La Mort du duc de Guise

August 25, 2009

Music notes

Alhambra Theatre , London

‘At a “private exhibition” yesterday afternoon, Messers. Pathe Freres, in conjunction with the management, showed on the cinematograph  three wordless plays from Paris.’

‘On the cinematograph we saw not only the murder …but glimpses of the life of cafes , grand and humble …and all sorts of thrilling things, including a  danse d’Apache by Mlle. Mistenguette and a man.’

‘All these, of course,  not in the flesh, but on the films , while the orchestra played….next came a version of  L’Arlesienne… and finally the Murder of the Duke of Guise, a play specially composed for  this kind of performance , by M. Lavenden, and acted by no lesser people than M. le Bargey, M. Albert Lambert, and Mlle. Gabrielle Robbinne.’  The Times, Saturday, Nov 21, 1908; pg. 13; Issue 38810; col

Camille Saint-Saens wrote in 1908 the first modern film score for the cinema, for the silent film Murder of the Duke of Guise [sometimes refered to as  L’Assassinat du duc de Guise].    The film only ran for about 18 minutes, but has become of great historical importance in the development of silent films, film scores, and sound of  the ‘talkies’.  Silent films were still popular in France up to the 1930s.

It is interesting to note that as the film achieved critical acclaim, going some way of launching the fledgeling film industry into popular culture, Saint-Saëns did not himself seek the notariety associated with later film-stars and film score composers.   Saint-Saëns wrote to the German journalist M. Levin in 1901  “I take very little notice of either praise or censure, not because I have an exalted idea of my own merits (which would be foolish), but because in doing my work, and fulfilling the function of my nature, as an apple-tree grows apples, I have no need to trouble myself with other people’s views.”

The Union of Film Music Composers [UFMC] is celebrating the centenary of film music, in association with the Federation of Film and Audiovisual Composers of Europe [FFACE].  UFMC writes that   ‘Le film marque un tournant dans l’histoire du cinéma en édifiant d’une première pierre l’histoire de la musique originale : la composition de Saint-Saëns suit très précisément chaque scène, n’autorisant au chef aucune désynchronisation avec l’image. D’autres extraits de musiques de films ainsi qu’une masterclass suivront la projection.’

 If you would like to lean more about Saint-Saëns and early film music, please see the links below….

Musical memories by Camille Saint-Saëns

French cinema : from its beginnings to the present by Rémi Fournier Lanzoni  shelved on L evel 2 at 791.430944/LAN

The sounds of early cinema /edited by Richard Abel and Rick Altman  shelved on Level 2 at 791.4309/SOU

Spellbound in darkness :a history of the silent film by George C. Pratt shelved on Level 2 at 791.4309/PRA

The ciné goes to town :French cinema, 1896-1914 /Richard Abel shelved on Level 2 at 791.430944/ABE

Musicians of To-Day, by Romain Rolland [1915]

Film and Sound Online – a set of collections of film and video. Login via UK Federation, choose Loughborough University (ATHENS) from the drop-down list then login with your Athens username and password.   Available via MetaLib.


Different significations

August 13, 2009



 Samuel Johnson Tercentenary 2009 

‘This Month will be publifhed, in Two large VOLUMES in FOLIO (Price bound Four Pounds Ten Shillings) A DICTIONARY of the ENGLISH LANGUAGE ; In which the Words are deducted from their Originals and illuftrated in their different Significations, by Examples from the beft Writers.  To which are prefixed, a GRAMMAR and a HISTORY of the LANGUAGE by SAMUEL JOHNSON A.M. ‘

Public Advertiser (London, England), Saturday, March 1, 1755; Issue 6346

Creating and publishing dictionaries had been popular by Johnson’s time,  when previously the idea of looking up information in a book, using the front and middle and end of a book, A-Z , had been a relative novelty.

