Rare score an ode to music A lost manuscript finds its rightful home

Melbourne Rare Book Week

Event Date: 
2 July 2018
Author / Presenters: 
Royal Historical Society of Victoria, Rod Reynolds

The Royal Historical Society of Victoria shares its home, the Drill Hall, with the venerable Royal Melbourne Philharmonic which was founded in 1853 by a group of music lovers who wished to bring musical culture of a high standard to the early colony of Victoria. In 2018 the Royal Melbourne Philharmonic celebrates its 165th year making it Australia's oldest surviving cultural organisation and one of the oldest secular choirs in the world. Since 1853 it has presented performances at many historic occasions including the Melbourne International Exhibition of 1880, the Great Centennial Exhibition of 1888, the opening of the First Australian Parliament in 1901, the 1956 Olympic Games and the opening of the Melbourne Town Hall in 1870.

It is from that 1870 concert that this lecture's item comes: the Conductor's MS of the work Euterpe, a cantata composed by Charles Horsley with the librettist, Australian poet, Henry Kendall. It is dedicated to Samuel Amess Esq., Right Worshipful Mayor of Melbourne. It was first performed at the opening of the new Melbourne Town Hall on 9 August 1870 and again in 1876 at the Crystal Palace, London. The conductor's full score and the instrumental parts, most of which only ever existed in hand-written versions, 'went missing' in about 1890 and only turned up in a locked room at the Melba Conservatorium in about 2010. The conductor's full score is nearly 180 pages of hand-written MS, with the dedication on the presentation to Amess in the flyleaf, and, as far as is known, only exists in a single copy.

We will also be treated to an overview of the extremely valuable collection of 61,000+ items in the RMP's library. As with many institutions in Melbourne, Sir Redmond Barry was a mover and shaker at the RMP and items from his library, bequeathed to the RMP, will also feature in this talk.

Light refreshments will be served before the lecture to those attending both this event and the earlier Rare Book Week event at 11am.

Monday 2nd 1:00pm - 2:00pm [Bookings required]