Rare Music comprises music manuscripts, printed scores, books, archival collections, photographs and other music-related materials that are rare and in some cases unique.
The collection includes items from the late 11th century through to the present day. Our rich holdings of European music have at their core the Hanson-Dyer Collection of 15th to early 19th century music imprints, first editions and music manuscripts. Transferred to Melbourne in 2005, this 245-item strong collection includes French operatic works, British publications, works of the Italian renaissance and books on music theory, establishing collection strengths that have been built upon with substantial acquisitions over the past 15 years.
Rare Music also includes the very substantial archive of the French music publishing house, Editions de l’Oiseau-Lyre (1932–2013), founded by expatriate Louise Hanson-Dyer (1884–1962). Editions de l’Oiseau-Lyre is celebrated for its scholarly and pioneering editions and sound recordings of early music.
Other highly significant collections in Rare Music that are associated with individual musicians include the professional archive of internationally renowned French horn virtuoso Barry Tuckwell. There are also a number of smaller personal archives associated with professional musicians active in Australia such as Adolf Spivakovsky, Isobel Carter, Elsa Haas and John Simons.
Large instrumental collections include the Stockigt Clarinet Collection: music previously owned by Jim and Hugo Stockigt; and the White Clarinet Collection: the professional music library of Thomas White.
The personal library of orchestral scores owned by Australian conductor John Hopkins is another significant collection; John Hopkins had a long and distinguished association with the University's Faculty of Fine Arts and Music.
Rare Music also features manuscript and printed scores, chiefly by Australian composers, from the colonial period to the present day. Some of the Australian scores were commissioned by recipients of the annual Albert H. MAGGS Composition Award, administered by the University of Melbourne. A large collection of Concert and Theatre Programs, has a focus on musical life in Melbourne (1860–). Popular music is represented in both commercial sheet music and in a collection of Australian-manufactured pianola rolls.
The majority of Rare Music is catalogued with over 13,000 items searchable through the University Library Catalogue. The business and personal papers of the Editions de l'Oiseau-Lyre Archive are searchable through the catalogue of the University of Melbourne Archives.
The 245-item strong Hanson-Dyer Collection comprises European music imprints, first editions and music manuscripts from the 15th to the early 19th centuries.
Unique items from the Hanson-Dyer collection have engendered significant musicological studies such as Michael Treder’s volume on the Album für die Laute (LHD 243). And an issue of Musica Disciplina (v. 60) presents a full facsimile and research articles by six scholars about the compendium of theoretical texts from the collection, Regole del canto fermo (LHD 244).
This highly significant collection includes rare French operatic works and British publications, works of the Italian renaissance and books on music theory. There are also rare volumes of instrumental music and a number of fine instrumental “methods”.
You can browse the collection in the University of Melbourne Library catalogue or consult the published catalogue, compiled in 2006, by Denis Herlin, Catalogue de la collection musicale Hanson-Dyer, Université de Melbourne... .
Since the arrival of this collection, Rare Music has acquired many additional items consistent with Hanson-Dyer’s interests, making pre-1900 European music and books a notable collection strength for Rare Music.
To view items
Requests to view items from the collection are welcome; click the "Request to view in Reading Room" button located to the right of the Library catalogue record for each item from the Hanson-Dyer collection. The Reading Room is on the 3rd floor Baillieu Library.
In 2013, the Monaco-based music publisher Éditions de l’Oiseau-Lyre (Lyrebird Press), established by Australian Louise Hanson-Dyer in 1932, closed and in September that year its archive arrived at the University of Melbourne, where it is now a part of the Rare Music collection.
The archive includes business records and correspondence, including letters from leading composers, artists and writers. There are also personal papers, Louise Hanson-Dyer’s memorabilia, her own library and some artworks. The archive features a “President’s Collection” (previously shelved together in Monaco), comprising one copy of almost every one of the Press’s print publications; a substantial collection of manuscript scores, many in the composer's hand; and printed scores and performance parts. There are also 78 and 331/3 rpm audio recordings, publication proofs and press clippings.
The Editions de l’Oiseau-Lyre archive promises significant new insights into one of the twentieth-century’s most important music publishing houses and is an important resource for researchers.
Cataloguing the archive
Library cataloguing or archival listing of the collection, with the exception of the sound recordings, was completed in 2018 and each series (or sub-collection) is discoverable. The first to be completed was “Music for performance and publication”, available through the Library catalogue. Music manuscripts include those in the hands of Canteloube, Daniel-Lesur, Glanville-Hicks, Ibert, Ikonomov, Koechlin, Landré, Milhaud, Oubradous, Sauguet and Sutherland. You can view a description of the entire series and detailed catalogue records have been prepared for each of the 266 items.
Also catalogued is the Editions de l’Oiseau-Lyre’s reference library (254 items); the “President's collection” (308 items); and Louise Hanson-Dyer's personal library (257 items): each of these items can be located in the University Library catalogue. The archive's holding of 33 rpm sound recordings, mostly, but not exclusively, Editions de l'Oiseau-Lyre's own has not been catalogued or listed.
During the first half of 2016 an archivist worked intensively on the Editions de l’Oiseau-Lyre archive making detailed listings of fifteen series of records and re-housing much of the collection. These series include “Musicians’, writers’ and artists’ letters”, “Louise Hanson-Dyer photographs, artworks and memorabilia”, “Business records and personal papers of Louise Hanson-Dyer” and “Editorial and administrative records”; they have proved to be a rich resource for researchers. The listings are accessible through the University of Melbourne Archives catalogue and also online.
