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Publishing Music from the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge:
The Work of Vincent Novello and Samuel Wesley in the 1820s
In 1816, Richard Fitzwilliam died, bequeathing his important music collection to the University of Cambridge. In 1824 the University decided to allow selections from it to be published. The most important outcome was Vincent Novello's five-volume The Fitzwilliam Music (1825–7), containing Latin church music by Italian composers of the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries, but there was also an edition by Samuel Wesley of three hymn tunes by Handel to words by his father, and Wesley also projected an edition of motets from Byrd's Gradualia which for financial reasons was never published. This article discusses Fitzwilliam's bequest, the involvement of Novello and Wesley, the two publications that resulted in the 1820s, and Wesley's unsuccessful Byrd project.
In February 1816 Richard Fitzwilliam, seventh Viscount Fitzwilliam of Merrion and Thorncastle, died, bequeathing his large collection of works of art, antiquities, books and music to the University of Cambridge. After an interval of over eight years, the University decided to permit selections from the printed and manuscript music in the collection to be published. The principal outcome was The Fitzwilliam Music, an ambitious five-volume edition of sacred music from the collection made by the organist, editor and publisher Vincent Novello, published between 1825 and 1827. The composer and organist Samuel Wesley, a close friend and professional associate of Novello, also became involved, and in 1826 published an edition of three tunes by Handel to hymns by his father that he had discovered in the collection. Wesley also projected an edition of motets by William Byrd. This article discusses the importance of Fitzwilliam's bequest, the involvement of Novello and Wesley, the two [End Page 38] publications that resulted in the 1820s, and Wesley's unsuccessful Byrd project. It sheds new light on the activities of Novello and Wesley and on the mechanics and reception of large publishing projects in Britain during the early nineteenth century. It also contributes to our understanding of the process by which continental church music from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries came to be introduced into England in the early nineteenth century, of perceptions of the music of Byrd at the same time, and of the early history of musical scholarship in England.
Richard Fitzwilliam and his collections
Viscount Richard Fitzwilliam of Merrion and Thorncastle (1745–1816) was a collector of outstanding importance. His father was Richard, sixth Viscount Fitzwilliam (1711–76), a wealthy landowner with extensive English and Irish estates. His mother was Catherine, née Decker, the eldest daughter and principal heir of Sir Matthew Decker, Bt (1679–1749), an Amsterdam merchant who around 1700 had been responsible for purchasing paintings for James Brydges, first Duke of Chandos, paymaster to the Duke of Marlborough and patron of Handel, and it was from her that he inherited most of his wealth and some pictures. He was educated at the Charterhouse and at Trinity Hall, Cambridge, where he was admitted as a fellow-commoner in 1761 and graduated MA in 1764. In the following year he went to Paris on the first of several extended journeys abroad. On the death of his father in 1776 he succeeded to his titles and estates, but continued to spend most of his time in Paris and London. He was elected FRS in 1789, and sat as MP for Wilton, Wiltshire between 1790 and 1806.1
Fitzwilliam started to collect as an undergraduate and continued almost up to the time of his death. The most spectacular items in his collection were the paintings: a total of 144, principally of the Italian, Dutch and Flemish schools, by [End Page 39] Titian, Veronese, Palma Vecchio, Rembrandt and others. The collection also included a large number of antiquities, sculptures, furniture, clocks, rugs, coins and medals.2 There was in addition a library of some 10,000 items, including 130 illuminated medieval manuscripts, and books relating to philosophy, religions, history, literature, travel and music, all reflecting 'the tastes of a rich and scholarly gentleman of leisure, with an unusually wide range of interests'.3
Music formed an important part of Fitzwilliam's life and collecting activities. The best-known item in his music collection is undoubtedly the Fitzwilliam Virginal Book, the largest and most important source of sixteenth- and early seventeenth-century keyboard music. The collection also included Lord Herbert of Cherbury's Lutebook, 15 volumes of Handel manuscripts, and large quantities of printed and manuscript music of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, acquired both in London and abroad.4
Fitzwilliam's bequest and its importance
Fitzwilliam died on 5 February 1816, bequeathing all these collections to the University of Cambridge, together with the dividends from £100,000 of South Sea Islands annuities to pay for the building of a permanent museum to house them. The collections were brought to Cambridge in the spring of 1816 and were initially held at the Old Perse School in Free School Lane.5 It was not until much later that the permanent museum in Trumpington Street was built: begun by George Basevi in 1837 and continued after his untimely death in 1845 by Charles Robert Cockerell, it opened, in a still unfinished state, in 1848, and was not finally completed until 1875.6 Since then, a number of additions, the most recent completed in 2004, have been made to Basevi's original building to accommodate the growing collections and to permit them to be displayed to their best advantage.
Immediately after Fitzwilliam's death, the Senate of the University of Cambridge set up a committee or syndicate to report directly to it on the complex issues arising from the bequest and its management. The first task was to catalogue the collection and, to this end, Messrs Oddies of Carey Street, London, were appointed to arrange for a number of experts to report on its individual components.7 Oddies then entrusted the cataloguing of the music collections to [End Page 40] the viola player, composer and antiquarian William Shield (1748–1829).8 None of the surviving documentation shows any evidence that Shield himself undertook this work, but it was evidently carried out, either by him or by someone else, as by 16 August 1816 William Sheldon of Oddies was able to state in a letter that he had in his possession duplicate copies of all the inventories.9
Fitzwilliam's bequest, and the later decision by the University of Cambridge to make available selections of it for publication, came at a particularly timely moment in the history of music in England. The eighteenth century in England had been a time of growing interest in and awareness of the music of the past, and the first attempts to document it through histories of music and editions of musical monuments.10 The landmark publications, late in the century, were Burney's A General History of Music (1776–89),11 Hawkins's A General History of the Science and Practice of Music (1776)12 and Boyce's Cathedral Music (1760–73), a compilation of Anglican English church music from the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries, to which Samuel Arnold was in 1790 to add a four-volume supplement.13 These publications arose from an interest that was – as can be seen from the activities of the Academy of Ancient Music and the Madrigal Society – far from solely antiquarian in nature, but built on a tradition of 'old' music in performance.
Originally founded in 1726 as the Academy of Vocal Music, between 1733 and 1796 the Academy of Ancient Music mounted a series of fortnightly semi-private, semi-public concerts of 'old' music that continued until its demise in [End Page 41] 1796.14 Records of the concerts are patchy, but show that the repertory extended from the music of the late sixteenth century, or even earlier, to Handel.15 The Academy's veneration for the music of the Elizabethan period is shown by the fact that each concert concluded in ritual fashion with the singing of the canon Non nobis, domine, erroneously thought at the time to be by Byrd.16 The Madrigal Society, founded in 1741 with a membership that substantially overlapped with that of the Academy of Ancient Music, also had a tradition of performing 'old' music: principally English and Italian madrigals from the sixteenth century, but also sacred music to both English and Latin words. Among other members-only organizations that included 'old' music among more modern repertory were the Noblemen's and Gentlemen's Catch Club (usually known simply as the Catch Club, founded in 1761),17 the Glee Club (1788)18 and the all-professional Concentores Society (1798).19
Another important stage was marked by the foundation in 1776 of the Concert of Ancient Music (generally known as the Ancient Concerts), a prestigious subscription series with the 'aggressively conservative premise' of performing no music less than 20 years old.20 Control was in the hands of a board of aristocratic directors, one of whom was Fitzwilliam, who took it in turn to choose the programmes. The popularity and longevity of the Ancient Concerts (they continued until 1848) demonstrated a more general and public interest in 'old' music, even though much of this was from the more recent past, and the programmes were heavily dominated by Handel, the popularity of whose music showed few signs of waning in the years following his death in 1759.21 Handel's position was further consolidated by the 1784 [End Page 42] Commemoration, with its massive concerts in Westminster Abbey and the Pantheon, and by the similar festivals that followed in 1785, 1786, 1787 and 1791. Meanwhile, his oratorios, either complete, in abridged or cut versions, or in programmes of favourite extracts, formed the principal fare of the Lenten oratorio concerts at Covent Garden and at Drury Lane, and of choral concerts at provincial music festivals.22
The interest in the music of the past continued into the new century. Between 1800 and 1804, William Crotch (1775–1847), recently appointed Professor of Music at the University, gave a series of ground-breaking lectures in Oxford on the history of music, the success of which led to an invitation to repeat them in London at the newly founded Royal Institution of Great Britain.23 These lectures, which followed a chronological sequence and were illustrated by music examples, attracted large audiences, and Crotch later published a three-volume compilation of some of the examples he had used.24 In 1806, in an important initiative that anticipated Vincent Novello's early editorial work, the Moravian minister Christian Ignatius Latrobe (1758–1836) published the first volume of his A Selection of Sacred Music from the Works of the Most Eminent Composers of Germany and Italy, a compilation that by the time of its completion in 1825 would comprise six volumes and would introduce church music by such composers as Graun, Hasse, Pergolesi, Haydn and Mozart to British audiences.25