Johnson was an extraordinary writer, always strapped for cash, and the dictionary became a great challege for him to compile over many years, sifting out words and descriptions suitable for his readers from those he felt were not suitable  [every language has … its improprieties and absurdities, which it is the duty of the lexicographer to correct or proscribe..  ‘ Preface to the Dictionary]

It is interesting to note that Johnson was well aware that despite the publishing of a list of words and their meanings, the English language would still grow and develop.  In the preface of the the Dictionary he tells his reader that ‘sounds are too volatile and subtile for legal restraints….Those who have much leisure to think, will always be enlarging the stock of ideas, and every increase of knowledge, whether real or fancied, will produce new words, or combinations of words.’

Johnson’s friends were perhaps rightly aggreived to see the poor send off the author received at Westminster Abbey when Johnson died in 1784.    Wax candles had been ordered, along with the playing of the organ, however one person observed  that ‘not a key of the organ was ftruck, or a fingle taper was lighted up on the occaifon.  The fervice, the mutilated fervice, was mumbled over …in the moft unfkilful and unfeeling manner….’ Public Advertiser (London, England), Tuesday, December 28, 1784; Issue 15785


If you would like to learn more about Dr Samuel John and his time, please see the resources below.

Domestick privacies :Samuel Johnson and the art of biography /edited by David Wheeler  shelved on Level 2 at 828.6 JOH/DOM

The political writings of Dr. Johnson /edited by J.P. Hardy shelved on Level 2 at 942.07/JOH

The life of Samuel Johnson /James Boswell ; edited, abridged and annotated by John Canning shelved on Level 2 at 828.6 JOH/BOS

BBC Stoke and Stafforshire

Icons – a portrait of England

Johnson Collection

Dr Johnson’s House

Samuel Johnson Tercentenary

Samuel Johnson Birthplace Museum

Project Muse

July 6, 2009


 question mark 1


Project MUSE is excited to announce two new features that help users more easily locate articles relevant to their research.

The new features are: 

A ‘Search this Journal’ search box. This search box appears on each journal’s home page, on the Table of Contents (TOC) of each issue, and on each article.

The ‘Search This Journal’ feature enables a user to quickly check all issues of the journal in MUSE, with a single search, for all articles in that journal pertaining to a particular subject.

Summaries (abstracts) for articles. MUSE now provides a link for the summary of each article. Users know that the ability to scan summaries of articles is essential to determining which articles are relevant to their research.

That ability is now available in MUSE. The Summary links appear on the TOCs and in search results, next to the article format options of HTML and PDF.

MUSE on MetaLib

Project Muse is available on MetaLib

Your Athens username and password is required to access this database.  If you do not have your Athens username and password please contact Ask a Librarian.

MUSE on Facebook 

MUSE has been on Facebook for some time now….Find MUSE at  Become a fan of MUSE! You can also follow Muse on Twitter, @ProjectMUSE.

Rock’s Backpages

June 3, 2009


Guitar2 Loughborough University Library now subscribes to the new database Rock’s Backpages.

Rock’s Backpages is an online database of rock music writing, with material dating from the late 1950’s to the present day.

The library of articles includes reviews, interviews and features, which are fully searchable and presented in full-text.

The database also includes Mp3 audio files of original artist interviews, which are available for the first time.

There are now over fourteen thousand articles on the site, featuring over two thousand artists with up to fifty new articles added each week.

You can access the database from on-campus via MetaLib

For off-campus access please login to the Library pages via the Remote Working Portal .

Loughborough University Department of Social Sciences.

Loughborough University Department of Politics, International Relations and European Studies


This musical Shakespeare

May 5, 2009


haydn1 Haydn During Storm © Getty Images

In July 1791 a letter appeared in the Whitehall Evening post . 

