Music Making, Musicians and Gender

Part of my Volunteer role at the RNCM Archive has been to select content for the final pop-up banners. It has been surprisingly difficult choosing which documents to highlight and write about when telling the stories of the Hallé and the Royal Manchester College of Music during WW1 as there are so many fascinating items. We wanted to tell 3 stories on 3 banners; the changing repertoire, how the musicians, students and teachers were affected and the role of gender within the organisations. As I have now finished this, I thought I would write about some of the items I have chosen here, including items which didn’t make the cut but still give an insight to the changes the war created.

Halle. HA.PR.2.1.61.2 (11)In a Hallé Concerts Society Programme for 1918-1919 there is an advertisement for Forsyth Bros. Ltd. It explains that there is a vast shortage of Pianos as manufacturers were instead made to produce planes for the war. I love the honesty in the advertisement as it admits that the prices for the Pianos are high but reasonable in consideration to the war situation. It also shows how the war must have really effected their Music Business, although there would have been more female students who would have played the Piano during the war, which may have helped.

 

 

Behrens4 (91c)This is the last page of a speech by Gustav Behrens addressed to members of the Hallé Concert Society in 1914. The speech tells of the complications the war would create but the need to continue putting on the Concerts. This last page gives a list of possible Conductors who would be willing to work for free to save the Hallé’s expenditure. Notice how they are all of British, or Allied origin. Finally, it is made clear that the music played will be ‘bright and cheerful’ to keep up moral during Wartime.

 

 

There are various items belonging to Carl Fuchs and amongst them is a Christmas card sent from his Prisoner of War camp in Germany. Carl Fuchs was a German Cello teacher at the Royal Manchester College of Music who had travelled to Germany in 1914 to visit family. Unfortunately, having been in the UK for so long, he was seen as suspicious and was interned at the Rhuleben Internment Camp when war broke out. The camp was quite relaxed and whilst there Carl Fuchs even helped to create a band.

CF.1.30. (2)

The 1918 Annual Report for the Royal Manchester College of Music highlights the broad spectrum of troubles the College had coped with during the year such as male students and teachers leaving the college to fight in the war, as well as the teacher Carl Fuchs being detained in Germany. The Roll of Honour lists the names of students who had left the College to fight, including those who were killed in action. With so many male students having left, the College took in a large amount of female students during the war to take their place and were able to keep afloat because of this. There then came such a huge overhaul when after the war, returning men were given grants by the government to attend the college as a sort of rehabilitation programme and the demographics of the college changed once again.

RMCM.B.3.3. (1918 roll of honour)

 

HS.3.3.3.2 (66)It was particularly difficult finding evidence of the Hallé’s introduction of female players, but it was finally discovered whilst scouring through the Halle Society’s Librarian Notebooks where I found a list of names of players in the Hallé Orchestra Concert for February 15th 1917 including 5 women playing second violin. Before the war there were no female players in the Hallé apart from singers or guest players. As the numbers of men dropped during the war, the Hallé had no choice but to introduce female players for the first time. Unfortunately, when Hamilton Hartly became Conductor in 1920 it was all reversed as he was widely apposed to women playing in his Orchestra.

By Volunteer, Kezi Porter

 

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WW1 family history at Royal Manchester College of Music

Did one of your ancestors study at the Royal Manchester College of Music during 1910-1924? Interested in the kinds of students that came and went? Can’t book in to see the archive in person? No worries. Thanks to the Heritage Lottery Fund and National Lottery players, we’ve got you covered.

We’ve digitised all of our WW1 student programmes, student registers and diploma registers and put them on a fabulous Manchester Digital Music Archive exhibition. Best thing? It’s free to access!

What information you can find

On the student registers, you find the student name, ages, main study (pianoforte, singing, violin etc.), their addresses, who they were responsible to (parent, funding body etc.), their dates of entry and leaving.

You can then cross reference this with the diploma registers. These show which students attained which qualifications.

If you’re interested, you can then have a glance through the programmes of the Royal Manchester College of Music to find if they gave any performances through their time at the College. These records will tell you date of performance, what they performed and who their teacher was.