In the thick of this increasing amount of activity in rediscovering, publishing, performing and otherwise promoting the music of the past were two men: Vincent Novello (1781–1861) and Samuel Wesley (1766–1837). Novello, the English-born son of an Italian émigré, had been since 1797 or 1798 the organist and choirmaster of the Portuguese embassy chapel, where he had been able to establish an impressive choral tradition and to build up a repertoire that included much continental music. Evidence of this repertoire is to be found in his first publication, A Collection of Sacred Music, as Performed at the Royal Portuguese Chapel in London, published in 1811.26 Wesley acted as Novello's [End Page 43] assistant at the chapel, where he played the organ and deputized on occasion, but he was more widely in evidence as a prominent member of the small group of enthusiasts who were active in the first two decades of the century in the discovery and promotion of the music of J. S. Bach. With Charles Frederick Horn (1786–1849), between 1809 and 1813 Wesley published the first English editions of the six organ Trio Sonatas, BWV 525–30, and of the '48'; he was also energetic in promoting Bach's music in public performances, in his own lectures at the Royal Institution (where he had followed Crotch in 1809) and elsewhere.27 In September 1815 he attempted to publish an edition of the Credo from the B minor Mass, but there were problems in raising sufficient subscriptions and it is probable that the edition was never published.28
Publishing the Fitzwilliam collection: the involvement of Vincent Novello
Whatever the role of Shield and/or others in the initial cataloguing of Fitzwilliam's music collections in 1816, it was not until over eight years later that the University of Cambridge turned its full attention to what should be done with it, and specifically to the question of publication. At a meeting of Senate on 8 December 1824, it was agreed that parts of the collection should be made available for editing and publication, and that a separate committee or syndicate should be set up under the chairmanship of Thomas Le Blanc, the Vice-Chancellor, to decide how this could best be effected.29
In their desire to publish parts of the collection, one of the syndicate's first tasks was to take expert advice from within the music profession on how best to proceed. Vincent Novello must have seemed the most obvious person to approach. At 43, he was the most distinguished Roman Catholic church musician in England, and had an enviable reputation as an editor and publisher of music. Following the evident success of his 1811 publication, he had gone on to publish several more volumes of Roman Catholic church music, all containing music by continental composers: Twelve Easy Masses (1816), Motetts for the Offertory (c.1818) and The Evening Service (1822). From 1819 he had started publishing Masses by Haydn and Mozart, many of them from printed and manuscript materials supplied by Latrobe. He thus possessed all the necessary credentials, as a practical musician, as an editor and as a publisher, to advise on what needed to be done. It must also have been in the syndicate's mind that he would be an ideal person to undertake the task, if he were free to do so and if they could reach agreement with him on terms. [End Page 44]
As it happened, these developments came at an opportune moment in Novello's life. By late 1824 he had reached a crossroads in his career, and was more than ready for a challenging new project. As we know from a letter of July 1823 to his friend Leigh Hunt, he was by this time seeking to cut down the amount of teaching that he was obliged to undertake to provide his basic income, and was looking instead for a permanent position that would allow him more time for composition and other projects.30 In this, he was no doubt taking into account his state of health, which was far from robust at this time, and the need to live a quieter life: as we know from his daughter Mary, he was subject to recurrent bouts of depression, and he also had digestive problems.31 Under the circumstances, undertaking the editing and publication of selections from the Fitzwilliam collection must have seemed a particularly attractive prospect. It would hardly be a rest cure; but it would be a good deal more prestigious and rewarding than the unending round of schoolteaching to which he was still at present sentenced. In addition, it would allow him to work on something that was close to his heart: the provision of wider access to the music of the past.
Accounts of precisely how Novello became involved with the Fitzwilliam collection are inconsistent. According to a minute of the syndicate of 10 March 1825, it had first approached John Clarke-Whitfeld (1770–1836), the current Professor of Music, but he had declined to become involved, and the syndicate had then approached Novello.32 This version of events – or at least the part relating to the approach by the syndicate to Novello – is confirmed and amplified by Novello's own statement in a letter to Le Blanc that his involvement had followed communications from his 'Kind Friend Mr. Dampier' that had 'proceeded individually from some of the Members of the syndicate'.33 In the Preface to The Fitzwilliam Music, however, Novello claimed that it was he who had approached the syndicate, and not the other way round.
Whoever it was who made the first approach, it is clear that Novello's involvement with the Fitzwilliam collection began within a few days of the Senate's meeting on 8 December 1824. He then moved swiftly. During the Christmas vacation he made a short visit to Cambridge to inspect the collection [End Page 45] and to draw up a catalogue of the items that he thought should be published.34 Given the small amount of his time at his disposal and the limited amount of natural light at that time of year, he was obliged to be highly selective in what he examined: he looked only at sacred music, and focused mainly on works by continental composers that he knew were unpublished and of which he did not already have manuscript copies.
On 27 January he submitted his catalogue to Le Blanc, together with a lengthy covering letter. The letter, transcribed as Appendix A and discussed below, is preserved in the Cambridge University Archives along with other papers relating to the Fitzwilliam collection.35 The catalogue, entitled 'Select Articles from the Collection of Sacred Music [at] The Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge' and dated 1 January 1825, is now at the Royal College of Music,36 having been returned to Novello by the syndicate once they had invited him to publish selections from the collection. Novello then used it as his working catalogue, annotating it with his comments and annotations on the novelty, suitability and quality of items. It contains entries, with catalogue numbers and often with incipits, for items by Bassani, Bononcini, Byrd, Clari, Coccia, Colonna, Durante, Feroci, Jomelli, Leo, G. B. Martini, Palestrina, Pergolesi, Pittoni, Purcell, Alessandro Scarlatti and Stradella.
In his letter to Le Blanc, Novello acknowledged the assistance of his 'Kind Friend Mr. Dampier', and there can be no doubting the crucial role that Dampier played as an intermediary and adviser in Novello's negotiations with the syndicate. John Lucius Dampier (1793–1853) was a barrister at the Middle Temple and had been a Fellow of King's College since 1815.37 He presumably knew Novello through London circles, perhaps through the Portuguese embassy chapel. With his background as a lawyer and from his knowledge of the workings of university committees, he was well placed to advise Novello on how best to approach the syndicate and to frame his proposals for publication. Much of his advice was no doubt in the form of unrecorded conversations and unpreserved letters, but one letter from him to Novello has survived that amply indicates the extent and importance of his contribution.38
At the heart of this letter was a detailed draft of the proposals to be submitted by Novello to the syndicate that Novello was glad to adopt in its entirety and to use almost verbatim. To it, Dampier appended 12 footnotes in which he explained his thinking, and which are of particular significance in that they disclose much of the background knowledge and political savoir-faire that lay behind his advice. Of the extent of the edition and the timescale for its completion, [End Page 46] he commented: 'I should say 3 Vols. & perhaps 6 or 8 months would not be too great a space for the impatient Cantabs.' Of the Purcell items that Novello had catalogued but which Dampier advised him not to publish for the moment, he advised:
this [clause] is inserted that you may have leave to copy these at any future time & it appears that unless they formed a separate vol[ume] they would be awkwardly placed amongst Clari & others. Besides in inserting this I have an eye to the objection about a publication of Roman Catholic Music. So that a vol. of these anthems might form part of the whole plan, tho' in a distinct publication.
He also commented that he felt he had not been particularly successful in describing the score formats proposed and had perhaps been rather 'prolix'; at the same time he believed that 'some of the syndicate understand the meaning of the words but I believe Mr. Le Blanc does not'.
One feature that stands out in the remainder of the letter is Novello's clear intention that the edition should be a practical one, which would through the careful layout of its text make performance possible by either full or reduced forces. His ideal, as stated to Le Blanc, was the publication of the music in full score, 'to which should be added a separate Accompaniment for the Organ, arranged by the Editor, so as to comprise in two lines the principal features of the entire Instrumental score'.39 But he readily admitted that this option might be impracticable for reasons of space and expense, and as an alternative proposed an organ part arranged from the score, which would allow a significant reduction in the length of the edition. At the same time, he assuaged his own concerns about his duty to the composers by pointing out that orchestral performers were hard to find, whereas keyboard players were readily available. In fact, he was later to find an excellent compromise that enabled him to achieve his original ideal and also to include a keyboard reduction.
At the core of Novello's letter was his presentation of the financial basis for the publication, and it was here, guided by Dampier, that he was at his most astute. He presented three different ways in which the University might be involved in the publication, taking care to spell out in detail the implications of each in terms of editorial control and financial risk and reward, both for the university and for the editor/publisher. This gave the syndicate the basis of a solid discussion in committee and a clear decision to make. His first suggestion was for the University to act as publisher and to employ him as editor, thus leaving all financial responsibility, and all risks and rewards, with the University. His second was for the University to grant him permission to publish on his own initiative, and thus for him to shoulder the full financial risks and rewards of publication himself. The third was a partnership between the University and him as editor and publisher, but Novello pointed out that this would involve complex accounting processes in order to apportion the income, and that he could not recommend it. Of the first two options, Novello stated that he preferred the first, but that the second was also acceptable to him.
Novello's letter was discussed by Senate on 18 March 1825, where it was urged that because of his experience and track record he was an ideal person to edit and [End Page 47] publish the collection; indeed, his success in having 'already published with the approbation of the Public several volumes of Music similar to that now to be found in the Museum' made his involvement 'a guarantee of quality'.40 His views on the collection and on possible modes of publication were fully accepted, and his catalogue of 'the relevant portion of the Music' from which he wanted to make his selections was also tabled. It was agreed that his suggestion of an organ reduction be adopted, rather than the full score format that he preferred. The meeting accepted his second mode of publication, and accordingly granted him permission to publish according to his best judgment and at his own expense.
