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
Louise Hanson-Dyer’s 78 rpm Oiseau-Lyre recordings of the music of her contemporaries
In the 1930s Louise Hanson-Dyer established the Editions de l’Oiseau-Lyre music press in Paris, naming it after Australia’s lyrebird. In a remarkably short time she produced a prodigious number of scholarly editions of early music. From December 1937 Hanson-Dyer diversified, firstly issuing sound recordings on 10 and 12 inch 78 rpm discs. These were given distinctive purple labels – her favourite colour – and a new lyrebird logo with the bird in profile.1
Hanson-Dyer was drawn to the idea of illustrating the music she published with recordings on disc. This pairing of scores and recordings was something entirely new and it proved attractive to both young and established composers, some of whom might not otherwise have considered publishing with a smaller firm like Oiseau-Lyre. Although not all the works recorded on 78s were published as scores and/or instrumental parts, most were; in some instances, a recording would precede the release of the printed music.
A range of instrumentations can be heard on the 78 rpm discs: from one to four pianos, tuned to realise quarter tones; and from reed trio to chamber orchestra. Similarly, the recordings feature a mixture of experienced and up-and-coming performers, many of whom were Hanson-Dyer’s personal friends. One such group is the Trio d’Anches de Paris, the pioneering reed trio consisting of Fernand Oubradous (bassoon), Myrtil Morel (oboe), and Pierre Lefèbvre (clarinet). Hanson-Dyer was a fierce promoter of the group in the 1930s and beyond, and the three musicians feature extensively across the 78-rpm catalogue in recordings not only of modern compositions and arrangements, but also of early music with woodwind parts.
Since the Oiseau-Lyre 78s entered production in the late 1930s, their sound quality is perhaps clearer than one might expect from ‘early’ recordings. As opposed to acoustical recordings from the beginning of the twentieth century (which required the artist to sing or play straight into a horn), 78 rpm discs date from the electrical era, meaning they were recorded with an electric microphone and amplifier. This technology made it possible to capture a wider variety of sounds with enhanced clarity.2
Ibert – Cinq pièces en trio for oboe, clarinet and bassoon
Although it was the first contemporary work recorded on the Oiseau-Lyre label, the Cinq pièces en trio by Jacques Ibert (1890–1962) were not actually commissioned by Hanson-Dyer; Ibert had composed them for the Trio d’Anches de Paris in 1935 and subsequently offered them to Oiseau-Lyre for recording. Hanson-Dyer knew Ibert through the chamber music society Triton, of which he was a committee member and she was a patron, and she had already published his music in 1934 for the Pipeaux volume, Oiseau-Lyre’s first publication of contemporary French music.3 The Trio d’Anches recorded Ibert’s Trio during their first session for Oiseau-Lyre in December 1937 at the Pathé-Marconi studio in Paris. The recording was released commercially in early 1938, and Hanson-Dyer published the instrumental parts in 1947.
Barraud – Trio for oboe, clarinet and bassoon
Like Ibert, Henry Barraud (1900–1997) would have met Hanson-Dyer through the chamber society Triton, which he founded alongside the composers Pierre-Octave Ferroud and Jean Rivier. Barraud’s Trio for oboe, clarinet and bassoon was composed in 1935 for the Trio d’Anches de Paris, who recorded the piece for Oiseau-Lyre in December 1937. It was released on disc and published as parts in 1938, an example of Hanson-Dyer’s innovative use of recordings to increase her sales of printed music. Barraud’s Trio is complex but aesthetically appealing, balancing sharply articulated rhythms with simple, folk-like melodies. Its recurring use of unison writing also showcases the unique sonorities made possible by the combination of instruments in the reed trio.
Oubradous – Arrangements of 17th and 18th century music for reed trio
In addition to the unparalleled virtuosity of the players, an important part of the Trio d’Anches de Paris’s legacy was the sheer number of new works commissioned especially for them. On top of this, the group’s founder and bassoonist Fernand Oubradous (1903–1986) prepared numerous reed trio arrangements of works originally for keyboard or ensemble, some of which were published and recorded on the Oiseau-Lyre label. The first, and the only example included here, Bach’s Prelude & Fugue in B minor (OL 8), was released on a single disc in early 1938 and supplemented by a set of parts shortly after. This release was soon followed by the fourth of Mozart’s Cinq divertissements, released across two separate discs (OL 15/16). Later in 1938, Oiseau-Lyre released the Trio d’Anches’s recording of Mozart’s fifth divertissement (OL 36/37), and the first, second and third of the same set (OL 64/65, OL 66/67, OL 68/69) were recorded at the very end of the year, ready for commercial release in early 1939. Hanson-Dyer published the scores of Oubradous’s Mozart arrangements in the same order: the fourth and fifth in 1938 and 1939 respectively, and the first, second and third in 1946.
