Friday, 22 February 2008

The work of a choir librarian

In my work in the Oratory choir as well as singing bass and tenor I also hold the post of choir librarian. This job entails preparing the music and chant propers for mass and vespers rehearsals. The other task is also maintaining and building up the stock of nearly 1000 sets of music, each containing usually 30 copies.

Motets A - Z

Masses A- Z: (The Dvorak Mass in D you see was performed here in the Oratory in the presence of the composer.)

This library was started by Cardinal Newman, who was the first prefect of music. The main bulk of it is the work of two illustrious directors of music, William Sewell and Henry Collins. Both of them were instrumental in the revival of 16th century polyphony in England in the early 20th century, and both of them produced many fine hand written editions, some of which are still used by us today. This is 'Sicut Cervus', a latin adaptation by William Sewell of 'As the hart pants' by Felix Mendelssohn.

Some of the sets have seen over a century of use and are becoming a little worse for wear. Many of them were edited and published from the Caecilian School of church music in Regensburg at the end of the 19th century: editions by F.X. Harberl, I. Mitterer and P. Griesbacher. So on an ongoing basis I am scanning and reduplicating the sets onto A3 sheets, and putting the old copies into archive storage. This morning I had to duplicate Palestrina's 'Justitiae Domini' from an old Harberl score from 1896 for use tomorrow at high mass:

This is one I prepared earlier!


Anonymous said...

So that's where you disappear to every evening! Pretty impressive!

Fr PF said...

Well done, Oliver. I hope those who use these sheets in the future will remember to pray for you.

John the organist said...

How interesting!