In Concert

Get a flavour of the music collections of the Library of Birmingham – quirky, practical, historical, contemporary

Enriching your musical learning — October 6, 2021

Enriching your musical learning

If you’re studying to be a musician or singer, it can be easy to focus only on your course requirements. Studying for exams, building up repertoire, or an apparent lack of time can all lead to a narrowing of your musical horizons.

The Library of Birmingham’s Music Library can help you explore further afield. With many thousands of scores, books on music, and performance sets, the Music Library is one of the largest local authority music libraries in the UK. We are now fully reopened and eager to welcome new and existing customers. Joining Birmingham Libraries is free and easy to do, and many services are free of charge.

Come with us on a short tour of the Music Library and discover what we have to offer you. Continue reading

Made in Birmingham 4 – Ruth Gipps — August 4, 2021

Made in Birmingham 4 – Ruth Gipps

CBSO concert from the Proms listing
CBSO concert from the BBC Proms listing

If you’re anything like me, Ruth Gipps will be little more than a name. Admittedly as a female composer, she stirs a little more interest than some of other composers of her time. What I didn’t realise is her connection to Birmingham and the CBSO. This month’s BBC Proms concert (see above) which includes her music set me looking.

Let’s explore that connection alongside her music. Continue reading

A multitude of voices — March 10, 2021

A multitude of voices

Women composers have always had a raw deal in classical music. No more so than when it comes to having their compositions published. It’s no surprise then that a glorious array of choral music by female composers only made it to publication by resorting to crowdfunding. This Women’s History Month, let’s have a listen to (and learn about) some of the music included there.

Multitude of Voyces

logo
Website logo for Multitude of Voyces

Multitude of Voyces is a registered not-for-profit Community Interest Company set up by Louise Stewart. She and her husband, Andrew, volunteer their time and expertise as do many of the other people listed. That they’ve succeeded in publishing over 60 works by female composers (most not seen before) is astonishing. Continue reading

Time to try something new? — January 26, 2021

Time to try something new?

January is the classic time for change. Time to experiment and stretch the new you. Maybe though, we’ve had enough change over the last twelve months to last several decades. 

Whichever camp you fall into, spare a few minutes to explore with us some of the more unusual tuition books we stock. Online lessons are useful but if you’re trying to access them via a phone, you may find extra help from books welcome. Maybe you’ve tried the guitar or piano before. How about these instead? Continue reading

New music, Birmingham’s way — July 28, 2020

New music, Birmingham’s way

Commissioning new music costs money. Sometimes a lot of money. Given the everyday financial pressures on arts organisations, finding money for commissions can be difficult. New thinking required, perhaps?

I’m revisiting a post from two and a half years ago. Someone’s random view made me look at it again. The post needed an upgrade but it also fitted in with where I am right now. To save me rewriting most of the text, little account is taken of our current situation. Continue reading

Heavy metal? Brass bands and their music — July 15, 2020

Heavy metal? Brass bands and their music

We all have blind spots when it comes to music. That time when we stand listening to a friend or colleague wax lyrical about an artist or composer who leaves us cold. For me, Wagner and Delius are two such. It’s also possible to dislike whole genres. I plead guilty in this respect and point to brass bands. Daft really, because I’ve heard little of what they can do. Join me on a short exploration of British brass bands and their music. Will it change my mind? Continue reading

Singing the score at home — June 3, 2020

Singing the score at home

Whether you’re a singer or instrumentalist, opportunities for making music are still limited. Lockdown may have eased, but in this, little has changed. You can practise on your own of course, (subject to your neighbours) but that soon palls. If other people in your household are also musicians, that’s good. However it’s a fortunate home that has a perfect line-up and sufficient material. Continue reading

Made in Birmingham 2 – new listening edition — April 22, 2020

Made in Birmingham 2 – new listening edition

If social media is to be believed, this enforced stay-at-home time should be used to broaden your horizons or learn something new, rather than just surviving. In this spirit, I decided to wander off and see what Birmingham indie rock bands old and new are out there, waiting to be discovered. Usually, the library’s stock takes me on all kinds of journeys; now, of course, I have no access. My classical music bias hangs a little heavy sometimes, so this exploration should be a breath of fresh air.

Join me in this experiment. Maybe you’ll discover someone new, or perhaps you’ll just roll your eyes at my choices. Continue reading

Staying tuned – alternative engagements — April 15, 2020

Staying tuned – alternative engagements

Producing online content sounds an easy thing to do, but it isn’t. Particularly if you’ve had next-to-no warning that it will be needed. Sound familiar? As a library, we’re finding our way around the perils (and pleasures?) of making YouTube videos and other streaming content. This may form an important part of the library’s offer over the next few weeks or months. We’re lucky that some library services continue: there’s still access to e-books, e-audiobooks, and e-magazines for example.

Compare our situation with that of many arts organisations. Their primary purpose is to perform; take away that and they lose nearly all contact with the audience, their customers. Orchestras and other music groups in the UK run on a (comparative) shoestring. In normal times, their backroom staff have a job keeping things running smoothly. Online content and engagement can feel like a luxury to be tackled only when circumstances allow. And then the world turns upside-down. Continue reading

Is it that long? — April 4, 2019

Is it that long?

This blog is coming up to its second birthday! It doesn’t seem that long since I wrote our first anniversary post. While I’ve felt more relaxed about the topics featured, there have still been some distinct threads. Let’s have a look at some of the themes and popular posts over the past year.

Participation

all performers
All the performers (Jonathan Schoeps)

November saw a flurry of posts. Continue reading

The Book Rotunda

Exploring and sharing a world of information, books, resources, history and learning from the Library of Birmingham

Words & Music - Children's & Music Library at the Library of Birmingham

A blog by Children's and Music at the Library of Birmingham

VAN Magazine

Get a flavour of the music collections of the Library of Birmingham - quirky, practical, historical, contemporary

Trinity College Library, Cambridge

Treasures from the Collection

Kevin McBrien

Musicologist - Writer - Editor - Speaker

IAML (UK & Irl)

News from IAML (UK & Irl)

MusiCB3 Blog

about more than the Music Collections at CB3

Arcana.fm

Putting a spark into classical music...

The Cross-Eyed Pianist

Frances Wilson blogs on pianism, classical music and culture