Novello wasted no time in making a start on the edition, and made a four-day visit to Cambridge in early April. As is clear from the dates on his transcriptions,41 he was also there on an extended visit between 12 July and 7 August, for some of the time with Samuel Wesley, who was making his own transcriptions from the collection at the same time.42 By May, his work was sufficiently far advanced for him to be able to issue proposals that set out the main features of the edition. By now, he had devised a format that included both a full score and an organ reduction. According to the proposals,
It was the Editor's intention to have omitted the Instrumental Score, and to have added instead, a separate part for the Organ, or Piano Forte; but as the productions of early Masters are, for the most part, written for comparatively few sorts of Instruments, it appeared to him practicable to publish the full Score, both Vocal and Instrumental: – and he was the more desirous to give each Piece in its original and complete form, when he considered the respect due as well to the names and authority of the very eminent Masters by whom the Music was composed, as to the Nobleman by whom it was collected, – and to the University, by whose permission it is allowed to be published.
Evidence of Novello's approach to the layout is found in the manuscript copies that he made in Cambridge, with their punctilious pencilled instructions to the engravers, Sawyer & Son of 43 Dean Street, Soho. From these, most of which were bound in 1827,44 presumably on completion of the publication, we also gain an impression of the progress of his work on the project: many of the copies that he
[End Page 48]
made are dated, and some also bear his annotations and his comments on their quality. In another bound volume are further items from the collection that he transcribed in 1830.45 The existence of these, along with his statement in his letter to Le Blanc about the Purcell materials he had gathered with future plans in mind, shows clearly that he did not see the final volume of The Fitzwilliam Music as marking the end of his interest in the collection. Later in life he was to acknowledge with affection the privilege he had felt in working at the Museum. Occasional glimpses of this enthusiasm can also be seen in his manuscript copies, as for example at the end of a chorus by Leo, where he noted in wayward Italian: 'ho copiato questo Avrile 4
Novello made clear his editorial approach in his Preface to the edition, where he stressed the unique value of his product through the provision of full scores rather than keyboard reductions. In a series of biographical notes on the composers represented in the collection, he revealed his views on the importance of a contextual understanding to a full appreciation of the compositions themselves, supplying brief details of the background to each composer and pointing his readers in the direction of Burney's General History of Music for further information. He was also scrupulous to draw the attention of his readers to editions and arrangements of similar repertory elsewhere: the arrangements of Palestrina and Carissimi to English words for the Anglican service by Henry Aldrich (1648–1710),47 those of Marcello by John Garth (c.1732–c.1810),48 and other arrangements by R. J. S. Stevens (1757–1837)49 and Joseph Corfe (bapt. 1741–1820).50 He also mentioned Crotch's discussion of pieces by 'Italian Masters' in his lectures and Crotch's subsequent publication of them in his Specimens of Various Styles of Music, and Latrobe's inclusion of similar [End Page 49] items in his Selection of Sacred Music. He was aware that some pieces from this repertory were performed at the Ancient Concerts and elsewhere, but was able to claim that The Fitzwilliam Music was the first publication in which they had been printed 'in full score, as they were written and intended to be performed'.51 He concluded:
The selections are altogether from the music of the Italian School, of which the Manuscripts in the Fitzwilliam Museum would fill many volumes; that of the German and English as many more; all equally excellent in their several styles, and equally worthy of publication. The Editor has confined himself to the first, hoping that other Professors of Music may be permitted to select from the last mentioned schools. He may however at a future time (if the grace of the Senate be not withdrawn) edit some other selections, probably in a different and more compendious form, and without previous subscription.52
As we shall see later, this passage was inserted at the specific request of Samuel Wesley, and was intended to make it clear for the record that Novello did not claim exclusive rights to the collection and recognized that others might obtain permission to publish further selections in due course.
The first volume of The Fitzwilliam Music was published either in December 1825 or very early in 1826,53 complete with a dedication to the Chancellor, Vice-Chancellor and scholars of the University. The subsequent volumes – four, rather than the two that Novello had originally suggested – appeared later in 1826 and in early 1827, the final one being published no later than late April of that year.54 The complete publication consisted of 55 items: 15 by Clari, 11 by Leo, four each by Giovanni Bononcini, Carissimi and Pergolesi, two each by Colonna, Durante and Giovanni Battista Martini, and single items by Bonno, Cafaro, Conti, Feroci, Jomelli, Lassus, 'Eduardo Lupi', Palestrina, Perti, Stradella and Victoria. A full listing appears as Appendix B. Unusually, in an age when subscription lists were proudly printed at the beginning of the first volume of a series, Novello refrained from publishing his list of subscribers until his fifth and final volume, where it appeared as a supplement.
As it happens we now know that Novello was incorrect in his assertion that all the pieces were by Italian composers. 'Eduardo Lupi' was in fact the Portuguese composer Duarte Lobo (c.1565–1646). As Owen Rees has shown, Audivi vocem de coelo, the work included by Novello, had already had an extraordinarily long history of performance in England that extended from Academy of [End Page 50] Ancient Music concerts in the 1730s up to Madrigal Society meetings and anniversary dinners in Novello's own time.55 Indeed, the Fitzwilliam collection manuscript that Novello used as his source had formerly belonged to the Academy of Ancient Music, and further manuscript copies of the work were to be found in the library of the Madrigal Society. It is not clear whether or not Novello was aware of any of this previous history: if he was, he did not mention it.
The individual volumes of The Fitzwilliam Music were reviewed in multi-part articles in both the Harmonicon56 and the rival Quarterly Musical Magazine and Review (henceforth QMMR) as they appeared.57 The response of the critic of the Harmonicon (anonymous, but very probably William Ayrton, the journal's editor) to the first volume was almost entirely positive. Notwithstanding the fact that he found some of the organ accompaniments 'too full', he considered that Novello had exercised 'a bold but laudable discretion'.58 His reviews of the later volumes were equally enthusiastic, and he concluded his review of the final volume:
During the progress of this work we have seen no reason for altering the opinion which the first volume led us to form; the selections are made with judgment, and the arrangements are skilfully executed. That such a publication will tend strongly to improve the general taste for music, – to give solidity and permanency to it – we do not doubt; and the list of subscribers shews that its circulation will be extensive. We hope that professors will give some portion of their 'days and nights' to the best of its contents; for musicians of the present age are – generally speaking, and, of course, with an abundance of exceptions – too little acquainted with the early masters, who though by no means 'the pure wells of music undefiled', are the real foundation on which is built whatever that is excellent [that] has, in later times, appeared.59
The QMMR review (also unsigned) was a great deal longer, and altogether less favourably disposed towards the publication. From the start the reviewer made clear his antipathy to Italian church music and his lack of sympathy with Novello's endeavour. He made detailed and sometimes harsh criticisms of individual works, taking pains to point out consecutives, false relations and other instances of what he saw as technical shortcomings, and frequently comparing [End Page 51] them unfavourably with works by English composers. The approach, and in particular the concentration on points of technical detail, recalls the recent hostile review in the same journal of Wesley's Service in F, which Wesley suspected to have been written by the composer and writer William Horsley (1774–1858).60 That Horsley was the author of both this review and the review of The Fitzwilliam Music is confirmed by Horsley's own copy of QMMR, now in the Sibley Music Library at the Eastman School of Music, in which his own contributions to the journal are marked with a large capital 'H'.61 In the first two parts of his review, covering the first two volumes of the collection, he treated each item in turn. In the third part, covering volumes 3–5, he widened his focus to make some general comments on the publication as a whole and to make comparisons between Italian and English church music, much to the demerit of the former. While accepting that the selection had been made 'with great taste on the whole', he thought that it was 'too lengthy'. There were too many pieces by Clari, and he would have preferred instead to have had more by Carissimi, Durante and Perti, 'to say nothing of the masters of the Roman school'. He was critical of Novello's decision to add figuring to the organ part only where orchestral parts were added (as opposed to throughout, 'as Mr. Horsley has done in his arrangements of Handel'), and felt that those that were included could be 'of very little use'.62 He also took Novello to task for not adding metronome markings. Finally, he turned to the 'comparative merits of Italian and English schools of church music', in the process taking the opportunity to ride some personal hobby-horses and vent some strong anti-Italian prejudices. While allowing that composers of the Italian school excelled in the 'plan and careful fashioning of their works', in the clarity of their counterpoint and in the quality of their fugues (features that he attributed to the 'diligence with which they formerly cultivated the science of music and composition' and the lack of any comparable system of musical education in England), he concluded:
We do not hesitate to say, that in the greatest of all qualities, religious expression, we excel the Italians vastly; for a proof of this we are quite willing to refer to the volumes before us, which have been selected from a famed collection by a professor of undoubted taste and judgement. Where in them shall we find the intense and varied feeling which animates all Purcell's compositions? or the simple majesty of Croft? or the tender expression of Jer. Clarke and Weldon? [End Page 52]
Novello's achievement in transcribing, editing and publishing the five volumes of The Fitzwilliam Music in the space of little more than two years was considerable, and an example of his legendary assiduity: the result, according to the memoir by his adoring daughter Mary, of never wasting a single minute at any time of day.64 But her assertion that he selected and copied material for ten volumes beyond the five that he published65 was more than a slight exaggeration: a collation of his manuscript copies with the contents of the published Fitzwilliam Music shows that he in fact appears to have copied only around twice as many items as found their way into print. Among the items that did not find their way into the printed collection were 14 by Colonna, 11 by Clari, five by Palestrina, four by Bononcini, three each by Carissimi and Jomelli, two by Martini and one each by Bonno, Byrd, Coccia, Pittoni and Victoria.
