Recently Listed Music Collections in West Yorkshire

To further my career aims, I recently began volunteering at the West Yorkshire Archive Service and wanted to share what I have been working on with THE INTERNET. The WYAS staff have turned up several unlisted, music-based collections for me to list.  Although I have yet to discover any lost Vivaldi manuscripts, the collections are nonetheless interesting and diverse…

LC/WYAS1870 Leeds Leisure Services (1978-2001). This collection consists of the working files of the Leeds International Concert Season (run by the Music department of Leeds Leisure Services). The collection would be of interest to researchers of British orchestras and other performing ensembles, since many were invited to perform in the concert series, including BBC Philharmonic, The Hallé, English Northern Sinfonia (aka Orchestra of Opera North), Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, and many others.  Some of the most interesting material relates to competitions originating in Leeds. The Leeds’ Conductors Competitions (material covers 1983-1999) gives interesting portraits of up-and-coming conductors.  The Tetley G.U.L.P. pub piano competitions (material covers 1990-93, 1996-98) which were staged in the Victoria Pub, Leeds, present a charming story of efforts to encourage a dying breed.

WYB339 Gary Cavanagh Collection (1861-c. 2009). This collection consists of newscuttings, concert posters, notes and other material relating to Cavanagh’s extensive research into the Bradford rock music scene, culminating in the book he co-authored with Matt Webster, Bradford’s Noise of the Valleys: A history of Bradford Rock and Pop 1967-1987 (Bank House Books, 2009). A distinctive feature of both the book and the collection are the ‘rock family trees’, which trace the connections and common musicians between various bands. Many of the bands are albeit obscure (anyone remember Southern Death Cult?), but this collection would definitely interest the Bradford native or late twentieth-century British rock music researcher.

WYC Misc 514 Misc Records of the Northgate-End/Halifax Orchestral Society (1829-1908). This collection documents music making and concerts in the Halifax area during the nineteenth century. Misc 514/1 is a large scrapbook that includes mainly concert posters and programmes. This would be of interest to researchers of British amateur music societies since it offers a nearly comprehensive view of performance trends for classical choral and orchestral repertoire in nineteenth-century Yorkshire (e.g. lots of Handel oratorios!). Misc 514/2 is a record book for the Northgate-End Orchestral Society (1882-1908). Since it lists members’ names and attendance, this item might interest a family historian with musical ancestors in Halifax.

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HiP Opera?

English: German-born English composer John Fre...

English: German-born English composer John Frederick Lampe (ca. 1703-1751). Mezzotint by James Macardell (1727-1765) after a painting by S. Andrea (?-?). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I recently performed in an opera.  A bit of background first: I’m a classically trained violinist who specialises in historically-informed performance (or, HiP).  That means I try to perform in a manner which reflects how the original players may have performed rather than in the standard, modern way.  This may involve use of ‘period instruments’ and slightly different postures and different approaches to various musical techniques like vibrato; my own technique has changed quite a bit since I began exploring baroque violin in 2009.

For me historical performance makes the music make (better) sense.  Mozart on a Steinway grand is great, but Mozart on a fortepiano comes alive in ways I find difficult to articulate.   At the end of the day though, what we tend to value as listeners are things such as: imagination, innovation, and musical, sensitive interpretations; not what kind of bow is in use (I think Janine Jansen’s Four Seasons is a great example of this).

But back to this opera.  It is an obscure English baroque work by John Frederick Lampe (pictured), called The Dragon of Wantley (first performed, 1737).  My friend and harpsichordist was conducting and I managed to inveigle my way in to play in the orchestra.  It’s a small one, comprised principally of undergraduate music students.  There are a few other baroque specialists keeping me company and it has been an interesting journey as we have challenged the playing style of modern classically-trained students.

I can say the opera came along swimmingly and we had good feedback from various early music gurus in attendance.  It’s been fun and challenging raising issues of historical performance along the way, but I think everyone’s happy to get back to using vibrato now.  So is there such a thing as a hip opera?  I say, YES.

My First webpage

I’ve just created my first webpage, Challenge #3 of P2PU School of Webcraft.  I use OS X and so when trying out text editors, I found VIM first since it was free and apparently awesome.  However!  I have no background knowledge of coding at all and I found VIM difficult- just as the challenge indicated!  I downloaded Text Wrangler next.  The difference was like night and day.  First of all, it opened with a blank doc.  I had to figure out how to start a new doc with VIM, but with Text Wrangler it was ready right off the bat.  As I said I’m a total beginner, so I really appreciate user friendliness!  I found the highlighted line in Text Wrangler helpful since you then know exactly which line you’re on.  The indent functions also were very intuitive, and the indents came out just like the example in Challenge #2.  I saved my html doc and it opened just fine in my browser!

Conclusion:  Text Wrangler works for me and I’d recommend for it for other people with no coding background.

My HTML code

My HTML code

This is a scan of task #2 from the Webmaking 101 challenge: my very own handwritten HTML code! I had done a few other efforts several weeks ago, but my scanner was broken. I took another stab at it today and only made one mistake. Previously I found the more times I did it the more mistakes I made.