VENUE : Perryfields, Glebe Close, St John’s, Worcester WR2 5AX. The library has moved from the City Museum. Please call 01905 28613 to arrange an appointment to view it.
ESO’s music library is stored at the Elgar School of Music in Worcester. The school has recently taken over the running of the county music library, which was left behind when they merged with the University library. The idea is to revitalise a fabulous resource that the county had increasingly struggled to cope with, and to that end we have linked the two libraries to provide borrowers with a better choice.
The future of libraries in the UK, especially away from major conurbations, is unclear to say the least and the music is the element most under threat. We see this partnership as the start of something much bigger, and an opportunity to create something that bucks the trend. When programming concerts the cost of hiring the music has an increasingly large influence on the choice of what to play. Both our libraries have a decent collection of English music, and our aim is to develop and widen this to create library that reflects all the best in English music, one that will encourage musical organisations to play it.
As an example of this, to hire a set of parts from a library costs £25. If ESO need to borrow from a publisher it can cost the equivalent of £15 per minute, which over the course of an average concert is well over £1000.
We have already had some donations of works by Elgar, and are establishing connections with other organisations such as the Three Choirs Festival and the Elgar Chorale to create a virtual library that is greater than the sum of its parts. We are also thereby establishing a network with all the musical organisations who borrow from us or come to see the collection.
This is very much work in progress but we believe it will be of benefit not just to ESO but to anyone who wishes to perform the music.