In 2017 a grant from the Mieugunyah Fund and the expertise of specialist staff at the Grimwade Centre for Cultural Materials Conservation, especially Peter Mitchelson, led to the conservation of an extraordinary visitors' book (sample page below) owned by Louise Hanson-Dyer.
Recent projects and events
A number of research projects centered on the archive took place in the University library in 2018. One of these was the digitisation of the archive's holdings of 78 rpm recordings issued by Editions de l'Oiseau-lyre, which will be available online in the future. Another research project (undertaken by Reetika Khanna) examined and documented the nine artworks in the visitors' book and their context, and shaped them into an online exhibition.
On 18 and 19 May 2018, the University library co-hosted with the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music a two-day international symposium: "Louise Dyer and Editions de l'Oiseau-lyre: The establishment of a music press". The symposium, free and open to the public, celebrated the prodigious achievements of Louise Dyer, focusing on the period from the establishment of the Press until the end of the War (1932-1945). During this time she published, in Paris, beautifully designed and presented volumes of print music edited by leading musicologists: the complete works of Francois Couperin (12 v.) was first, then other groundbreaking "early music" repertoire followed. She also championed contemporary French and Australian composers and visual artists and released a substantial catalogue of 78 rpm discs. Eminent Paris-based librarian/musiciologist Catherine Massip was the symposium's keynote speaker and each day of the symposium closed with a short concert in Melba Hall.
In 2019 the 78rpm disc digitisation project continued. With the generous co-operation of Presbyterian Ladies College, Burwood, the number of early L'Oiseau-Lyre sound recordings accessible on request has now risen to 174. Another digitisation project has led to the online availability, in 2020, of over 60 images of photographs from the archive.
For further information about the Editions de l'Oiseau-Lyre archive please contact the Curator, Music.
The Rare Music collection includes a wealth of Australian music in both manuscript and print.
Composers Richard Mills, Margaret Sutherland, Linda Phillips, Dorian Le Gallienne and others are strongly represented in manuscript. Maggs Composition Award works (listed below) also form part of the manuscript collection.
The Australian print music collection spans nearly 200 years and includes popular as well as western art music. Sheet music associated with World War I, featuring illustrated covers, is a particular collection strength.
Albert H. Maggs of Toorak in Victoria, bookmaker, presented to the University in 1966 a sum of money for the purpose of founding an award to be known as "The Albert H. Maggs Composition Award" with the expressed wish that this award should encourage and assist composers of classical music who might otherwise abandon their efforts for want of means.
The following is a list of the recipients of the award and the works held in Rare Music, Special Collections.
ALbert H. Maggs Composition Awards
LACHLAN SKIPWORTH: The crossing: for mixed sextet and tape
PETER KNIGHT: Diomira
JULIAN YU: Passacaglia
TIM DARGAVILLE: between breath and word for chamber ensemble
BRENTON BROADSTOCK: Syzygy
ANDREW FORD: Once upon a time there were two brothers ...
KATY ABBOTT: Introduced species : for orchestra
PAUL STANHOPE: I wasn't one of the six million
KATE NEAL: Paper scissors dog
BARRY CONYNGHAM: Showboat Kalang, for ensemble
MARK ISAACS: Sextet for Strings
JOHANNA SELLECK: Four Tapestries : for string orchestra
JOHN PETERSON: Guilty Pleasures : for mixed instrumental ensemble
NIGEL BUTTERLEY: Spindles of the stars (2005) for chamber ensemble
DOMINIK KARSKI: Inward : for piccolo flute, bass clarinet and piano
LAWRENCE WHIFFIN: Concerto for violin and five instruments
STUART GREENBAUM: Sonata for alto saxophone and piano
GERARD BROPHY: Topolo-NRG
WILFRED LEHMANN: Suite in four movements
CHRISTOPHER WILLCOCK: Akhmatova Requiem : song cycle ...
DAVID JOSEPH: Rhapsody : for piano solo
WILFRED LEHMANN: Five pieces for flute, violin and clarinet
THOMAS REINER: Flexions : for flute and guitar
GERARD BROPHY: Trip
LESLEIGH THOMPSON: Poison : for orchestra
MARK POLLARD: 'A view from the beach' : Symphony no.1 ...
STEPHEN CRONIN: Cries and whispers (after Ingmar Bergman)
MARY FINSTERER: Catch
No award made
JULIAN YU: Reclaimed Prefu : for two pianos, 1989
WARREN BURT: Canter's Deli : for orchestra
ANDREW SCHULTZ: Reading a View
BRENTON BROADSTOCK: Battlements : for orchestra (1986)
BOZIDAR KOS: No score received
RICHARD MILLS: No score received
LARRY SITSKY: Santana : Concerto for Clarinet and Strings
DAVID WORRALL: Images for two pianos
VINCENT PLUSH : Sinfonia & RICHARD HAMES No.13 Ku ...
BARRY CONYNGHAM: String Quartet
TRISTRAM CARY: Strands : for two pianos and four tracks...
ERIC GROSS: Trilogy for Orchestra, op.112
DONALD HOLLIER: Concerto V : recitatives, rhymes and rhythms
GRAHAM HAIR: Trumpet Sequences : for trumpet in D & piano
GEORGE DREYFUS: Old Melbourne : for guitar & bassoon
RAYMOND HANSON: Divertimento for Woodwind Quintet
KEITH HUMBLE: Statico III : for Orchestra
COLIN BRUMBY: A Ballade for St. Cecilia : Cantata ...
LARRY SITSKY: Concerto for Violin and Orchestra
NIGEL BUTTERLEY: Meditations of Thomas Traherne