October is Black History Month in the UK and this year, Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance have let me do a plainsightSOUND Instagram takeover!

This is an opportunity to highlight the musicians that feature on this site. It will hopefully encourage some new visitors too.

If you have an Instagram account and would like to join in the conversation, head over to https://www.instagram.com and search #plainsightsound. Don't worry, if you don't have an account, you can still see the pictures during Black History Month and after. Don't forget, you can use the same hashtag on Facebook and Twitter to keep up with the latest news.

Everyone who appears should already be shown in the Timeline. Let me know if there's anyone missing...

Message from a reader

A couple of weeks ago, I was pleasantly surprised to receive a really nice email from Emma Price in Australia who had come across my website while researching her own project.

Through her work, Emma had compiled some material about ‘F. Bridgetower’ – cellist, composer and younger brother of George Bridgetower. The elder Bridgetower is better remembered as a former friend of Beethoven and the original violinist that the ‘Kreutzer’ Sonata was dedicated to.

Hearing from Emma was great because most of the references I’d found for George don’t mention any siblings at all. Even those that do, can’t agree on the possible younger brother’s name, with mentions of his death based on guesswork. These also assume that he was the same Frederick Joseph Bridgetower who died in Liverpool the mid-1800s. Today though, modern technology and online tools like digitised historical newspapers make this kind of information much easier to research.

New information

Emma was kind enough to pass on some material including newspaper scans and photos of scores that she’d found at the National Library of Ireland, Dublin.

Teaching advertisement for Frederic Bridgtower
Teaching advertisement for Frederic Bridgtower

MR. BRIDGTOWER,

Professor of Music, and Teacher of the Violoncello and Piano-forte,

HAVING at the earnest solicitation of many respectable friends, determined to fix his future residence in Dublin, has taken the house No. 2, Exchange-court, near Dame Street, where he will receive Pupils on the Violoncello, and respectfully attend to any commands he may be honoured with to teach abroad on either of the above instruments.

Pastoral Rondo title page
Title page for 'A Pastoral Rondo' by Frederic Bridgtower

I was also pointed towards other recent work that filled some of the gaps in the brothers’ life stories including New Light on George Bridgtower (Hart, 2017). The relatively recent paper includes lots of new details and reminders, like the different spellings that the family used (Bridgetown/Bridgetower/ Bridgtower), which was a big help. A lot of other research materials end up regurgitating the same old myths and made-up stories, so it was great to see something where the author was able to use original sources and newspapers of the day. Using this new information, I’ve been able to update Frederick’s entry on the timeline.

Updated timeline - still no image of Frederic/k though!

Future additions

Huge thanks to Emma for sending over this material. I set this page up to share my research with other people who find it useful or are just interested in this topic. In the short time since it launched, it’s been great to get messages from people who are keen and willing to share their own work. If you can think of anyone who might be missing from the project, please get in touch using the contact page.

 

NB. It turns out there was also a third brother, Johannes Albertus, who was born in Mainz in 1787. If anyone has any information on him, please pass it on!

Atwell at the BL

It hasn't been very long since my last post about Winifred Atwell, but I couldn't resist this opportunity to plug something else I've written her. This time, I've been writing about archival recordings by and about Winifred Atwell at The British Library, as part of my Edison Fellowship there.

The blog post focuses specifically on recordings that you can find in the British Library's catalogue. As well as Atwell's performances, you can also hear interviews with some of the people who had met her. I've included clips of all of these in the Sound and vision blog post.

Have a read, listen and let me know what you think!

It's much easier than it used to be to do your own research at the British Library. Or you just visit one of the free or ticketed exhibitions that they regularly have. More information is on the British Library website https://www.bl.uk and I highly recommend a visit.

For more information on other musicians in this project, take a look at the plainsightSOUND Timeline.

Woman holding giant smiley face
So happy!

Those of you who have been following the progress of this site over the last few months will be pleased to see that the timeline is now working properly!

There are still a few little bugs to work out with how it displays but you can now scroll through to see details of most of the musicians who have been researched so far in this project.

It would be great to be able to include images for all of the musicians (not everything on Wikipedia is public domain) so if you happen to own an original photograph of anyone featured in the project and would be happy for it to be used, please get in touch. In the meantime, take a look at the timeline of Black musicians in British classical music (up to the mid-20th century) in all its glory.

Happy scrolling!