Editions de l’Oiseau-Lyre Archive

Interior of EOL archive. Monaco.

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.

Portrait of Louise Hanson-Dyer, ca 1930, by photographer Pierre Choumoff

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

Autograph music and correspondence by the French composer, Jacques Ibert (includes EOLA MU058)

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.

Composer Arthur Hoerée and artist Dora Meeson’s entries in a visitors’ book belonging to Louise Hanson-Dyer (EOLA VISI)

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 above) owned by Louise Hanson-Dyer.

Current projects and events

A number of additional research projects centered on the archive are currently underway in the University library. One of these involves the digitisation of the archive's holdings of 78 rpm recordings issued by Editions de l'Oiseau-lyre, with the aim of creating an on-line audio archive. Another research project (undertaken by Reetika Khanna) examines and documents the nine artworks in the visitors' book and their context, and shapes them into an online exhibition.

On 18 and 19 May 2018, the University library will co-host 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, celebrates 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 is the symposium's keynote speaker; her talk is at 1pm on Saturday 19 May in the Baillieu Library. Each day of the symposium closes with a short concert in Melba Hall.

For further information about the Editions de l'Oiseau-Lyre archive please contact the Curator, Music.