Tips and tricks for navigating the archive

The student registers are listed chronologically in order of student arrival. Check the leaving date. Then, nip over to he diploma registers and look around that leaving date for their name. These are arranged chronologically in order of when the student graduated.

For programmes, most students gave a performance at one or more of the student examination concerts. So, look for their name around the time when they graduated. They may pop up in student open practice concerts a year or two before that date as well.

There’s a lot of info on some of the images so if you can’t see full image properly in the exhibition, just find it on our contributor’s page.

Find anything interesting? Find your ancestor or someone who used to live on your street? Let us know! We’d love to hear from you.

What do you think? Keep an eye out for more updates!

Mysteries and Nuances

Check it out! We’ve been published in the Manchester Region History Review. Inside is a summary article about some themes on the project written by RNCM Archivist, Heather Roberts. Browse the fabulous magazine or skip straight to the middle for our article summarising the mysteries and nuances we have been exploring.

The Potsdam Musicians

Just before WW1, a photograph of five members of the London Symphony Orchestra returning from the 1912 tour of USA on the liner SS Potsdam reveals very close connections with Manchester.

Prof John Miller

1912-lso-on-board-the-potsdam-600dpi-copy

Jesse Stamp, Harry Barlow, John Bridge, Walter Hatton, Arthur Gaggs (front) on board the SS Potsdam in 1912.[i]

 

Jesse Stamp (1885 – 1932) was without doubt the virtuoso trombonist of his day. He was brought up in Chorlton, a son of a professional musician (at times a circus musician), studied and graduated at the MRCM 1904 – 1907, and by 1911 was the breadwinner for three brothers and two sisters living in Southport. At this time he appears to be a boarder in Brixton when undertaking work in London.[ii] He joined the LSO in 1909 and was made principal trombone in 1911. He was on the board of directors for the 1923-24 season and left the orchestra in 1928. In addition he played in the orchestra of the Royal Philharmonic Society at its centenary in 1912[iii] and was a founder member of the BBC Symphony Orchestra in 1930.

Jesse Stamp, like Ernest Hall, fellow trumpeter from Liverpool, moved south and stayed south. On the outward voyage to USA in 1912 he was subject of a practical joke. The diary of LSO timpanist Charles Turner reads:

“Monday 1 April 1912

I forgot to mention this is the 1st of April and at breakfast 7.30am someone called out that war ships were to be seen. Jesse Stamp (trombone) bit and getting up from the table got his glasses and getting on the couch gazed earnestly over the sea for the ships which of course he did not find, In the meantime, all the people in the dining room found it out and Jesse received a great storm of laughter and applause much to his discomforture and he sat down very sheepishly to resume.”[iv]

 

 

Harry Barlow (1870 – 1932).

The composer Havergal Brian wrote: “I was sorry to read of the death of Harry Barlow, the well known tuba player. As long ago as 1906 I heard the late Dr. Richter, while talking of the personnel of the Hallé Orchestra, refer to Barlow as the finest tuba player in all Europe. He was sure to be found in the London Symphony Orchestra, or in the Covent Garden Opera Orchestra, when Richter was conducting. Barlow’s genius lay in focusing the tone-colour of his tuba into the three trombones, and making it sound a real trombone bass: this is impossible to the ordinary trombone player. […] Barlow was a native of Besses o’ th’ Barn, and was possessed of a fine sense of humour, which undoubtedly helped him along life’s way. […] Like the late Jesse Stamp, the well known trombonist, Barlow had been playing recently in the BBC orchestra; it is curious that he should have died so soon after his fellow-Lancastrian.”[v]

Barlow first shows up in the Hallé Free Trade Hall programmes in 1893, playing ophicleide, and he continues until 1895 conducted by Adolph Brodsky, just after Hallé’s death. He first appears playing the tuba in 1896, under Frederick Cowan. He can be regarded as one of the first great modern tuba players, and amongst his many activities he designed several models of instruments, including one played in the Hallé by Stuart Roebuck until retirement in 1984. Barlow has been described as a “man of many parts”, for example directing the Oxford Road’s Grosvenor Picture House orchestra from the piano, or conducting Besses o’ th’ Barns Band.[vi]

 

Arthur Gaggs (1879 – 1961)

Arthur Gaggs came from a Manchester musical family. His father Joseph (described as a Professor of Music in the 1891 census) played 2nd cornet with the Hallé from 1868 – 70.[vii] Arthur probably studied with Franz Paersch (1857-1921) who was principal horn of the Hallé and also the Royal Italian Opera (Covent Garden) from 1883 – 1914. Paersch certainly took Gaggs under his wing as second horn in Manchester before WW1. Gaggs had a long career as a horn player in Manchester and moved to the BBC Northern Orchestra in 1934.