Noël Gallon – Récit et Allegro for bassoon and piano
Noël Gallon (1891–1966) was a Prix de Rome-winning composer who taught solfege and counterpoint at the Paris Conservatoire. He was the younger brother of the composer Jean Gallon, who had realised the figured bass parts for the two volumes of Couperin’s chamber music published by Oiseau-Lyre in 1933. Noël Gallon’s Récit et Allegro for bassoon and piano was written for his friend, the celebrated bassoon soloist Fernand Oubradous. The short but virtuosic piece was recorded on a single side of a 78 rpm disc, released in early 1938 with a composition by Oubradous on the B-side. Récit et Allegro was published in print the same year and has since become a standard of the bassoon repertoire. It was even adapted in 2013 by the bassoonist Marc Vallon into a version with string quartet accompaniment.
Oubradous – Cadence et divertissement sur un air populaire for clarinet with piano accompaniment
Not only an accomplished bassoonist and arranger, Fernand Oubradous was also known during his lifetime as a conductor and composer. He is credited as a performer across many Oiseau-Lyre discs, but only one features an original Oubradous composition: his Cadence et divertissement for clarinet, written for fellow Trio d’Anches member Pierre Lefèbvre. The piece, which was published in print by Oiseau-Lyre in 1938, embellishes the melody of a popular French song so as to make full use of the clarinet’s virtuosic capabilities. The expressive style and moments of tasteful vibrato that Lefèbvre employs in the recording make it an interesting historical document for those interested in twentieth-century performance practice.
Milhaud – Suite d’après Corrette for oboe, clarinet and bassoon4
Hanson-Dyer had promoted the music of Darius Milhaud (1892–1974) since the mid-1920s in Melbourne5, so it should come as no surprise that one of the first modern compositions recorded on Oiseau-Lyre 78s was one of his. His Suite d’après Corrette for oboe, clarinet and bassoon was not a Oiseau-Lyre commission, however. It was composed in 1937 as incidental music for a play and, after adapting it into a concert version, Milhaud offered it to Hanson-Dyer for publication. The suite was released on disc and in print in 1938 and, unlike the trios before it, Hanson-Dyer also made Milhaud’s piece available as a pocket score – perhaps because of her particular fondness for his music. The Suite d’après Corrette is composed in the neoclassical style characteristic of twentieth-century French wind music, blending modernist musical techniques with themes borrowed from the 18th century French composer Michel Corrette. The Trio d’Anches’s recording of the suite features a number of added repeats and non-notated modifications, indicating either that the group performed it in a liberated style – one that extended the piece’s 18th century influences – or that they simply wanted to fill all four sides of their allocated discs.6 Either scenario makes the recording a valuable historical artefact.
Bate – Sonata for flute and piano
English composer Stanley Bate (1911–1959) is often remembered today for his eleven-year marriage to the famous Australian composer Peggy Glanville-Hicks, whom he had met while studying at the Royal College of Music in London. Though he struggled to find success after World War II, Bate was a prolific composer and his works achieved considerable acclaim in the 1920s and 30s. One of his first chamber music compositions was the Sonata for Flute and Piano (op. 11, 1937), written upon his return to England after two years of study with Nadia Boulanger in Paris. Whereas Bate’s earlier works are more reminiscent of his former teacher Vaughan Williams, Boulanger’s influence can be clearly heard in the Flute Sonata’s succinct yet expressive musical lines and unpretentious use of form. Hanson-Dyer accepted the sonata for publication in late 1937 and, in an effort to help further the composer’s career, she engaged the leading Parisian flautist Marcel Moyse (1889–1984) to record it. The 1938 recording also features Moyse’s son Louis, who performed with his father as a part of the Trio Moyse (Louis’s wife, the violinist Blanche Honegger Moyse, was the third member). The Flute Sonata would remain the only one of Bate’s works to be published by Oiseau-Lyre – Hanson-Dyer commissioned him to compose four more pieces but was deeply offended to learn that he was attempting to acquire deals with bigger publishers behind her back. The Éditions de l’Oiseau-Lyre Archive holds four unpublished Bate manuscripts – probably the four pieces commissioned in 1937. “There are so many interesting people to publish,” Hanson-Dyer wrote in 1943, “I feel there is no need to be bothered by a Stanley Bate.”7
Wyschnegradsky – Ainsi parlait Zarathoustra: Symphony in a quarter-tone system for four pianos, 3rd movement
Recorded in October 1938, the most avant-garde of the music in the Oiseau-Lyre catalogue of 78s is the third, slow movement of Ainsi parlait Zarathoustra: Symphony in a quarter-tone system for four pianos by Russian émigré composer, Ivan Wyschnegradsky (1893–1979). The pianists – Monique Haas, Ina Marika, Edward Staempfli and Max Vredenburg – had premiered this version of the work early the previous year at the Salle Chopin-Pleyel in Paris. Correspondence in the archive indicates that the first formal meeting between Hanson-Dyer and Wyschnegradsky took place in May 1938, and was suggested by British composer and pianist Alan Bush.
