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BBC Music Library collection (18th-19th C.)

The BBC Music Library collection comprises 18th and 19th century printed music. It was first compiled in the 1950s to serve the needs of producers preparing broadcast material for BBC Radio 3. The collection was subsequently acquired from the BBC Music Library of London to complement material in the Mackworth and Aylward collections in Cardiff University.

Manuscripts of note in this collection are: Giuseppe Verdi’s Sechs romanzen mit pianoforte-begleitung (c. 1877) in a rare and richly illustrated German edition; Thomas A. Arne’s Thomas and Sally (1784), which was the first English comic opera to be sung through without dialogue; a copy of the Snegourotchka suite (c. 1899) by Rimsky-Korsakov signed by the composer; John Parry’s Selection of Welsh melodies (1809); and Richard Wagner’s Die walküre (1899), a unique copy which has several notices of performances bound with the score. Some lesser known but important influences on 18th century opera are represented in the collection. These include the French opéras comiques composer D. F. Auber (1782-1871), Niccolò Jommeli (1714-1774), and Antonion Sacchini (1730-1786). Several pieces by the Venetian composer Baldassare Gallupi (1706-1785) are held, including a 1761 copy of songs from his opera Il filosofo di campagna (1754), a work regarded as an important contribution to the development of opera buffa.

Date range: 18th to 19th centuries.

Significance: United Kingdom, Europe.

Size: C. 700 items.

Languages: English, French, German, Italian

Keywords: Music, BBC