I wonder whether the photograph was taken by Joseph W. Gaggs, a Mancunian violinist in the LSO on the USA tour?

 

John Bridge (1872 – 1945)

John Bridge became a member of the Hallé in 1893, the year of the foundation of the MRCM, and rose steadily through the orchestra’s ranks. Richter took him (along with Barlow) to the ROH for the 1904-5 spring season, and he was appointed principal second violin of the Hallé in 1914. During WW1 he stayed in Manchester and in addition to his orchestral activities was most notably a member of the Catterall Quartet, playing for the Ancoats Brotherhood, in the Midland Hall, Leighton Hall, The New Islington Hall and other venues. Two of his brothers enlisted for the services; Harry served with the Machine Gun Corps., and his younger brother Herbert was killed in Belgium whilst serving with the Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry. Later in his career, in 1928, John Bridges joined the MRCM staff.[viii]

 

Walter Hatton (1869 – 1939)

The most senior member in the photograph had perhaps the most distinguished career. Hatton was the cellist in the original Brodsky Quartet from 1915 – 1925 and a highly regarded Manchester teacher.[ix]

 

What became of the Potsdam?

The five musicians in the photograph all survived WW1, but what became of the ocean liner? The Dutch liner, the SS Potsdam was to experience a wartime fate at a later date. It was renamed the Stockholm in 1915 by the Swedish American line, and later renamed the Sonderburg when captured by the Germans in 1941. It was finally scuttled in Cherbourg in 1944.[x]

[i] Permission LSO Archive.

[ii] The 1911 census shows him as the family head at 30 Myrtle Grove Southport, and as a boarder at 13 Robert Road, Brixton (with a birthdate of 1886 recorded).

[iii] Robert Elkin, Queen’s Hall (Rider & Co, 1944) pp 49, 55.

[iv] Courtesy LSO archive.

[v] Musical opinion, August 1932, p.901.

[vi] See Clifford Bevan, The Tuba Family (Piccolo Press, 2000), pp 378 – 382 for information on Harry Barlow. A portrait of Stuart Roebuck with his “Barlow F tuba” is found on page 383.

[vii] The 1891 census shows the family living in Chorlton when père Joseph is age 45 and Arthur is age 12.

[viii] For more detailed information see Stuart Scott, John S Bridge, A Manchester Musician in www.musicweb-international.com written December 2011, accessed 10/09/2016.

[ix] See Michael Kennedy, The History of the Royal Manchester College of Music 1893 – 1927, pages 74 – 79.

[x] www.norwayheritage.com accessed on 10/09/2016

 

Holt, Hoyland and Old: The ‘Unsurpassed’ Trombone Section of the Hallé Orchestra

 

By Dr Stephen Etheridge

 The Royal Manchester College of Music’s (RMCM) student records reveal two graduates who would become members of the Hallé Orchestra in a period when the trombone section built a reputation for excellence. When we examine the lives of these players what emerges is that the RMCM was the agency that gave them access to self improvement and status. 

Samuel Lomas Holt (1887-1968)

Early Life

The 1911 Census shows that Samuel (Sam) Lomas Holt was born in Rochdale, in about 1887, but, apart from his army service, he lived in Oldham for his lifetime. In 1911, the year of his entry to the college, Holt was living at 57 Ripponden Road, Oldham. His father, Samuel Henry Holt, aged 51, was also a musician. His mother, Eliza Ann Holt, aged 42, was a shopkeeper. He had two step-siblings, Harry Illingworth Bradshaw, aged 11, and Marjorie Bradshaw, aged 10.