Samuel Wesley and the Fitzwilliam collection: the projected Byrd edition
It must have become very apparent to Novello at an early stage of his acquaintance with the Fitzwilliam collection that there was sufficient material for more volumes of selections than he could ever publish himself. It is not known whether or not he suggested to Samuel Wesley that he should approach the University for permission to publish a volume of his own, but it was not long after the granting of permission to Novello that Wesley started to make enquiries on his own behalf, apparently with Novello's full knowledge and approval.
Wesley and Novello had known each other for a long time: quite possibly since Novello's boyhood, and certainly since 1808 or so. Since 1811, if not earlier, they had worked closely together at the Portuguese embassy chapel, their close personal and professional relationship documented in over 170 letters from Wesley to Novello written between 1811 and 1825.66 In May 1817 Wesley had suffered a particularly severe bout of mental illness that put him out of action [End Page 53] for around two years and from which he was able to make only a painfully slow recovery and re-establish his position in the London musical scene. But by late 1824 he was fully back in action and looking around for new ventures that would help to put his precarious finances on a more secure footing. From this point of view alone, the prospect of editing selections from the Fitzwilliam collection must have seemed an attractive proposition.
Wesley's suitability to undertake such work was not in doubt. Although he lacked Novello's extensive experience as an editor and publisher, his credentials as an antiquarian and scholar were none the less impressive. As we have seen, he had published (with C. F. Horn) the first English editions of J. S. Bach's organ Trio Sonatas and of the '48', and he had also attempted to publish the Credo from the Mass in B minor. He had a lifelong interest in Roman Catholic church music, and long experience as Novello's assistant and colleague at the Portuguese embassy chapel. In addition, he had recent first-hand experience of music publishing through the publication by subscription of his own Service in F in October 1824.
Wesley appears to have made his initial approaches to the University in April or May 1825. His immediate contact was the theologian and Hebrew scholar Daniel Guilford Wait (1789–1850),67 at this time in Cambridge cataloguing the oriental manuscripts in the University Library. It is not known how he and Wesley had come to know each other in the first place, but Wait, in his capacity as rector of Blagdon, Somerset, would later play a large part in organizing the recitals that Wesley gave in Bristol, the city of his birth, in September 1829.68 His first step appears to have been to sound out the Vice-Chancellor to enquire about the likelihood of Wesley being allowed to make his own volume of selections. On 11 May he reported to Wesley:
I have seen the Vice-Chancellor on the Subject, who thinks, that until Mr. Novello has completed his Selection, the Senate cannot act: but, afterwards, you will be at Liberty by Grace to avail yourself of the Music in our Possession. It therefore appears to me that you should return with me, as I shall be in Town, next Week, & see what we have, & take Steps according with your publishers that, when Mr. Novello has published Clari &c he should give you letters of recommendation to his friends, that it may appear not to be an opposition to him, which some might urge, & which would be the farthest from your feelings or mine, which done, it will be easy to secure the appointment & permission to you. I am confident that we have much in MS, which would reflect credit on your labours, & that the undertaking would be of the most lucrative nature.69
Obtaining the necessary permission was not as straightforward as Wesley, aided by Wait, might at first have hoped, however, and it was not until 1 March 1826, [End Page 54] after much delicate negotiation with the authorities and many setbacks along the way, that it was granted.
Although Wait's letter made it clear that Wesley could not realistically expect to be granted permission to publish until Novello had finished his own work, Wesley was sufficiently confident that it would be forthcoming to make an immediate start on his own transcriptions. In the summer of 1825 he made two extended visits to Cambridge, one in late June and early July, the other in late July and early August. It was probably during one or other of these visits that he made the crucial discovery in the Fitzwilliam collection of an eighteenth-century manuscript containing 21 motets in score ascribed to Byrd,70 and it may also have been then that he made his transcriptions, with an eye to their eventual publication.71
Wesley made no specific mention of music by Byrd in his letter of 1 August 1825 to his son Samuel Sebastian, in which he stated merely that the manuscripts that he was copying were 'likely to turn to excellent Account'.72 On 14 September, however, and now back in London, he was able to remark to Novello that he had had 'a rich treat in chewing the cud of old Byrde's minims', adding in a characteristic aside that they were 'full of my own errors & heresies according to his holiness Pope Horsley'.73
Any plans that Wesley may have had to publish the Byrd motets appear to have been put on hold through the autumn of 1825, when it appeared that permission might not after all be forthcoming from the University. The situation appears to have been particularly fraught in late November, when Wesley, faced with an inexplicable silence from Wait, and worried lest all his work should go for nothing, begged Novello to ask Dampier to intercede on his behalf:
It were, I own, somewhat vexatious after copying 100 Pages of MS. & waived Engagements of Importance during the Time, to be denied all Advantage resulting from the Labour; & I certainly shall be much gratified, if through the Interposition & Influence of your friend Mr Dampier, the original Intention may be carried into Effect. [End Page 55]
Two weeks later, Wesley again wrote to Novello with a specific proposal that he thought would put to an end all further difficulties:
Do you feel any Objection to declare in writing that your Intention is to transcribe & publish from the Fitzwilliam Compositions of the Italian masters only, & that a Selection from those of any other School remains open to any other Individual who shall obtain a Grace for the Purpose?
And in a postcript to the same letter:
I guess that had you been at all aware that so simple & harmless a Document would have been my infallible Passport to the Library, you would have transmitted one, Months ago.
Notwithstanding Wesley's note of exasperation (which in any case does not appear to have been directed at Novello), relations appear to have remained cordial until at least the end of the year, and Novello, as we have seen, duly made the requested declaration in the Preface to The Fitzwilliam Music. But some time early in 1826 tensions about the Fitzwilliam edition appear to have come to a head, and to have been the main factor in a serious quarrel between Wesley and Novello that led to a total cessation of communication between them for a period of over four years.77 [End Page 56]
Permission for Wesley to publish was finally granted on 1 March 1826, and he could at last proceed in earnest with the preparation of his edition. His performing commitments detained him in London for most of the rest of the month, but on 27 March he was finally able to visit Cambridge, returning to London on 3 April. On the following day he wrote to his friend Robert Glenn to report that he had been 'very busily, but very pleasantly employed, having met the most flattering encouragement towards my intended publication of Wm Byrde's excellent Antiphones'.78 It is clear that around this time a printed prospectus for the edition, which was to be published by subscription, also appeared, but no copies are known to have survived.
Further references to the edition appear in Wesley's letters later in 1826. In a letter of 27 April to his sister Sarah, he was at pains to point out to her the incorrectness of a rumour that she had heard that he was expecting to receive more than £300 from it: on the contrary, he would consider himself fortunate to receive a third as much.79 In a further letter to her seven weeks later, he agreed to her proposal that he should put any monies received from subscriptions that she managed to secure towards the payment of a long-overdue bill to his wine-merchant.80 Finally, on 19 December he wrote to Thomas Jackson, the editor of the Wesleyan Methodist Magazine, to ask that copies of proposals or an advertisement for the edition should be inserted in a forthcoming number.81
By this time, however, over six months after the publication of the original proposals, Wesley was probably beginning to regard the Byrd edition as a lost cause, and to despair of it ever being published. He had run into difficulties over paying his engraver, and the project was for the moment stalled until his financial situation improved. More importantly, he was now involved in the publication of another volume of selections from the Fitzwilliam collection that was less troublesome, and potentially far more profitable, than the Byrd edition: the edition of Handel hymns.
Over three years were to elapse before Wesley returned to the Byrd edition. By the time he did so he was 64, his health had declined, and he no doubt realized that the only chance of publication and of some small recompense for all his efforts would be to hand over the enterprise to a third party. Accordingly, in May 1830 he wrote to Joseph Payne Street, the Secretary of the Madrigal Society and an old friend, with an explanation of what had happened to the edition and a plea that the Madrigal Society should take over the project itself. After some preliminary remarks about his many financial difficulties over the years and his gratitude to Street for his continuing assistance and support, he came to the point: [End Page 57]
It has long been a Matter of Regret that hitherto the 1582 fine Latin Anthems of Byrde, which I transcribed from the Fitzwilliam Collection have not (as announced) been ushered into the musical World: a numerous List of Subscribers' names has long appeared, both in the Library and at several of the principal Music Shops, and nine of the Plates have been already engraven: as not a single shilling has been advanced from any Quarter in Aid of the Work's Completion, and as I have always found musical Engravers not a little importunate for ready Money, without which they will hardly budge an Inch, also having omitted to mention in the printed Proposals that a Publication of that Extent required some auxiliary Encouragement in the necessary Expenses incurred by the Editor, it is not a little mortifying to reflect that a Work which must remain as a lasting Monument of the profound Skill & Learning of our Countryman has been withholden from the publick Eye & Ear by an Obstacle which in the outset of the Business might have been obviated without Difficulty, but as the Time elapsed since its Commencement, has been very considerable (it having been announced in the year 1826) it is now not easy to renew that lively Interest which seemed so general when the Design was first made known.
Street's reply to this letter is not preserved, and it is evident that Wesley's proposal came to nothing.