The microtones in the piece are achieved by tuning two of the pianos at concert pitch and the other two a quarter tone higher. Within the musical texture, each concert pitch-tuned piano is paired with a differently tuned piano, enabling the microtonality to be clearly audible both melodically and harmonically, and without the need to use purpose-built or modified instruments. While the disc was available commercially, the performance materials were exclusively for hire. Hanson-Dyer retained the score and parts in the composer’s hand.8
Glanville-Hicks – Choral Suite
The Rare Music Collection does not hold a copy of OL 100 in its collection, but the recording has been digitised and can be listened to at Internet Archive.
Written in 1937 while she was studying with Nadia Boulanger in Paris, Peggy Glanville-Hicks’s (1912–1990) Choral Suite is a setting of five poems by John Fletcher for female chorus, oboe, and string orchestra. Glanville-Hicks offered the work to Hanson-Dyer for publication in 1937, and in 1938 two movements were performed at the International Society for Contemporary Music (ISCM) festival in London - the first time Australia had been represented in the event’s sixteen-year history. Hanson-Dyer subsequently released the work on disc. Although the performers are unnamed, the Oiseau-Lyre 78 features the same two movements as were performed at the ISCM, and no evidence in the Éditions de l’Oiseau-Lyre Archive points towards another recording being made in Paris; the disc probably features the recording made by the BBC at the London premiere. For this performance, Sir Adrian Boult conducted the BBC String Orchestra and BBC Singers, and the English oboist Joy Boughton performed the solo part.
Landré – Suite for String Orchestra and Piano
Little known today outside of the Netherlands, Guillaume Landré (1905–1968) was an important Dutch composer, and one of the first contemporary composers in whom Hanson-Dyer showed a genuine interest. She had first heard his music at the 1933 ISCM Festival in Amsterdam and swiftly agreed to print his 1929 Piano Trio upon learning that none of his music had yet been published. This short piece achieved limited recognition, but the next work of Landré’s that Hanson-Dyer published – his 1936 Suite for String Orchestra and Piano – marked a turning point in his career. The short, motivic fragments that characterised Landré’s earlier music, an influence from his teacher Willem Pijper, was replaced in the Suite by a broader, more lyrical style. The work quickly became popular amongst local and international orchestras. Like Glanville-Hicks’s Choral Suite, Landré’s Suite for String Orchestra and Piano represented the Netherlands at the London ISCM festival – in fact, it was programmed immediately before the Choral Suite on the performance of 20 June 1938. Again like Glanville-Hicks’s piece, Hanson-Dyer released Landré’s Suite on a 78 rpm disc in 1939; however, the recording comprises only the second (Elégie) and third (Vivace) movements and does not include performer credits, suggesting that the audio is also that captured by the BBC at the live performance in London.
Auric – Trio for oboe, clarinet and bassoon
Unlike the earlier reed trios published by Oiseau-Lyre, Georges Auric’s (1899–1983) Trio for clarinet, oboe and bassoon (1938) was composed only after Hanson-Dyer began to print and record music concurrently, suggesting it was commissioned especially for the label. Auric was well and truly in Hanson-Dyer’s professional network – he had first written for Oiseau-Lyre in 1934 and was good friends with the composers Ibert and Milhaud, as well as the Trio d’Anches bassoonist Oubradous. Auric’s reed trio was recorded by the Trio d’Anches de Paris in March 1939, but due to the interruption of World War II the parts were not made available until 1948.
