Philip Cannon Donates Archive to Bodleian Libraries

21 January 2011

Te Deum to be sung at Matins at Christ Church Cathedral on Sunday, 23rd January

The Te Deum by the British composer Philip Cannon is to be sung during the service of Matins at Christ Church Cathedral on Sunday, 23rd January, at 10.00am. The composer has recently donated his music manuscripts and related material to the Bodleian Libraries. Martin Holmes, Alfred Brendel Curator of Music of the Bodleian Libraries said: “We are very pleased to be able to add Philip Cannon’s manuscripts to our music collections; the Bodleian is one of the world’s great music libraries. The inclusion of his Te Deum in Matins at the Cathedral on Sunday is partly in celebration of this most generous gift. Sadly, ill-health will prevent the composer from attending the service himself but we are pleased that his wife will be present on this occasion.”

Born in 1929, Cannon studied with Imogen Holst at Dartington and with Gordon Jacob at the Royal College of Music, where he himself became Professor of Composition in 1960. His String Quartet of 1964 won two international awards in France and a number of high-profile commissions followed, including the Oraison funèbre de l’âme humaine for French Radio, Son of Man, commissioned by the BBC to mark the entry of the UK into the EU, and works for the Three Choirs Festival. Uniquely, the Te Deum was the result of a personal commission from HM the Queen for a work to mark the 500th anniversary of St George’s Chapel, Windsor in 1975, and was originally scored to include parts for the State Trumpeters.

The University of Oxford’s Faculty of Music came top of the ‘research power’ rankings in the most recent (2008) Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) with the largest number of research active staff submitted by any Higher Education Institution in the UK.

The Bodleian’s music collection holds over half a million printed scores and 5,000 volumes of manuscripts and is one of the greatest and most important collections in the world containing music manuscripts from medieval times to the present day. Among the earliest books to fill the shelves of Duke Humfrey’s Library were an 11th-century Winchester Troper and the Agincourt Carol from the 15th century, while one of the Library’s oldest manuscripts of musical importance is the 9th century Leofric Missal from Exeter. The collection also contains important sources for 15th-century continental music by Dufay and his contemporaries. Other highlights include the 16th-century Forrest-Heyther part books and Handel’s conducting score of Messiah,used by the composer for all his own performances and containing many of his additions and annotations. Gustav Holst’s suite The Planets, given by Imogen Holst in gratitude for the Bodleian having provided safe refuge for her father’s scores during the Second World War, is one of the Library’s great treasures from the 20th century. The Library also houses a large collection of material relating to Felix Mendelssohn, including the final autograph score of the Hebrides overture, and is one of two main centres for Mendelssohn research in the world.

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