Wesley's proposed edition was well ahead of its time. As Richard Turbet has shown, very little of Byrd's music was published in England in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.85 Not surprisingly, given the illegality of Roman [End Page 58] Catholic worship until the passing of the Catholic Relief Acts of 1778 and 1791 and the fact that no church music with Latin texts could be sung in Anglican cathedrals and churches, the Latin sacred music fared particularly badly. The only items published under Byrd's name during the period were O Lord, Turn and Bow thine Ear, contrafacts respectively of Ne irascaris and its second part, Civitas sancti tui, which were included in the second volume (1768) of Boyce's Cathedral Music.86 To these must be added one plagiarism: Emendemus in melius appeared (as Lord, How Long Wilt thou Be Angry?) in Cathedral Music in Score Composed by Dr. William Hayes (Oxford, 1795).87 In addition, Hawkins included Venite exultemus from Book II of Gradualia and Diliges dominum from Cantiones, quae ab argumento sacrae vocantur as examples in his A General History of the Science and Practice of Music (1776). This does not, of course, mean that Byrd's Latin sacred music was unknown to antiquarians and collectors: as we know from their sale catalogues or from other sources, Hawkins, Boyce and Burney (to take only three examples) each owned one or both volumes of Gradualia, either in their original printed form or as manuscript copies, in parts or score.88 Nor was it totally unknown in performance. No Latin sacred works feature in the surviving programmes of the Academy of Ancient Music, but Emendemus in melius and the Mass in Three Parts are contained in partbooks associated with the Academy in the 1730s,89 and The Words of Such Pieces as are Most Usually Performed by the Academy of Ancient Music (2nd edn, London, 1768) includes Civitas sanctitatis (evidently a misprint for Civitas sancti tui), alongside a few madrigals and pieces of English church music, and of course the spurious Non nobis, domine.90 In the case of the Madrigal Society, it is clear that some Latin sacred music was performed alongside the English and Italian madrigals that provided its main repertory, but the names of composers are rarely given in the earliest minute books, and positive identifications are for this reason often difficult to make.91 Nonetheless, it seems likely that settings of Dies sanctificatus, Senex puerum portabat, Puer natus, O sacrum convivium, Terra tremuit and Psallite domino recorded in the minute books as [End Page 59] having been sung occasionally at meetings in the later 1740s and 1750s were those by Byrd. By 1816, as we know from an index to the library presented in that year,92 the partbooks of the society included the Kyrie and Gloria of the Mass in Three Parts,93 Emendemus in melius,94 Laudate, pueri, dominum,95 O quam gloriosum96 and Quodcunque ligaveris.97 The society also owned complete copies in score of Gradualia I and II 98 and of the Mass in Four Parts.99
Notwithstanding the inclusion of these works in the Madrigal Society library, it is clear that Byrd's Latin church music was in general little known and performed in England in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. In this context, the amount of interest evidently shown in Wesley's projected edition of motets, and the large number of subscribers he was able to collect for it, is surprising. Although some of the interest may have reflected a generally increased level of awareness of and interest in 'old' music at the time, it seems likely that a large part of it would have come from Roman Catholic quarters, and would have arisen specifically from the Roman Catholic identity of the music: church musicians would have welcomed the additions to the repertory that the edition contained, while others without this professional interest would have been keen to own an example of music by one of their most illustrious English co-religionists, now published for the first time since the early seventeenth century. Whatever the composition of the subscription list, Wesley's edition, had it materialized, would have been a major landmark, considerably antedating the activities of the Musical Antiquarian Society that have hitherto generally been held to mark the beginnings of the nineteenth-century revival of interest in Byrd's music.100
Samuel Wesley and the Fitzwilliam collection: the Handel hymns
In fact, Wesley did achieve one small publication from the Fitzwilliam collection: his edition of three hymn tunes by Handel to words by his father, contained on a single sheet of Handel's autograph that he discovered during his visit to Cambridge in September 1826. Wesley was quick to realize the commercial possibilities of this find, and rushed out an edition for treble and bass, containing [End Page 60] only the first verse of each hymn, in November of the same year.101 A second edition, for SATB and containing all the verses of each hymn, followed in March 1827.102
The story of Wesley's discovery of the hymns and his publication of them has been told elsewhere,103 and need not be repeated here: suffice it to say that the two editions of the hymns sold well and that the receipts were probably sufficient to recompense Wesley richly for all his efforts, including the fruitless work on the edition of Byrd motets. There is one other footnote to this episode. Although the Hymns did not achieve Wesley's ambition of passing instantly into the repertoire of Methodist congregations, one of them – Rejoice, the Lord is King – achieved a popularity that exceeded anything that Wesley could have hoped or expected. Still sung to the original words by Charles Wesley, Handel's tune is known to congregations of every denomination throughout the English-speaking world, and its continuing use is the most lasting result of the involvement of Novello and Wesley with the Fitzwilliam collection.
Vincent Novello to Le Blanc, 27 January 1825
In consequence of Communications made to me by my Kind Friend Mr. Dampier, which as I understood, proceeded individually from some of the Members of the Syndicate appointed to consider of the publication of the Music in the Fitzwilliam Museum, I took the opportunity of visiting Cambridge for a few days during the Xmas Vacation, when I employed myself in looking over the Music during the hours when the Museum was open. – Those hours were at this Season so few, and my stay was so limited, that I did not attempt to look over all the Manuscript Music, but only that part which I conceived to come within the words of the Grace, namely that which consisted of Sacred and, for the greater part, foreign Vocal Music.
Of this too the Collection was so large that I passed by such compositions as had been published, or of which I already had Copies, not only because I found myself pressed for time, but because I thought it might not be the intention of the Syndicate to give consideration to that which had already been, or might be published by others. Even with these omissions I was unable to go through the whole, tho' it is probable that very little, if any, of what I omitted is fit for publication, or at least so fit as that which I have selected. [End Page 60]
You will not understand me to say that Copies of the Music which appears to me fit for publication, may not be in the Collections of others (some indeed are, to my knowledge, performed at the Concerts of Ancient Music in Hanover Square and the usual circulation of Music in Italy is by Manuscript Copies) but it seems to me not probable that such will be shortly if ever published. – Concerning that part of which I have Copies, I will add that a publication by the University will supersede any publication by myself. –
With the exceptions mentioned, I inclose a Catalogue of such Music as appears to me fit for publication on account of both the merit and rarity of the several Compositions. – This may be the means of saving trouble to others whose opinions the Syndicate may wish to obtain, or whom the University may in preference to myself choose as Editors. – for which reason and because I understood that it would not be unacceptable to the Syndicate, I have also added my opinion at some length on certain points, on which I thought it possible information might be required.
You will observe, Sir, that if all the Compositions mentioned in the Catalogue were to be printed at once, the publication would form several Volumes; so many, that I think it might be attended with loss to the Publisher by reason of the small number of those who could afford, or would be willing to pay a remunerating price. I think too that no private, or at least no professional person would undertake the risk of such a publication. But if a Selection were made, the case as it appears to me, would be different; such would be within the means and inclinations of many whose number would in some degree vary with the price. At present I will not say any thing of what particular Compositions this Selection might consist, as such considerations may be easily entered into at any future time after a resolution to publish has been formed.
The modes of Publication which a public body might adopt appear to me to be three; on each of which I will state what occurs to me.
The first is, that of publishing at its own risk and employing an Editor. In this mode, the risk of loss and chance of gain falls wholly on the Publisher, – the Editor receiving a compensation according to agreement. In my dealings with Publishers who have employed me to edit Manuscripts, I have received from them a compensation at the rate of from 7s/– to half a Guinea a Plate, according to the fullness of the work required.
In the case of the Music in question, the circumstance of the Editor being obliged to make his Copies in the Museum at certain hours, must, if he be a Professional Man, cause a difference, both on account of additional expense and of total absence from his usual avocations and means of livelyhood. By adopting this mode the Publisher is known to the world as the possessor, and receives the credit of being such, and of the undertaking itself; on neither of which points do I think it fit to offer an opinion; tho' I will add that the possession and place of the Music will be known in any mode of publication. The Plates are the property of the Publisher which may in time become valuable – The number of impressions which can be taken off without a renewal of the Plate by the Engraver is about one thousand.
In what I am about to say concerning the risk, I wish to be understood as speaking on convictions founded on the experience I have had, and by no means on certainties; for tho' I may have a strong opinion on this point, yet I do not wish in an uncertain event to be considered as offering what might be held to amount to a guarantee. In common cases, I reckon that the value of 150 Copies is sufficient to pay for all the expences of editing and engraving.
But the case in question is not common, at least in regard to one circumstance, that of the Editor being under the necessity of copying in the Museum. The quality of Paper, superior workmanship in the Engraving &c may also take it out of the common case. [End Page 62]
Hence until I know what these may be, it is not in my power to form any judgment of the number of Copies required to be sold before the expences are satisfied.
In my own opinion the consideration of risk need not deter the University from entering on this Publication. Were I to be employed as Editor, I think I could dispose of 40 or 50 copies (supposing the Publication not to be expensive) then there is the usual demand, as in all cases. In this instance too, I should think that a knowledge of the place whence the Music comes, and the fact of its being an University Publication would cause a considerable extra demand.
The 2nd. mode of publication is by disposing of the M.S.S. to any one who may be willing to undertake it.
