The National Library of Wales’ music collection has become an impressive collection for a number of reasons.
As a result of the Copyright Act of 1911 the Library has the right to receive new musical works that are printed in Britain. The collection is therefore enriched by the constant flow of printed musical items.
The Welsh Music Catalogue (up until 2000) is kept in The North Reading Room. This is a card catalogue which includes a Musical Biography and a Title and First Line index.
Not every item reaches us by legal deposit. The Library has to buy some categories e.g. old Welsh music and Celtic music. The Library’s role as a research centre is also reflected in its purchase of scholarly editions of European music.
The collection is enriched enormously by valuable and exciting donations e.g. the papers and manuscripts of William Mathias. We also hold the papers of Grace Williams, one of Vaughan Williams’ pupils and friend of Benjamin Britten.
Another example of a valuable donation is that of the archive of Daniel Jones, who was an old friend of Dylan Thomas. The archive includes not only the composer’s musical compositions but also letters and materials relating to subjects such as the Soviet Union and the Middle East.
The National Screen and Sound Archive of Wales, situated in The National Library of Wales, is responsible for safeguarding our audio heritage and it has a wealth of thousands of tapes, records and CD’s.
The Archive receives modern records from companies such as ‘Sain’. It has also built a special historical collection of rare recordings of broadcast Welsh music. The historical collection has also been enriched through donations such as the John Davies collection of early 78 records.
Live music performances are held in the Drwm, which is a small homely theatre in the Library. Keep an eye on the Library’s event page for information about performances.
In 2005 the Library held an exhibition called ‘Encore!’ to celebrate our musical heritage. This exhibition can now be seen on the Library’s website.
Although the exhibition has ended, the Library’s treasures are still here. The scores are ready to be opened, the instruments await the hand of the musician and the stage awaits the sound of his footsteps.