropriate, orchestral ensemble. All concerts were conducted by Lionel S. Benson and, unless otherwise stated below, accompanied by Henry Bird.

Where no other indication is given below, the performances took place at Princes’ Hall, Piccadilly (1888–95), St. James’s Hall, Piccadilly (1896–1904) and Royal College of Music Concert Room, Prince Consort Road (1906–11).

Bound with many of these programmes are Prospectuses for the concerts (including a programme), Advertisements (single sheet/handbill providing only the date, time and place etc), and Invitations Cards. With the exception of that for 3 June 1908 (addressed to Mr and Mrs Fuller-Maitland), the Invitation Cards are addressed to William Barclay Squire.

Volume 1: 18 concerts
26 April 1888: Grand Concert in aid of the funds of the Phoenix Club and Institute for Working Men and Lads.
9 May 1889: Concert in aid of the Funds of the Ladies’ Work Society.
15 May 1890: Concert in aid of the Funds of H.R.H. Princess Frederica’s Convalescent Home (with a number of handwritten corrections to the foreign texts provided in the wordbook).
21 May 1890:
26 May 1891:
23 June 1892:
22 June 1893:
6 June 1894: Queen’s Hall, Langham Place: Master Arthur Argiewicz (violin) and Leonard Borwick (piano) (with a Prospectus and Invitation Card).
17 May 1895: Concert in aid of the Funds of the People’s Concert Society, with Achille Rivade (violin) and Leonard Borwick (piano).
5 June 1896: Miss Donkersley (violin) (with an Invitation Card).
3 June 1897: Signor Arrigo Serrato (violin) (with a prospectus).
19 May 1898, Bridgwater House, St. James’s: Concert in aid of the Funds of the Jenny Lind Hospital for Children, Norwich, accompanied by F.A. Sewell
25 May 1898: (with a handwritten record of the Salisbury address of Mr R. Macan).
31 May 1899: (with an Invitation Card).
30 May 1900: Mademoiselle Inez Jolivet (violin).
14 May 1902: in aid of the funds of the People’s Concert Society, with Leonard Borwick (piano), accompanied by C.A. Lidgey.
4 June 1902: Mrs Douglas Scott (violin).
27 May 1903: accompanied by S. Liddle
1 June 1904: including the first performance of C. Parry, English Lyrics (6th Set), accompanied by Henry Bird and Miss Constance Stockbridge (with Prospectus and Invitation Card).

Volume 2 (5 concerts)
In addition to the programmes, this document begins with an advertisement/ticket for a concert given on 31 May 1905 at the Royal Horticultural Hall, Vincent Square, Westminster (no programme).

Where an accompanist is listed below, this figure appeared in addition to Henry Bird.

30 May 1906: advertisement/ticket.
5 June 1907: with Miss Beatrice Harrison (cello).
3 June 1908: with John Powell (piano), accompanied by Harold Samuel (with Invitation Card).
1 June 1910: with Monsieur Louis Fleury (flute), including the first English performance of four songs by Erich Wolff, accompanied by the composer (with Invitation Card).
31 May 1911: (with Invitation Card and a Menu Card).

This document includes the following:
1. History of the Society: reprinted from Grove’s Dictionary of Music (1907).
2. The Members: with the dates of their election.
3. The Concerts: including a list of both the Charity and Invitation concerts and a record of those who, in addition to the Wandering Minstrels, appeared as performers.
4. The Programmes: a complete set of programmes for the period 1886-1911, including a large number not bound in the volumes of g.1760.a
5. The Music: a ‘complete list of the Madrigals, etc., performed by the Choir’.
6. Items: assorted trivia regarding the activities of various members.
7. ‘Goodnight to the Magpies’: a poem by ‘C.L.G.’ on the disbanding of the Magpie Madrigal Society.
Date range of collection
1888 - 1911
Accumulation Dates
Suggested Audience
Not Specific

Location Details

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

Accrual Status
Related Publications
Management Information (Type)
Collection Owner(s)
Collection Creator(s)
Collection Collector(s)
Collection Custodians(s)
Associated Collection(s)
Cardif University (Prifysgol Caerdydd)Royal College of Music LondonMuseums, Libraries and Archives Council