In this Case the Publisher runs all the risks, as he is in the the [sic] place of the original owner of the M.S.S.
In common Cases such a one purchases the risk with Money if the Composition be that of the Seller – or with a certain number of Copies if, as in this instance, it be a Manuscript of anothers composition. The reason of the difference is, in the former case a Copyright is sold, in the latter merely that others having M.S.S. of the same Compositions may not afterwards publish them.
The number of Copies given by the Publisher to the Seller varies. The disposal of these is the Seller's profit, which depends upon the number he can sell and the quickness of Sale; the whole risk, as I have said, being undertaken by the Publisher. There is therefore a certainty of no loss in one event, and but small gain in the other.
I cannot offer any opinion as to whether it may be adviseable for the University to adopt this mode – as I am quite unacquainted with the means they may have of disposing of the Copies given by the Publisher.
The 3rd Mode is that of a Partnership between the owner of the M.S.S. and the Editor. The former giving his Materials, the latter his abilities; each receiving a share of the profit or bearing that of the loss in a proportion previously arranged. This mode in common Cases is attended with some difficulty by reason of long and minute Accounts, renewed at distant intervals; which difficulty if I may be allowed to judge, is not likely to be decreased when a public body is one of the parties.
If the choice were to be with me, I should prefer being the Editor under the 1st mode, but if that should not be judged fit, I should very willingly receive an offer to become Publisher under the 2nd.
Should the University think proper to offer the M.S.S. to me under the 2nd mode, I might, from fear of risk, employ a third person as Publisher. This, were it to take place, would be merely a private arrangement of my own, to which I certainly would not have recourse were I secure of a certain number of Purchasers; but I feel some objection to the means of insuring that number of individual applications. It is probable however that the knowledge of my own means together with the hope of patronage from those connected with the University added to the name of the place from whence the Music comes, and of the body who permit the publication, would induce me to take the whole risk on myself. I felt it right to mention this, tho' it would be a private arrangement of my own, that there might be no probability of mistake.
It may be said that by acting thus I contradict my opinion about the risk. I certainly have not always acted upon it, for which there may be many reasons. – My family is too large to permit me to speculate, tho' I may feel almost certain that such speculation would be successful, and my occupations do not suffer me to attend to the Sale, hence I am content with the smaller profit. The way to estimate the correctness of my opinion is to inquire whether the Publisher has gained. [End Page 63]
In those Works which I have declined publishing, but which I have edited, I believe it would be found that he has been a gainer to a considerable amount.
As to the form of publication, that which I should most desire to see for the benefit of the public would be in Full Score (for the Instruments and Voices) to which should be added a separate Accompaniment for the Organ, arranged by the Editor, so as to comprise in two lines the principal features of the entire Instrumental Score.
By this method an opportunity would be afforded for performing the Music by an Orchestra exactly according to the intentions of the Composer – while the condensed accompaniment would materially facilitate its performance by all those numerous Amateurs who are unaccustomed to the difficult task of playing from a full and complicated Score.
To publish however a complete Score in this way would be, I fear, a risk greater than any private Publisher would undertake. – The reason is apparent there being the addition of a line for every instrument.
The form of publication of Mozart, Haydn & other Authors which I have hitherto adopted, has been to substitute an Organ part arranged from the Score instead of the Score itself, that is to say only two lines of accompaniment, instead of many.
The publication even in this latter form is of great service from the scarcity of instrumental performers in general that are required in a full Orchestra – and from the frequency of those who play on the Organ and Piano Forte.
The Selection which I should recommend for immediate publication would consist, if published in this latter form, of 3 Vols. which might be issued as engraved, one every 6 Months at the price of about a Guinea a Volume.
The Success of the sale might decide on the expediency of any subsequent publication.
In the Catalogue you will observe that I mention some of Henry Purcell's Anthems. – These I do not recommend as fit for an immediate publication unless it be a distinct one – because they do not class well with the other compositions, and because I think it probable that at some future time an Edition of all his Sacred Music may be published, when the University might not be unwilling to contribute these to the Collections already formed.
Tho' I may have troubled you, Sir, by the length of this communication, yet I feel that I may not have made myself perfectly understood in all parts: much indeed ought rather to form the subject of conversation, on which account I have been anon brief in what is written, to which however I will add any further communication if it should be desired, and will answer as far as I may be able, any questions which the Syndicate may think proper to ask.
I need hardly say that I think the whole Collection exceedingly valuable, and that the publication of part will be a benefit conferred on all admirers of ancient Music, for which tho' there be not a very large, yet there is always a constant demand not regulated by any fashion of the day.
I cannot conclude without acknowledging the accommodations which were afforded me in, as well as the civility and attention which I experienced from the Keeper of the Museum.
I have the honor to remain
Sir Your obliged &
Vincent Novello [End Page 64]
Philip Olleson (email@example.com) is Professor of Historical Musicology at the University of Nottingham. He has written extensively on Samuel Wesley and on aspects of the social history of music in England in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. He is currently preparing a volume of Wesley's Latin sacred music for Musica Britannica and is editing volume 3 of the collected correspondence of Charles Burney for Oxford University Press.
Fiona M. Palmer (firstname.lastname@example.org) is Senior Lecturer in Music at Queen's University, Belfast. Her monograph Dragonetti in England 1794–1846: The Career of a Double Bass Virtuoso (1997) has provided a springboard for her current research project – a critical biography of Vincent Novello (1781–1861) to be published by Ashgate. She continues to work as a professional double bassist and plays with the Ulster Orchestra on a regular basis.
The following abbreviations are used in the notes:
Fiona Palmer gratefully acknowledges the assistance of two AHRB Small Grants in the Creative and Performing Arts in support of research for part of this article, which contributes to a major project leading to the publication of Vincent Novello (1781–1861): The Career of an English Musical Philanthropist (in preparation). Part of this article appeared in an earlier version as Philip Olleson, ' "William Byrde's Excellent Antiphones": Samuel Wesley's Projected Edition of Selections from Gradualia', Byrd Newsletter, 9 (2003), 7–9 (supplement to Early Music Review, 91 (June 2003)). We are grateful to Richard Turbet, editor of the Byrd Newsletter, and to Clifford Bartlett, editor of the Early Music Review, for granting permission for it to be used here.
1. Carl Winter, The Fitzwilliam Museum: An Illustrated Survey (Clairvaux, 1958), 2–3; Charles Cudworth, 'A Cambridge Anniversary: The Fitzwilliam Museum and its Music-Loving Founder', Musical Times, 107 (1966), 113–17, 209–10; R. G. Thorne, The History of Parliament: The House of Commons, 1790–1820, 5 vols. (London, 1986), iii, 774–5; B. H. Blacker, 'Fitzwilliam, Richard, Seventh Viscount Fitzwilliam of Merrion (1745–1816)', rev. John D. Pickles, The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, ed. H. C. G. Matthew and Brian Harrison, 61 vols. (Oxford, 2004; <http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/9660>, accessed 9 October 2004).
3. Winter, The Fitzwilliam Museum, 5.
4. Alec Hyatt King, Some British Collectors of Music, c.1600–1900 (Cambridge, 1963), 36–7, 147. For the music collections, see John Alexander Fuller-Maitland and Arthur Henry Mann, Catalogue of the Music in the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge (London, 1893); A Short-Title Catalogue of Music Printed before 1825 in the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, ed. Valerie Rumbold and Iain Fenlon (Cambridge, 1992).
5. The building now houses the Whipple Museum of the History of Science.
6. Winter, The Fitzwilliam Museum, 1.
7. William Sheldon and Edward Roberts of Messrs Oddies to the Vice Chancellor of the University of Cambridge, 26 February 1816 (Cu, CUR 30.1, item 5, unfoliated).
8. Cudworth, 'A Cambridge Anniversary', 209, states that the catalogue was drawn up shortly after Fitzwilliam's death at his house at Richmond by James Bartleman and fair-copied by 'the Revd J. Turle'. Bartleman's involvement in the drawing up of the catalogue is plausible, as he was a leading collector of music in addition to being a singer and impresario, but cannot be established by any of the evidence available to the present writers. By 'the Revd J. Turle', Cudworth presumably meant James Turle (1802–82), who in 1831 became organist of Westminster Abbey. It is possible that Turle fair-copied the catalogue, as Cudworth asserts, but he would have been only 14 years old at the time, and he was never (pace Cudworth) in holy orders. Intriguingly, at this time he was a treble in the Portuguese embassy chapel choir under Novello: see Wesley to Novello, [15 January 1816] (LSW, 261 and n. 1).
9. Sheldon to John Kaye, Master of Christ's College, 17 August 1816 (Cu, CUR 30.1, item 20, unfoliated). Novello later stated in the Preface to The Fitzwilliam Music that he had seen a catalogue of the collection before he had inspected it himself.
10. William Weber, The Rise of Musical Classics in Eighteenth-Century England: A Study in Canon, Ritual, and Ideology (Oxford, 1992); Thomas Day, 'A Renaissance Revival in Eighteenth-Century England', Musical Quarterly, 57 (1971), 575–92; Percy Lovell, ' "Ancient" Music in Eighteenth-Century England', Music and Letters, 60 (1979), 401–15. For the later eighteenth century, see also Simon McVeigh, Concert Life in London from Mozart to Haydn (Cambridge, 1993).
