Profile of Richard Charteris Publications Recordings Reviews Essay Publishers Contact Richard Charteris


Music & Letters, 88 (2007), includes:

An Annotated Catalogue of the Music Manuscripts in the Folger Shakes[eare Library, Washington, D.C., by Richard Charteris. pp. xxix + 747. Annotated Reference Tools in Music, no. 6. Hillsdale, N.Y.: Pendragon Press, 2005. ISBN 978-1-57647-115-9.

We owe a great debt of gratitude to many American industrialists. Having acquired fine libraries, many of them ensured that in due time their collections were made available to scholars at large. One was Henry Clay Folger (1857–1930), not forgetting his wife Emily (1858–1936), whose collection became the Folger Shakespeare Library, opened in 1932. This has continued to acquire materials, and only a third of the current holdings formed part of the original bequest. Its holdings are much wider in scope than the ‘Shakespeare’ in the title would suggest, for although it does indeed house a unique collection of Shakespeariana produced over the last 400 years, there is also a particularly fine assemblage of early English printed books.

For many years Richard Charteris has scoured the world’s libraries seeking out unknown or neglected music manuscripts, and our debt to him in this regard is immense. The Folger Shakespeare Library has been part of his trail since the 1970s, and he has gradually worked on cataloguing the music manuscripts there. He begins his Preface with the statement that ‘A complete catalogue of the Folger Shakespeare Library’s music manuscripts has not been available until now’ and continues: ‘The great bulk of [them] have hitherto escaped examination, and many compositions are not recorded in relevant work lists in New Grove II Online.’

This handsome and comprehensive list of 168 items, presented on 747 pages, now puts matters to rights. It is difficult to imagine the work being better done. Cooperation between compiler and the librarians has resulted in a detailed examination of all aspects concerning the make-up and history of the manuscripts and any attached printed books and of material in their bindings. Arrangement is in press-mark order, and individual descriptions are compiled under whichever are relevant of the following headings: Description: incorporating information on the number of partbooks, their measurements, covers and flyleaves, the number of copyists, inks, and make-up of staves; Imprint: for printed material and references to them in catalogues and databases; Paper: watermarks and paper makers; Provenance: the known history of sources, including when and where the item was acquired by Henry Folger or subsequently by the Library; Accession Number and Former Pressmark: both current and any former numbers are shown; Commentary: (as required); Microfilm: the number of the Library’s master microfilm where this exists (as it does in most cases); Literature: a list of any previously published descriptions; Inventory: a detailed list of contents, often with further commentaries for individual pieces.

A series of thirty-three plates illustrates a wide cross-section of the manuscripts. Among the hands shown are those of the seventeenth-century scribes Thomas Hamond, John Playford, Benjamin Cosyn, and John Dowland. An astonishing array of later ones, including Berlioz, Clara Schumann, Gounod, and a wealth of British composers and performers, appear in William Henderson’s Scrapbook collection relating to music on the British stage from the mid-eighteenth century to c.1900—twenty-three volumes containing manuscript letters and documents as well as playbills and other ephemera. Charteris has listed 389 music-related items in Henderson’s books in great detail, summarizing the contents and identifying the persons involved. His sources 160–8 were formerly uncatalogued in ‘Black Boxes’ and, with the exception of the Henderson Collection, mostly comprise instrumental parts and songs used in productions of Shakespeare’s plays in America and elsewhere.. . .

. . . In short this is a very thorough and detailed listing of the Folger’s current music holdings and scholars can turn to it in confidence.

Andrew Ashbee

For the complete review, click here:

Viola da Gamba Society of America News, 39 (2002), includes:

Thomas Lupo, The Three-Part Consort Music, ed. Richard Charteris. Fretwork Editions no. 18. London: Fretwork Editions, 2001. pp. xxx + 55 +36 + 39 + 32. ISBN 1-898131-29-5.

...In the Lupo, we have works of the highest quality and import by a composer of the second rank (at least in reputation) ...

The Lupo includes 25 fantasias and four pavans. Reading through the collection offers the very considerable pleasure of following one of the early geniuses of instrumental chamber music through a wide-ranging exploration of the possibilities of three-voiced texture. A stimulating variety of scorings, textures, structures, themes and moods are presented. A great deal of satisfaction to be had in this music derives from Lupo's exquisite sense of color. This is nowhere more evident than in the unusally lush pieces apparently scored for such odd close-voiced combinations as two trebles and one tenor, or one treble and two tenors or three like instruments.

Charteris has given eight of the fantasias the additional title "Air." This group of pieces is scored for two trebles and one bass instrument. The structure of each piece is highly sectional, often including a section in triple meter. These pieces bear comparison with the treble-treble-bass fantasias of Gibbons, long considered to be early examples of the Italianate trio-sonata style in England, possibly intended for violins with bass and continuo. My impression of the Lupo airs is that the music is even more theatrical than the Gibbons, with clear echos of the witty dances that Lupo and the other members of Coprario's Music provided for the court masques.

Richard Charteris's edition is a model of its type, painstakingly collated from a daunting array of sources all carefully described with variants noted in the critical notes. The introduction is informative and interesting with footnotes leading to a wealth of fine secondary literature on the repertoire. Because of the high quality, volume, and variety of music in this publication, I would consider it a valuable item for any gambist's personal library. This music varies considerably in difficulty. The pavans and slow fantasias are good entry-level items for beginning consort players. Professionals may find themselves challenged by the abstractions and syncopations of some of the more conservative fantasias. Charteris notes that keyboard accompaniment may be appropriate for this repertoire ...

... I am already teaching and performing from the Fretwork edition of Lupo.

John Mark Rozendaal

American Reference Books Annual, 28 (1997), includes:

Giovanni Gabrieli (ca. 1555-1612): A Thematic Catalogue of his Music with a Guide to the Source Materials and Translations of his Vocal Texts, by Richard Charteris. Thematic Catalogues Series, no. 20. Stuyvesant, N.Y., Pendragon Press, 1996. pp. xxvi + 597. ISBN 0-945193-66-1.

An important addition to music library reference collections, this new thematic catalogue updates and greatly expands the thematic listings in Egon Kenton’s Life and Works of Giovanni Gabrieli (American Institute of Musicology [AIM], 1967). It contributes previously unpublished information and brings together extensive information on Gabrieli’s works and editions of those works. Charteris brings a high level of scholarship to this work, as he has published extensively on Gabrieli and is the editor of a new 12-volume edition of Gabrieli’s complete works published by AIM and Hänssler Verlag.

As in most thematic catalogues, details on early editions, manuscript sources, modern editions, sources of texts, and a commentary, as well as an incipit, are provided for each work. In addition, appendixes offer adescription of early prints and manuscript sources, a chronological listing of modern editions, a concordance to Kenton’sthematic listing, a discography, and a bibliography. This book is a must-have for academic collections. It offers extensive information on Gabrieli in a single volume ...

Allie Wise Goudy  

  Another review of the above book can be found in the following:

The Historic Brass Society Journal, 8 (1997).

Follow the link to read this extra review >>


^ Back to top of page