‘Dear Sir….I cannot pafs through Oxford without a few remarks upon the progresf of the Arts in this ancient Univerfity….Music has ftill made further ftrides towards perfection…Can any thing exhibit the improved tafte in that divine fince fo juftly as the degree juft given to the modeft Haydn by the University – this musical SHAKESPEARE – this musical Drawcanfir, who can equal the strains of a Cherub, and enchant in all the gradations between thefe and a ballard – a genius whofe verfatility comprehends all the powers of harmony, and all the energy, pathos and paffion of melody! – who can ftun with thunder or warble with a bird! ‘ Whitehall Evening Post (1770) (London, England), Thursday, July 28, 1791; Issue 6702

Franz Joseph Haydn was born in Austria in 1732 enjoyed princely patronage and produced some of the finest music of the age, earning the epithet Father of the Symphony as well as Father of the String Quartet.  It is said that his oratorio Die Schöpfung [The Creation- composed between 1796 and 1798] was written after he undertook a stormly sea voyage when he travelled to England via the Straits of Dover in 1791.  Haydn wrote a letter to Marianne von Genzinger, having safely arrived in London in January 1791 that…

‘I went on board ship at half past 7 in the morning, and at 5 P. M., thanks to the Highest ! I reached Dover sound «nd in good condition…..At first, for four hours long, we had hardly any wind, and the ship moved so slowly that during these four hours we made no more than a single Englieh mile, of which there are from Calais to Dover.  Luckily however, the wind rose about half-past eleven, and so favorably, that by 4 P. M. we had left 22 miles behind us…majority.

During the entire passage I remained above on the vessel fön deck, that I might have enough of looking at that monstrous animal—the sea. So long as the calm continued I had no fear ; hut at last, as the wind grew stronger and I saw the huge boisterous waves rushing upon us, a slight anxiety fell upon me, and with it some degree of sickness. However I conquered all this and, saving your precsence, without vomiting, happily reached the shore…. After reaching London, only, did I really feel the hardships of the journey. It took two days for me to recover myself….’


The University Library subscribes to over 70 music journals, available online via MetaLib   [Athens username and password required for off campus access]

If you would like to learn more about Joseph Haydn and his music, please see the links below…

Joseph Haydn – BBC website

Franz Joseph Haydn


Music available to listen to…

Andante and Variations in F minor, Hob XVII:6 (composed in 1793)

Piano Concerto in D Major, Hob.XVIII


Franz Joseph Haydn – Serenade


Full text online material available…

The Lives of Haydn and Mozart [1818]

The life of Haydn, in a series of letters written at Vienna [1839]

Haydn’s Welsh Songs – Marjorie E. Rycroft [2008]

Music Literature Outlines Series V Chamber Music From Haydn To Ravel – Harold Gleason [1955]

The Reception of Franz Joseph Haydn in Austria and Germany 1798-1830: Biography and Criticism – Ellis T. Anderson II [2005]

Gipsy rondo [music] : for piano

Haydn‘s early symphonic development sections and eighteenth-century theories of modulation – Anait Keuchguerian [1998]


Books online

Haydn, The Creation   By Nicholas Temperley

Haydn and his world  By Elaine Rochelle Sisman

Dwight’s journal of music    By John Sullivan Dwight 



World Digital Library (WDL)

April 27, 2009




The World Digital Library (WDL) makes available on the Internet, free of charge and in multilingual format, significant primary materials from countries and cultures around the world.

The principal objectives of the WDL are to:

  • Promote international and intercultural understanding;
  • Expand the volume and variety of cultural content on the Internet;
  • Provide resources for educators, scholars, and general audiences;
  • Build capacity in partner institutions to narrow the digital divide within and between countries


The World Digital Library (WDL), hosted by The Library of Congress and on mirror sites, provides links to its partner organization Web sites.

The WDL home page contains a world map and a timeline.  The content is organized by geographic region on the map.  

Each region is associated with a group of countries.  

Each region includes content-rare books, maps, manuscripts, photographs, prints, sound recordings, films-about the countries in that region

Handel bars

April 22, 2009




The year 1749.  The scene – London

‘Thurfday Orders were iffued to the Officers of the Horfe and Foot Guards, for their feveral Difpofitions on the Night of the Fireworks are to be exhibited.   Monday the Musik compos’d by Mr Handel for the Firework in the Green Park, was rehears’d  at his Houfe in Brook Street, Grofvenor Square.  The Band confifts of upward of 100 Trumpets,  Baffoons, Hautboys, French Horns, Kettle Drums, and other Inftruments.   We hear that 3672 Tickets for the Fireworks are to be given to the Nobility, Gentry and Citizens, 1800 of which, we are affured,  are for the latter.  The Building for playing off the Fireworks is near finifhed, some of the Statues, and feveral of the Paintings  being already fix’d. ‘ Old England (London, England), Saturday, April 22, 1749; Issue 260