11. Charles Burney, A General History of Music, from the Earliest Ages to the Present Period, 4 vols. (London, 1776–89), ed. Frank Mercer, 2 vols. (London, 1935; repr. New York, 1957).
12. John Hawkins, A General History of the Science and Practice of Music (London, 1776; new edns London, 1853, repr. New York, 1963; London, 1875, repr. Graz, 1969).
13. William Boyce, Cathedral Music, being a Collection in Score of the Most Valuable and Useful Compositions for that Service, by Several English Masters of the Last 200 Years, 3 vols. (London, 1760–73). See also H. Diack Johnstone, 'The Genesis of Boyce's "Cathedral Music" ', Music and Letters, 56 (1975), 26–40.
14. Weber, The Rise of Musical Classics, 56–74; on the private/public question, see ibid., 59. See also McVeigh, Concert Life, 2–3 and passim.
15. For programmes of two concerts from the 1756–7 and 1790–1 seasons, see McVeigh, Concert Life, 244–5. Further evidence of the repertory of the concerts is contained in Words of Such Pieces as are Most Usually Performed by the Academy of Ancient Music (2nd edn, London, 1768); Weber conjectures (p. 63, n. 134) that this publication may represent the contents of the Academy's library more than its actual repertory. We are grateful to Tim Eggington for making copies of Academy of Ancient Music programmes available, and to William Weber and Harry Johnstone for information on the Academy's activities.
16. It was also sung as a grace at meetings of the Catch Club. We are grateful to Brian Robins for this information. On its authorship, see Philip Brett, 'Did Byrd Write "Non nobis, Domine"?', Musical Times, 113 (1972), 855–7.
17. Weber, The Rise of Musical Classics, 147–9. See also Brian Robins, Catch and Glee Culture in Eighteenth-Century England (forthcoming).
18. Weber, The Rise of Musical Classics, 193. Weber's discussion of these institutions is largely in terms of their membership, and a comprehensive survey of the music performed at their meetings has yet to be published.
19. Weber, The Rise of Musical Classics, 193. See also Mark Argent, Recollections of R. J. S. Stevens: An Organist in Georgian London (London, 1992), 291 and passim.
20. McVeigh, Concert Life, 22–7 and passim; Weber, The Rise of Musical Classics, 143–97. The phrase quoted is McVeigh's (p. 22). See also Fiona M. Palmer, 'The Ancient Concerts', Dragonetti in England 1794–1846: The Career of a Double Bass Virtuoso (Oxford, 1997), 122–41.
21. For a sample programme from the 1790–1 season, see McVeigh, Concert Life, 245.
22. Weber, The Rise of Musical Classics, 103–42; McVeigh, Concert Life, 28–32.
23. The prospect of the considerable earnings to be made from lecturing in London was probably an important factor in Crotch's decision to move from Oxford to London in late 1805: see Philip Olleson, 'Crotch, William (1775–1847)', The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (<http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/6810>, accessed 9 October 2004).
24. William Crotch, Specimens of Various Styles of Music Referred to in a Course of Lectures Read at Oxford & London, 3 vols. (London, 1808–10). The original texts of Crotch's lectures are at NWr, MSS 11063–7, 11228–33). He later published a version of them as Substance of Several Courses of Lectures on Music, Read in Oxford and in the Metropolis (London, 1831).
25. A Selection of Sacred Music from the Works of the Most Eminent Composers of Germany and Italy, 6 vols. (London, 1806–25). For Latrobe, see Rachel Cowgill, 'The Papers of C. I. Latrobe: New Light on Musicians, Music and the Christian Family in Late Eighteenth-Century England', Music in Eighteenth-Century Britain, ed. David Wyn Jones (Aldershot, 2000), 234–58.
26. A Collection of Sacred Music, as Performed at the Royal Portuguese Chapel in London, Composed, Selected, & Arranged with a Separate Accompaniment for the Organ or Piano Forte and Dedicated to his Friend the Rev.d W. V. Fryer by V. Novello, Organist to the Portuguese Embassy, 2 vols. (London, 1811). This publication is contextualized as a case study in Fiona M. Palmer, Vincent Novello (1781–1861): The Career of an English Musical Philanthropist (in preparation).
27. Philip Olleson, 'Samuel Wesley and the English Bach Awakening', The English Bach Awakening: Knowledge of J. S. Bach and his Music in England, 1750–1830, ed. Michael Kassler (Aldershot, 2004), 249–311; SWMM, 66–86, 89 and passim.
28. Olleson, 'Samuel Wesley and the English Bach Awakening', 306–8; SWMM, 145–6; see also Yo Tomita, 'Bach's Credo in England: An Early History', Irish Musical Studies, 8 (2004), 205–27.
29. Cu, CUR, Grace Book N, 8 December 1824.
30. Novello to Hunt, 28 July 1823 (Lbl, Add. MS 38108, f. 304). As Novello went on to state later in the same letter, he had in mind the post of Music Librarian at the British Museum, which was vacant at the time. For his aspirations in this direction, see Alec Hyatt King, Printed Music in the British Museum: An Account of the Collections, the Catalogues, and their Formation up to 1920 (London, 1979), 25–6.
31. For Novello's depression, the first onset of which appears to have followed the death of his son Sydney at the age of four in 1820, see Mary Cowden Clarke, Life and Labours of Vincent Novello (London, 1864), 23. Wesley was sufficiently concerned about the state of Novello's digestion at the end of 1824 to urge him in a number of letters to consult John Abernethy, the leading specialist in digestive disorders of his day: see Wesley to Novello, [13 December 1824], 20 December , 21 December , 8 January 1825 (LSW, 344–5, 345–6, 346–7, 349–50).
32. Cu, CUR 30.1, item 60x, 10 March 1825.
33. Novello to Thomas Le Blanc, 27 January 1825 (Cu, CUR 30.1, item 60).
34. Some light on the dates of Novello's visit is shed by Wesley's letters to him of 22 December 1824 and 8 January 1825 (LSW, 347–9 and 349–50), written to him in London respectively before his departure for Cambridge and after his return.
35. Novello to Le Blanc, 27 January 1825.
36. Lcm, MS 5246, where it appears bound in at the end of the volume.
37. Alumni Cantabrigienses, Part II: 1752–1900, ed. J. A. Venn, 6 vols. (Cambridge, 1940–54), ii, 219. Dampier's brother Henry Thomas (d. 1831), a Prebendary of Ely Cathedral, was also a Fellow there.
38. Dampier to Novello, 18 January 1825 (LEbr, Novello Cowden Clarke Collection, Letters A–K).
39. Novello to Le Blanc, 27 January 1825.
40. Cu, Grace Book N, 18 March 1825.
41. Lcm, MSS 5242–7, Lbl, Add. MS 65476.
42. Wesley's transcriptions have not survived. For his activities in Cambridge at this time, including a performance with Novello of his Confitebor in an arrangement for organ duet to an invited audience in the chapel of Trinity College on 1 August 1825, see Wesley to Sarah Suter, 1 August 1825 (Lbl, Add. MS 35012, f. 109, summarized in SWSB, 430); SWMM, 183–4.
43. 'The Fitzwilliam Music', dated May 1825 and signed by Novello (Cu, CUR 30.1, item 60.2).
44. Exceptions are Lbl, Add. MS 65476, bound in 1831, and Lcm, MS 5250, bound in 1832.
45. Lcm, MS 5250 ('Italian Madrigals &c from the Fitzwilliam Museum'). Dates include 4 July 1830 and 7 July 1830.
46. Lcm, MS 5247, unfoliated, item 1. The 'bel Quadro di Titiano' (sic) was Venus and Cupid with a Lute-Player, the only painting by Titian in the collection at the time.
47. All but one are in Tudway's anthology (Lbm, Harl. MS 7338); the remaining one is at Lbl, Add. MS 31399. See Robert Shay, 'Aldrich, Henry', The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians (2nd edn, London, 2001), vi, 879. Novello doubtless knew of this collection from Burney's discussion of it in A General History of Music, iii, 601 (ed. Mercer, ii, 79).
48. John Garth and Charles Avison, The First 50 Psalms Set to Music by Benedetto Marcello . . . and Adapted to the English Version, 8 vols. (London, 1757), an adaptation of Marcello's Estro poetico-armonico (Venice, 1724–6).
49. Richard John Samuel Stevens, Sacred Music for One, Two, Three & Four Voices, from the Works of the Most Esteemed Composers, Italian and English (London, [1798–1802?]).
50. Joseph Corfe, Sacred Musical Extracts, Consisting of Twelve Pieces, Selected from the Compositions of the Most Eminent Authors, and Adapted to the Psalms for One, Two or Three Voices (London and Dublin, ); Sacred Music . . . in Two Volumes Consisting of a Selection . . . from the Te Deum, Jubilate, Anthems, & Milton's Hymn, Adapted to . . . Music of . . . Jomelli, Pergolesi, Perez, Martini, Perti, Scolari, &c. by J. Harris. Arranged and published by J. Corfe (London, [1800?]); A Treatise on Singing . . . Interspersed with Original Examples . . . Selected . . . from the most Eminent Authors . . . Particularly Some . . . Vocal Pieces of Sacred Music, from the MSS. of Jomelli, and Sacchini, Never Before Published (London and Bath, ).
51. The Fitzwilliam Music, Preface, vi.
53. The Preface is dated December 1825. Some indication of the dates of publication of individual volumes is given by the dates of reviews in the Harmonicon and Quarterly Musical Magazine and Review: see notes 56 and 57 below.
