Explore Your Archive Week has arrived and we are honoured to have Val Birchall, Assistant Director, Culture and Visitor Economy, write our first blog of the week:
My favourite thing in Archives & Collections, Val Birchall
My favourite collection in the Archive is MS 1292, the letters and papers of Joseph Moore (1766 – 1851), because it ties together so many aspects of Birmingham’s culture and history – the Town Hall, the General Hospital, the musical connection with Leipzig (which is of course one of our sister cities today), and the Birmingham Music Festival for which I have a particular fondness and which was originally founded by Moore.
Moore founded the festival in 1799 and was responsible for its management, and as part of his interest he instigated, in 1834, the building of Birmingham Town Hall as a working venue to house a festival of growing importance in the musical world.The festivals were used as a very successful means of raising funds for the General Hospital and this close co-operation between the medical and musical life of the city is reflected by the fact that the Town Hall organ and an extensive musical library were the property of the hospital, the cost having been defrayed out of the festival receipts (see MS 1292/9).
The correspondence in the collection demonstrates how the festivals, under the management of Moore, acquired a high reputation in Europe for giving the public a chance to hear masterpieces by great composers which were interpreted by the most eminent vocal and instrumental artists of the day.