The choice of instrumentation in this piece stands out in Auric’s early period, which is comprised mostly of piano, vocal, and ensemble music for films and the stage. Yet the trio still references many of the styles and genres that influenced Auric throughout his career, from the quirky, 1920s vaudeville and circus themes in the first movement, to a more austere aesthetic reminiscent of the composer’s early film music in the second (which begins partway through the B-side of the first disc). The bouncy and jovial finale (recorded over two sides of the second disc) is constructed in five-part song form, reflecting Auric’s lifelong interest in popular music. In their rendition of this piece, the Trio d’Anches de Paris were mostly faithful to Auric’s directions, although some of their chosen tempos are much faster than marked in the already challenging score.9 That the trio could retain such clarity and synchronisation, particularly in the first movement, is testament to the extensive performance experience of the three musicians and their familiarity with each other’s playing.
Turina – Ritmos: Fantasia coreografica for piano & Kodàly – Méditation sur un motif de Claude Debussy
Discs 107 and 108 are noteworthy for featuring music that, unlike some of the works recorded on Oiseau-Lyre 78s, was written by living composers not exactly at the cutting-edge of 1930s modernity: Joaquìn Turina (1882–1949) and Zoltàn Kodàly (1882–1967). Turina was a Spanish composer who had lived in Paris from 1904 to 1915, where he studied with Vincent d’Indy and became associated with Debussy and Ravel. His orchestral work Ritmos, subtitled ‘Fantasia coreografica’ (op. 43, 1928), was composed twelve years after the composer’s return to Madrid, and expresses nationalist spirit by adapting Spanish, Andalusian and Latin-American dance rhythms.
On the B-side of the second disc is an excerpt from a piece by Kodàly, a Hungarian composer today best known for his widely-adopted music education method. Kodàly’s Méditation sur un motif de Claude Debussy is a dreamy rumination on a fragment taken from Debussy’s only opera, Pelléas et Mélisande (1902). As neither composer was in Hanson-Dyer’s network, we can assume that the choice of repertoire was made by the performer – Louise Gargurevich, an Australian pianist who was based in Paris during the 1930s. It is unclear whether the piano version of Ritmos is the composer’s or someone else’s: after her return to Melbourne in 1939, Gargurevich told an Australian journalist that she had uncovered the score in a library in Hampstead.10
Sauguet – La Voyante : scène pour voix de femmes et petit orchestre
A fine pianist, Henri Sauguet (1901–1989) arrived in Paris from Bordeaux in 1921 and immersed himself in Parisian musical life, becoming a composition student of Charles Koechlin for many years. Sauguet was a prolific composer whose works spanned ballet, choral, orchestral, chamber and various vocal genres. As a manuscript in the composer’s hand indicates, his cantata La Voyante (The Clairvoyant) for female voice and chamber orchestra, was completed in April 1932. The score is dedicated 'Au Vicomte & à la Vicomtesse de Noailles': Marie-Laure de Noailles, an heiress of almost unimaginable wealth, was a generous and thoroughly unconventional supporter of the creative arts, in partnership with her husband.
In February 1939 La Voyante was programmed as the last item in an Editions de l’Oiseau-Lyre invitation concert of “ancient and modern” French music conducted by Roger Désormière. In the following month Hanson-Dyer recorded the work with the same performers: French mezzo-soprano Germaine Cernay and no doubt the same unnamed orchestra. The cantata has three movements: Cartomancie (fortune telling with cards); Astrologie; and Chiromancie (palmistry). Dyer produced printed parts which were hired out with a full score in a copyist’s hand; she did not publish the full score.
Koechlin – Sonata No. 2 for Clarinet and Orchestra & Calme sur la mer
An eclectic composer and important figure in French musical life, Charles Koechlin (1867–1950) was also a good friend of Hanson-Dyer. His Second Clarinet Sonata (op. 86) was composed in 1923, but in 1946 – at Hanson-Dyer’s request – he orchestrated the work especially for recording.11 The sessions took place the following year, with the Trio d’Anches clarinettist Pierre Lefèbvre performing the solo part. He was accompanied by an ensemble of Parisian musicians credited as the Ensemble Orchestral de l’Oiseau-Lyre, and conducted by Roger Désormière, a regular contributor to the press’s recordings of early and orchestral music.