54. See the review of vol. 4 in the Harmonicon for May 1827, which stated that the fifth and final volume had by this time been published, and would be reviewed in the June number. This review cannot have been written later than about 25 April, as it is clear from internal evidence that the Harmonicon appeared on or around the first day of the month, with a press date no more than four or five days earlier.
55. Owen Rees, 'Adventures of Portuguese "Ancient Music" in Oxford, London, and Paris: Duarte Lobo's Liber missarum and Musical Antiquarianism, 1650–1850', Music and Letters, 86 (2005), 42–73.
56. Harmonicon, 4 (1826), 32–5 (vol. 1); 5 (1827), 9–11 (vols. 2–3), 88–9 (vol. 4) and 112–13 (vol. 5). These were the numbers for February 1826, January 1827, May 1827 and June 1827 respectively.
57. QMMR, 8 (1826), 107–13 (vol. 1) and 343–52 (vol. 2); 9 (1827), 230–8 (vols. 3–5). Notwithstanding the 'official' dates of publication on their wrappers, these numbers were probably published in July 1826, December 1826 and October or November 1827 respectively: see Leanne Langley, 'The English Musical Journal in the Early Nineteenth Century' (Ph.D. diss., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1983), 228–9.
58. Harmonicon, 4 (1826), 32.
59. Harmonicon, 5 (1827), 113.
60. QMMR, 7 (1825), 95–101. Wesley's outraged reactions to the reviews of the Service in F in the Harmonicon and more particularly in QMMR, his attempts to discover the identity of their authors, and his increasingly abusive references to Horsley once he had satisfied himself that he was the author of the QMMR review, run obsessively through his letters of 1825 to Novello: see SWMM, 173–5, 180–2 and 184–5; LSW, 349–400, passim. Some similar discussion of the reviews of The Fitzwilliam Music would no doubt have featured in letters between Wesley and Novello in 1826 and 1827 had there been any, but by this time the two men had quarrelled and had broken off all communication.
61. We are grateful to Stanley Pelkey for first alerting us to the existence of this copy, and to Katherine Axtell and David Peter Coppen of the Sibley Library for providing information that confirms Horsley's authorship of the Fitzwilliam Music review.
62. QMMR, 9 (1827), 236.
63. Ibid., 237. Three obvious typographical errors have been corrected without comment.
64. Clarke, Life and Labours of Vincent Novello, 18–20. She also drew attention to the speed of his copying, citing as an example an occasion when on a visit to York in 1828 he was able to transcribe four anthems by Purcell and the whole of his Evening Service in G minor, Z231, from the manuscripts in the Minster in a single day.
65. Ibid., 19.
66. Novello later presented them to the British Museum, and they are now Lbl, Add. MS 11729. As is clear from his letter of presentation and from the letters themselves, there were many letters that he did not preserve. All those that survive are included in LSW.
67. Alumni Cantabrigienses, ed. Venn, vi, 307.
68. SWMM, 200–7. He appears to have been involved in a number of shady business ventures, some allusions to which are to be found in Wesley's letters, and he was declared bankrupt in 1832.
69. Wait to Wesley, 11 May 1825 (Lbl, Add. MS 11729, f. 258, summarized in SWSB, 420). Wesley subsequently forwarded this letter to Novello.
70. Cfm, MU MS 114: see Fuller Maitland and Mann, Catalogue of the Music in the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, 58–9. Dating from around 1740, it consists of 21 folios in score, is inscribed simply 'Guglielmo Byrde', and bears the signature and date 'R. Fitzwilliam 1771'. Nothing is known about its earlier provenance. It contains 21 items, all in four parts: the first 19 items (i.e. all the four-part pieces) from Book II of Gradualia, Quotiescumque manducabitis from Book I of Gradualia, and one piece (Quia illic interrogaverunt nos) that is not by Byrd at all but is a four-part section from Victoria's eight-part motet Super flumina Babylonis.
71. Now Lbl, Add. MS 35001, items 4–21, ff. 86–144v: see Augustus Hughes-Hughes, Catalogue of the Manuscript Music in the British Museum, 3 vols. (London, 1906–9), i, 345–6, where they are erroneously described as being by Wesley himself. The surviving manuscript does not contain all the items in the Fitzwilliam manuscript, but there can be little doubt that Wesley did in fact transcribe it in full, and that sowme portions, the largest containing the whole of the first item (Puer natus est nobis) and the greater part of the second (Viderunt omnes fines terrae), have subsequently been lost.
72. Wesley to Samuel Sebastian Wesley, 1 August 1825 (LSW, 380).
73. Wesley to Novello, 14 September  (LSW, 393–4).
74. Wesley to Novello, 23 November  (LSW, 399–400).
75. Wesley to Novello, 12 December  (LSW, 401).
77. LSW, xlviii–lii; SWMM, 186, 189–90. Light on some aspects of this quarrel may be shed by a letter from an anonymous correspondent signing himself 'Jubal' that appeared in the June 1826 number of the Harmonicon and alleged that Wesley had improperly muscled in on Novello's activities. It has not possible been to establish Jubal's identity or the nature of his relationship (if any) to Novello.
78. Wesley to Robert Glenn, 4 April 1826 (LSW, 443).
79. Wesley to Sarah Wesley, 27 April  (Mr MARC, DDWF 15/33, summarized in SWSB, 444).
80. Wesley to Sarah Wesley, 14 June  (Mr MARC, DDWes 6/38, summarized in SWSB, 448–9).
81. Wesley to Jackson, 19 December 1826 (LSW, 416).
82. As we have seen above (note 71), Wesley appears to have transcribed all 21 items in the Fitzwilliam manuscript. It is difficult to explain the discrepancy except in terms of a lapse of memory on his part.
83. A set of partbooks of Cantiones sacrae I (1589), now Lbl, Madrigal Society A57–61. They are not included in the 1816 index, and so were presumably acquired by the society between then and the date of Wesley's letter.
84. Wesley to Street, 25 May 1830 (LSW, 448–50). This letter was first printed in Musical Times, 64 (1923), 567.
85. Richard Turbet, 'The Fall and Rise of William Byrd, 1623–1901', Sundry Sorts of Music Books: Essays on the British Library Collections, Presented to O. W. Neighbour on his 70th Birthday, ed. Chris Banks, Arthur Searle and Malcolm Turner (London, 1993), 119–28 (pp. 120–5). See also Richard Turbet, 'Byrd Throughout All Generations', Cathedral Music, 35 (1992), 19–24.
86. Turbet, 'The Fall and Rise of William Byrd', 120.
87. Ibid., 121.
88. For Hawkins's ownership of Gradualia, see note 98 below. Boyce's library included an unidentified 'Latin trio' and a manuscript copy of Gradualia I in score. Burney's library included both a complete and an incomplete set of Gradualia II and a complete set of the 1589 Cantiones sacrae. For Boyce and Burney as collectors, see Alec Hyatt King, Some British Collectors of Music, c.1600–1900 (London, 1963), 20, 30–2, 132, 133. A marked-up copy of the catalogue of Boyce's sale, held by Christie and Ansell on 14–16 April 1779, is at Christie's; further copies are in the Taphouse Collection at Leeds Public Library and in the Gerald Coke Handel Collection, since 2004 housed at the Foundling Museum. We are grateful to Ian Bartlett for making a photocopy of the catalogue available to us. A marked-up copy of Burney's sale catalogue has been reprinted as Catalogue of the Music Library of Charles Burney, Sold in London, 8 August, 1814, with an introduction by Alec Hyatt King (Amsterdam, 1973).
89. Cfm, MU MSS 31 and 112. We are grateful to Harry Johnstone for this information.
90. The English pieces were Bow thine Ear, O Lord my God and The Eagle's Force.
91. Lbl, Madrigal Society, F1 (Records and Attendances, 1744–57) and F2 (Records and Attendances, 1757–70).
92. Lbl, Madrigal Society, F21.
93. Lbl, Madrigal Society, A52–6.
94. Lbl, Madrigal Society, A22–7.
95. Lbl, Madrigal Society, A52–9.
96. Lbl, Madrigal Society, B1–10.
97. Lbl, Madrigal Society, A16–21.
98. Lbl, Madrigal Society, C28 and C29. Both date from about 1780 and are in the hand of the Roman Catholic musician John Danby (c.1757–98). The score of Gradualia I is annotated 'from an ancient copy in score in the possession of Sir John Hawkins', and that of Gradualia II 'from the MSS parts in the possession of Sir John Hawkins'.
99. This score is no longer in the Madrigal Society's collection.
100. Richard Turbet, 'The Musical Antiquarian Society', Brio, 29 (1992), 13–20.
101. The Fitzwilliam Music, Never Published: Three Hymns, the Words by the Late Revd Charles Wesley, A.M., . . . and Set to Music by George Friderick Handel, Faithfully Transcribed from his Autography in the Library of the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, by Samuel Wesley, and Now Very Respectfully Presented to the Wesleyan Society at Large (London, ).
102. Handel's Three Hymns from the Fitzwilliam Library, Arranged in Score for the Convenience of Choirs (London, ). For a modern facsimile edition of both editions with supporting materials, see Donald Burrows, George Frideric Handel: The Complete Hymns and Chorales (London, 1987).
103. SWMM, 191–4.