Archival Sources for Letters and Other Documents
This page provides a list (organized alphabetically by country) of libraries and archives where Sorabji-related source documents, mainly letters, can be found. A brief description of the collections’ contents is given; links to items are provided with as much precision as the library catalogues allow, that is, using permanent links whenever possible.
This compilation does not systematically cover the musical manuscripts located in public collections.
Links to the specific pages where items are located in libraries and archives are given whenever possible, but it should be kept in mind that URLs resulting from searches in library databases are often very long and complex and are subject to change. Permanent links (permalinks) are given whenever possible.
Alban-Berg-Stiftung: The Alban-Berg-Stiftung (Vienna) owns a set of proofs of Opus clavicembalisticum (1929-30; 253 pp.) that came into Alban Berg’s hands.
Arnold Schönberg Center: The Arnold Schönberg Center (Vienna) owns one letter from Sorabji to Schoenberg.
Laureto Rodoni: This private archive, which operates an extensive site devoted to Ferruccio Busoni, owns a collection of letters of Busoni to Egon Petri and Rosamond Ley (1882-1969, English translator of Busoni’s letters and essays), originally the property of the Burra Moody Archive, in which can be found a letter from Sorabji to Ley (date not specified).
Paul Sacher Stiftung: The Paul Sacher Stiftung (Basel), where a large number of manuscripts of works by Sorabji are now located, has letters to George Richards, the husband of the architect Elisabeth Whitworth Scott, and to Gordon Watson, an Australian pianist who was a pupil of Egon Petri and who played several works by Humphrey Searle.
McMaster University: The Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji Collection at McMaster University (Hamilton, Ontario) houses an extensive collection of consisting of three accruals:
Library and Archives Canada: Library and Archives Canada (Ottawa, Ontario), formerly known as the National Library of Canada, owns various Sorabji-related documents.
University of Toronto: The Edward Johnson Music Library at the University of Toronto two items:
Médiathèque Musicale Mahler: The Médiathèque Musicale Mahler, 11 bis, rue Vézelay, F-75008 Paris, owns some correspondence between Sorabji and Alfred Cortot. See the document Lettres et correspondances dans les fonds d’archives (K à Z).
British Library: The British Library (London), in addition to the manuscripts of Concerto [no. 1] pour piano et grand orchestre (1915-16; 177 pp.) and Music to “The Rider by Night” (1919; 54 pp.), filed under Add. 65183 and Add. 57966 ff. 29-45v, owns various letters by Sorabji. The text for Music to “The Rider by Night” can be found in an as yet uncatalogued collection of Robert Malise Bowyer Nichols’s works filed under Dep. 10190.
Edinburgh University Library
National Library of Scotland: The National Library of Scotland (Edinburgh) owns the papers of the composer and pianist Ronald Stevenson. The collection, filed under Acc.11567 Ronald Stevenson Musicological correspondence (section 24), consists of the following items (selective list).
Royal Academy of Music: The Royal Academy of Music (London) owns two Sorabji-related items in its York Gate Collections (located using the Apollo database). Both items were given in 1999 by the concert agent Norman McCann, who studied singing at the Royal Academy of Music from 1948 to 1952.
Royal Northern College of Music: The Royal Northern College of Music (Manchester) owns the papers of the pianist John Ogdon, which contain the following items.
Sorabji Archive (Sorabji Music Archive until January 1993): The Sorabji Archive (housed in Alistair Hinton’s home at Easton Dene, Bailbrook Lane, Bath BA1 7AA [Google Map] from its foundation in September 1988 up to 14 August 2008, when it moved to Warlow Farm House, Eaton Bishop, Hereford, HR2 9QF [Google Map]) houses the largest collection of letters to Sorabji as well as photocopies of letters by Sorabji.
St Andrews University Library: The Library at St Andrews University owns three letters from Sorabji written between 7 and 23 November 1967 in addition to a set of proofs for Opus clavicembalisticum (1929-30; 253 pp.). These items are found in the papers of Cedric Thorpe Davie (MSS 37754-37758) and are listed in Cedric Thorpe Davie (1913-1983): Catalogue of Works and Index to Correspondence (University Library, St Andrews, 1988), 111.
Trinity College of Music, The Jerwood Library of the Performing Arts: The Library at Trinity College of Music owns several valuable items, including three manuscripts given by Miss Anne Cassal:
Westminster Music Library: The Westminster Music Library (formerly known as the London Central Music Library or Victoria Library), which is the largest public music library in the south of the United Kingdom, was founded in 1946 on the basis of the large collection that had belonged to the music critic Edwin Evans (1871-1945). According to Cecilia, it houses manuscripts and letters by Sorabji in its Edwin Evans Collection.
University of Cape Town, UCT Libraries: The Manuscripts & Archives division of the UCT Libraries owns the papers of Erik Chisholm under number BC129. An extensive finding aid (127 pp.) used to be available; it had dispappeared when the link was checked on 27 May 2013. Relevant items will be found in:
The collection also features pp. 1, 2, 15, and 16 of one of the two manuscripts of Trois poèmes du “Gulistān” de Saʿdī (1926; 16 pp.), a very poor copy of the entire score, and a bound version of Opus clavicembalisticum (1929-30; 253 pp.).
The papers of Colin Taylor, which feature correspondence with Philip Heseltine, may contain interesting material.
Harry Ransom Center, The University of Texas at Austin: The Sacheverell Sitwell Collection at the Harry Ransom Center contains correspondence from Sorabji in box 71, folder 1, found in the category “II. Correspondence, 1912-1988”. The composer’s name is listed as “Sorabji, Kaikhosru Shapruji” in Sacheverell Sitwell: An Inventory of His Collection at the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center.
International Piano Archives: The International Piano Archives at the University of Maryland (College Park, Md.), house the papers of one of Sorabji’s American admirers, Donald Garvelmann. In addition to the manuscripts of Three Pastiches for Piano (1922; 17 pp.) and Frammenti aforistici (Sutras) (104) (1962-64; 37 pp.), it contains Sorabji’s letters to Garvelmann.
Library of Congress: The Performing Arts Reading Room at the Library of Congress (Washington, D.C.) has five collections featuring Sorabji-related material.
Yale University: The Alan Pryce-Jones Papers at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University (New Haven, Conn.), contain under call number GEN MSS 513, box 23, folder 11831, a letter of 18 October 1953 by Sorabji to Alan Pryce-Jones (1908-2000), editor of the Times Literary Supplement in the 1950s.
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