As Koechlin’s music underwent continuous stylistic evolution throughout his long life, the orchestrated Clarinet Sonata is an interesting synthesis of musical language, having been originally conceived during the composer’s intensive period of chamber music writing (from 1911 to 1924), but revised some twenty years later, during his post-war immersion in orchestral writing. Oiseau-Lyre’s recording of the Clarinet Sonata unfolds over one and a half discs, with the remaining side filled out by the fourth movement of Koechlin’s Partita for Chamber Orchestra (op. 205, 1946). The extract, titled Calme sur la mer, is a plaintive duet for flute and clarinet with string accompaniment, an appropriate complement to a wind sonata.
Sauguet – Trio for oboe, clarinet and bassoon
The final reed trio to be recorded on Oiseau-Lyre 78s was another work of Henri Sauguet’s: the Trio for oboe, clarinet and bassoon, composed for the label in 1946. Sauguet’s is distinct from the earlier recorded reed trios in that it was written not for the pioneers of the interwar period; instead, it is dedicated to the Trio d’Anches René Daraux, a trio of slightly younger performers named after the oboist, and also comprising Fernand Gossens on clarinet and Ange Maugendre on bassoon. The trio’s recording of Sauguet’s piece was released commercially in 1947, meaning it preceded the printed music (which Hanson-Dyer published in parts the following year and as a pocket score in 1950).
In addition to the René Daraux Trio’s masterful interpretation of Sauguet’s spritely, folk-inspired music, these discs are interesting in that they speak to advancements in the technology used to play 78 rpm records in the home. The discs are ordered non-chronologically so as to be played on a record changer, an Australian invention that allowed its user to listen to a sequence of phonograph records without having to change the disc or side every three to five minutes.
Unfortunately, a copy of the second disc has not been located. OL 219 side A contains the first then, surprisingly, the 3rd movements; side B starts a little after figure E in the 4th Choral varié (page 21 in the miniature score) and finishes the work. The 2nd movement and beginning of the 4th movement will be on the missing disc.
Louise Hanson-Dyer (1884–1962) was a remarkable Melbourne woman, remembered both for her professional achievements and for her support of many cultural endeavours. The University of Melbourne is one of her beneficiaries. The Rare Music collection holds a substantial and diverse collection of material relating to Hanson-Dyer’s professional and personal life. The majority of this can be found in the Editions de l’Oiseau-Lyre archive.
Researched and written by Madeline Roycroft
Research assistant, Editions de l’Oiseau-Lyre projects
Audio by Jen Hill
Curator, Rare Music, Archives and Special Collections
1Funding from the Hanson Bequests has facilitated a project digitising the 78 rpm discs (OL 1 to OL 236), where copies are held or can be located. Thanks are extended to the then Principal, Ms Dawn Clements and the Archivist, Ms Jane Dyer, of Presbyterian Ladies College, Burwood, for permission to borrow and digitise discs in the school archive.
2All but one of the digital transfers were engineered by Damsmart, Canberra. This resource uses restored MP3 files. For making available his transfer of OL 70, Ainsi parlait Zarathoustra by Wyschnegradsky, thanks are extended to Peter Adamson (St Andrews, UK).
3Kerry Murphy and Madeline Roycroft, ‘Louise Dyer and contemporary French music: Publisher, Friend, Promoter “Within and Without” France,’ in Louise Dyer: Pursuit of the New (Melbourne: Lyrebird Press, forthcoming 2022).
4OL 17A has a deep scratch at the opening
5Murphy and Roycroft, ‘Louise Dyer and contemporary French music’ (forthcoming).
6Catherine McGee Stockwell, ‘The Oiseau-Lyre Wind Trios: A Critical Study of Interpretations Documented in Sound Recordings’ (PhD thesis, Universidade de Évora, 2016), 393.
7Thank you to Thalia Laughlin for sharing with me this passage from Chapter 2 of her forthcoming PhD thesis.
8More information on this composition and its context can be found in the Archives and Special Collections blog. The US premiere of the entire work took place as recently as 2019 and has been recorded by the Hocket ensemble.
9Stockwell, ‘The Oiseau-Lyre Wind Trios,’ 250.
10‘Louise Gargurevich at Celebrity Concert,’ The Wireless Weekly: The Hundred Per Cent Australian Radio Journal 36, no. 26 (1941): 17.
11Murphy and Roycroft, ‘Louise Dyer and contemporary French music’ (forthcoming).