After returning to London in 1712, and settling to stay,  Georg Friedrich Händel’s music was always in great demand for state occasions, for concerts, opera and the theatre, for sacred and private performances.   Händel’s music was so popular that when the second rehearsal for the Fireworks music took place in 1749 it developed into something like a free concert for passers-by and daily traffic, who are said to have stopped and jammed London Bridge for up to three hours.  


Händel lived through unquiet times.  He had been born the same year as Charles II died, the Nine Years War started two years later, in 1702 the War of the Spannish Succession began, later in 1715 the first Jacobite Rebellion started, 1718 saw the War of the “Quadruple Alliance”, 1740 War of the Austrian Succession, 1745 the second Jacobite Rebellion started.  Händel’s Music for the Royal Fireworks turned out to be the last music he wrote as a royal ceremonial commission.   The music was writtent to celebrate the Peace Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle, which ended to War of the Austrian Succession in 1749, which had been raging for around eight years.


Like today, fireworks were a popular form of entertainment in the 18th century.  In one piece of music Händel used the theme of fireworks in a composition entitled ‘Celebrated Fire Musick”, originally written for Atalanta, performed in Dublin in 1741 before using the idea in the Music for the Royal Fireworks.  A contempory account of the event has come down to us from the newpaper Old England…


‘On Thurfday Night, the Fireworks, on Account of the Peace, were exhibited from the Building, erected in the Green Park, St James’s, for the Purpofe.  They were mighty fine,  &c.  and gave more than general satisfaction .  The Sun diffufed it’s Glory a very confiderable Time,  near Fifty-Seconds.  The whole was conducted with great Skill and Dexterity, and the right Side of the Machine, increafing the Illumination, would have concluded the Night  with a Bonfire of the whole Building, not withftanding the Playing of the three Engines to extinuifth it , had not the Grenadiers not intercepted the Flames by pulling down part of the Edifice to fave the reft.    We hear of no Mifcheif done among the Mob, except a lufty Man who, having the Folly to think himfelf a Climber,  fell down from a Tree, and pretty much bruifed himfelf…’   Old England (London, England), Saturday, April 29, 1749; Issue


Johann Sebastian Bach is reported to have said “[Handel] is the only person I would wish to see before I die, and the only person I would wish to be, were I not Bach.”


If you would like to find out more about the life, times and music of Georg Friedrich Händel, please see the links below.



Handel: Music for the Royal Fireworks 1/2 (Ouverture)


G.F. Handel Home Page


The Handel Institute


The Foundling Hospital


Handel House Museum



Music scores are avaiable for borrowing from Loughborough University Library, on Level 2, for example…


The Musick for the Royal Fireworks. Shelved at 780.84/HAN 

Keyboard works / Klavierwerke Second set of 1733.  Shelved at 786.405/HAN 

Twelve concerti grossi for string instruments , op. 6, no 1-12  Shelved at 786.405/HAN 

The Water music.  Shelved at 780.84/HAN


Books avaiable for borrowing from Loughborough University Library, on Level 2, for example…

Music in eighteenth-century England :essays in memory of Charles Cudworth /edited by Christopher Hogwood and Richard Luckett     Shelved at 780.942/HOG

Handel and his world by Howard Chandler Robbins    Shelved at 780.92 HAN/LAN
The Possessor and the possessed :Handel, Mozart, Beethoven, and the idea of musical genius  by Peter Kivy  Shelved at 780.92/KIV


Online journals available for research from Loughborough University Library, available form MetaLib, for example…


Early Music

Leonardo Music Journal

Eighteenth-Century Music


[Off campus access available using Athens username and password or by logging in to the Remote Working Portal]


Books available on the web


Water music ; and, Music for the royal fireworks  By George Frideric Handel [score]


Handel  By Christopher Hogwood