 Brass Band Connections

kingston 1899
Kingston Mills Brass Band, Accrington, 1880s.  Permission Gavin Holman: http://www.ibew.co.uk

Continue reading “Holt, Hoyland and Old: The ‘Unsurpassed’ Trombone Section of the Hallé Orchestra”

What links Michael Morpurgo, Elgar and the Royal Manchester College of Music in the First World War?

3a00045rPhoto credit: Marie Brema taken in New York in 1897  by A. Dupont. Available at http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/cph.3a00045 The Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA.

The answer is the College’s director of the opera class Miss Marie Brema. Brema was the only person, besides Brodsky, to feature in the College’s regular advertisments in the Musical Times. She was worthy of mention having been an operatic superstar before she retired and started teaching at the Royal Manchester College of Music in 1912. Born in Liverpool in 1856, she was the first British female singer invited to perform at Bayreuth as well as performing all over Europe and the USA, and privately for Queen Victoria. She was also chair of the Society of Women Musicians during the war 1917-18. She was a great champion of opera performances at the College even when she was faced with a shortage of male singers and at times opposition from other professors.

The Annual Report of 1917 comments that “The increased attention given opera in musical education is a sign of the times, inasmuch as it reflects the rapidly growing public interest in the lyric stage.” It was also probably due Marie Brema’s determination and success. For example, the operatic performances given in March 1917 presented scenes from Orpheus, Lohengrin, and Cavalleria Rusticana which were arranged and staged by Marie Brema, and she also provided the wigs and the costumes. The programme for this performance stated “Owing to the absence of Men Students, certain alterations have been necessary.” But the performances were a success. The Annual Report goes on to report that the scene from  Orpheus was so well received that Mr O’Mara from the O’Mara Opera Company invited Marie to direct her students in his production of the opera at the Gaiety Theatre in Manchester. Their performance was “several times repeated during the season…and upwards of twenty students took part in it.”

She was clearly a force to be reckoned with and fought her corner well. At a meeting of the board of professors on 9th March 1915 in her absence, they agreed that the “Midsummer term is the least suitable part of the Session for such performances.” A week later when Marie was present at the meeting, the minutes read “after hearing Miss Brema’s explanation…the Board thinks it desirable to modify the resolution passed at the last meeting”!

So what connects her to Elgar? She already knew the composer having sung in the first performance of The Dream of Gerontius in 1900. But their ties became closer during the First World War. The composer’s piece Carillon was written in 1914 setting the poem written by the Belgian poet Emile Cammaerts, in response to the German invasion of his homeland. Carillon is a recitation with orchestral accompaniment and was first performed in the Queen’s Hall, London 7th December 1914 with Elgar conducting and the recitation performed by the poet’s wife and the actress Tita Brand, who also translated the original French words into English. Tita Brand was Marie Brema’s daughter, making Emile Cammaerts her son-in-law. Marie Brema also performed the piece in the concert she organised at the college after the war had ended, “In Celebration of Peace” on Tuesday December 10th 1918 at 7 pm. Miss Brema was accompanied on the piano by one of the Belgian refugee students, August Ardenois after the College’s Roll of Honour had been read.

Finally, what is the connection to Michael Morpurgo, other than that he has written well-known books about the First World War, War Horse, famously adapted for the stage and screen and Private Peaceful? Well, Michael Morpurgo’s mother was called Kippe Cammaerts, daughter of Tita and Emile, so his great-grandmother is Marie Brema.

Katherine Seddon

 

 

Dive straight down this research rabbit hole.

Hi all! I’ve finally managed to get the index of students relevant to this project up on here.

Roll of Honour

The first table below is the names of all our students on the College’s Roll of Honour, which can be found in our Annual Reports. They started including this in their first Annual Report during the war period as quite a few alumni enlisted to the war effort straight away.

The table is a digital copy of the student registers showing their student number, name, age upon entry to the College, main instrument, address, parent/responsible body, date of entry, date of leaving and any notes I’ve scraped together from the annual reports and indexes.

Have a look!

Continue reading “Dive straight down this research rabbit hole.”